The strongest and deadliest earthquake that hits Philippines happens in 1976

In the past few days, a series of strong earthquakes shook Mindanao. The areas greatly affected by these tremors were Cotabato, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos City, and Kidapawan City. The death toll is now up to 22 as of this article’s writing time. Records of damage to properties and infrastructure are also still on the rise.

Currently, government agencies, private sectors, and individuals are now sending help to aide Mindanao in this devastating catastrophe.

But, did you know that the most devastating quake that ever occurred in the country also happened in Mindanao?

On the midnight of August 17, 1976, while most people were sleeping, a massive earthquake, registering magnitude 8.0 on the Richter scale, rocked most of Mindanao and parts of the Visayas.

Its epicenter was located near the town of Lebak in Sultan Kudarat. Tremors were felt in areas along the Maguindanao coastline, most notably, in Cotabato.

What made the 1976 Moro Gulf Quake most devastating, however, was not just the degree of the earth-shaking. Just about five minutes after the string tremors, waves as high as 9 meters reached the shore and inundated communities along the Moro Gulf.

The tsunami affected 700 kilometers of coastline, with Pagadian City, Cotabato City, Zamboanga City, and Lebak in Sultan Kudarat experiencing the highest waves.

About 8,000 people died, including those missing and were never found, making it the most devastating tsunami to ever hit the Philippines. Although this death toll count is only second to Super Typhoon Yolanda, the Moro Gulf earthquake has had its share of unforgettable heartbreaking moments not only to its victims but for the Philippines as a whole. This is why it was later on dubbed as the “Midnight Killer.”

Further reading suggestions:

Midnight killer: The 1976 Moro Gulf tsunami – RAPPLER

Midnight Shocker of ’76: Remembering The Deadliest Tsunami In Philippine History – FilipiKnow