The powerful quake hit in a narrow strait between the heavily populated island provinces of Negros and Cebu, causing buildings to collapse, cracking roads and bridges, and shutting down the power supply.
In Cebu city, a popular tourist destination and city of 2.3 million, hotel guests scrambled to higher floors as unfounded rumors that a huge tsunami was bearing down spread by text message.
At least 29 were killed by landslides while 10 others were crushed by collapsing buildings in the mountainous town of Guihulngan in Negros, said regional military official Colonel Francisco Patrimonio.
There was also an undetermined number of wounded, he added. Read more: