The Philippines is known for being the most exposed country in the world to tropical storms. Filipinos, most especially in the Northern Luzon, Bicol Region and Eastern Visayas are suffering from five destructive typhoons every year, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
PAGASA, which also assigns the name of storms and typhoons that enter the country, identifies each tropical cyclone based on sustain winds. They are as follows – Tropical Depression (less than 61 km/h), Tropical Storm (62–88 km/h), Severe Tropical Storm (89–117 km/h), Typhoon (118–220 km/h), and Super Typhoon (more than 220 km/h).
Based on records, storms usually hit the Philippines from May to September, with September being the most active month. But while some of them are bearable, there are a few ones that result to severe damage to properties and lives lost. Below is the top 10 list of deadliest typhoons that ever hit the Philippines. Brace yourself.
#10 Typhoon Reming (International name: Durian)
Typhoon Reming or Bagyong Reming formed as a tropical depression on November 24, 2006, and entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on November 28, four days later. Residents of Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Mindoro, and Quezon were the most affected, leaving 1,399 deaths and P5.45 billion damage to properties.
#9 Typhoon Frank (International name: Fengshen)
Typhoon Frank or Bagyong Frank formed as a tropical depression on June 17, 2008, and was upgraded to a Tropical Storm two days later. It was known for dramatically shifting its course, and has affected several parts of Luzon and Metro Manila. It killed 1371 people, including 846 of the 922 passengers of capsized ship, Princess of the Stars.
#8 Typhoon Nitang (International name: Ike)
Typhoon Nitang or Bagyong Nitang made landfall in northeastern Mindanao on September 1, 1984. Surigao del Norte, Agusan, Leyte, Samar, Camiguin, Bohol, Cebu, Misamis Oriental, and Negros were the worst-hit provinces. It left 1,492 people dead, including 1,000 casualties in Surigao del Norte. Since then, the name Nitang was retired.
#7 October 1897 Typhoon (No name)
According to scientific study in the book “El Baguio de Samar y Leyte, 12-13 de Octubre 1897,” published by Fr. Jose Algue, S.J. of the Observatorio de Manila, an unnamed typhoon badly hit the Philippines on October 12-13, 1897. It reportedly left an estimated 1,500 deaths, including 200 residents of Tacloban, Leyte and others in Samar.
#6 Tropical Depression Winnie
Tropical Depression Winnie hit the Philippines on November 29, 2004. It may not be that strong, but it was catastrophic. Its highest winds were only 55 km/h, but it brought heavy rains to most parts of Luzon and Visayas. A total of 1,593 people died, including 751 others who went missing. It also left 678.7 million worth of damaged properties.#5 Typhoon Angela (1867)
Not to be confused with Typhoon Angela (Rosing) in November 1995 that killed 936 people, this Typhoon Angela hit the Philippines on September 22, 1867, reportedly leaving more than 1,800 deaths, excluding those who died in the ship Malespina. Apparently, there are only a few accounts about this typhoon, including that from Selga’s chronology.
#4 Typhoon Pablo (international name: Bopha)
Typhoon Pablo or Bagyong Pablo made landfall in Baganga, Davao Oriental, in the Mindanao region on December 4, 2012. It caused massive flooding and landslides mostly in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley. More than 170,000 people fled to evacuation centres, and 1,901 deaths were recorded, including over 800 missing people.
#3 Typhoon Uring (International name: Thelma)
Typhoon Uring made landfall at Leyte on November 5, 1991, with Ormoc City being the most affected area. Although its highest winds were only 55 km/h, thousands of homes in Ormoc were damaged or destroyed due to intense rainfall. At least 5,081 people, including the 4,922 residents of Ormoc in only a span of around 3 hours.
#2 Super Typhoon Yolanda (International name: Haiyan)
Super Typhoon Yolanda is the deadliest typhoon that hit the Philippines in modern times. Having its highest winds at 315 km/h, Bagyong Yolanda made landfall in Guiuan, Eastern Samar on November 7, 2013, and badly hit Tacloban City. Although the official death count is 6,300, there were claims that more than 10,000 people went missing.
#1 Typhoon Haiphong (1881)
Unknown to many Filipinos, Typhoon Haiphong is the deadliest typhoon in the entire history of the Philippines. It devastated Haiphong, Vietnam, and made landfall in Northern Luzon on October 8, 1881. Based on records at Encyclopedia Britannica, about 300,000 people were killed by the typhoon, including 20,000 Filipinos.
An Australian broadsheet called Trove dated January 12, 1898, has published a document about the October 1897 Typhoon, saying “It is estimated that 400 Europeans and 6000 natives lost their lives, many being drowned by the rush of water, while others were killed by the violence of the wind. Several towns have been swept or blown away.”
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