6.0 magnitude quake strikes off northern Philippines

MANILA - A strong 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the northern Philippines late Friday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, officials said.

The quake was recorded at 7.33pm local time (1133 GMT) with an epicentre about 42 kilometres (26 miles) south of Uyugan town in the Batan Islands, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake had a depth of 178 kilometres.

Norma Talosig, the Batan Islands' civil defence chief, said she contacted a Philippine navy detachment in Basco - the capital of the sparsely populated island group near the sea border with Taiwan - to check on the impact.

"I was told it registered as a low-intensity tremor there, with no visible damage," Talosig told AFP.

She said there were no immediate reports of casualties in Uyugan, a town of around one thousand residents, or nearby areas.

The Philippines lies in the so-called Pacific ring of fire, a chain of islands that are prone to quakes and volcanic eruptions.