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Scores of were killed following the earthquake, which struck early Tuesday near Bohol island.
The death toll is likely to rise, authorities warned.
Photos from Cebu broadcast on TV showed a collapsed two-story concrete building. At least two people were pulled alive from the rubble, including an 8-month-old baby, according to local reports.
The roof of a market in Mandaue also collapsed, killing two people and injuring at least 19, according to TV reports.
Bohol Gov. Edgardo Chatto told the AP a church was damaged in the provincial capital of Tagbilaran and a part of the city hall collapsed, injuring one person.
Al Jazeera said lives may have been spared because Tuesday is a national holiday in the Philippines, so schools and other government buildings were empty.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said there was no threat of a Pacific-wide tsunami following the temblor, which hit at a depth of 22 miles near Bohol island, north of Mindanao island.
It is believed to have lasted around 30 seconds.
The epicenter of the quake was 391 miles south-southeast of Manila, near Balilihan, according to CNN.
The tremblor was followed by two aftershocks, each measuring more than 5.0 in magnitude.
Watch a video on the quake from Al Jazeera here: