The New Year has come and is upon us. But here in GenSan and neighboring areas, the countdown to the first day of 2018 may have been rather earth-shaking in a literal sense. On the late evening of Sunday, parts of the city and the rest of SOCSKSARGEN were jolted to alertness by a sudden rash of tremors that was intense enough to rattle furniture. It was, of course, an earthquake, as confirmed that same day by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

According to The Manila Times, PHIVOLCS reported that a brief earthquake measuring 5.2 in magnitude was detected happening at about 10:53 PM of December 31, the last day of 2016. Further updates by the agency pegged the epicenter of the tremors at about 57 kilometers southwest of the municipality of Maasim in Sarangani Province. The tectonic quake was of decent depth into the earth, some 31 kilometers into the ground.

Needless to say, not just Maasim but all adjacent communities in the region felt that, and just when most residents were either coming to or head home from New Year’s Eve Mass, or busy preparing either fireworks or the midnight meal. Here in GenSan, revelers felt an Intensity 4 tremor; so did Alabel in Sarangani, Lake Sebu, and most of South Cotabato.

Further out from the epicenter, Lubak in Sultan Kudarat and Davao City recorded quakes measuring Intensity 3. Lastly, Intensity 2 was reported in Koronadal, Tupi and Santo Niño in South Cotabato, and even Zamboanga City. PHIVOLCS also detected five aftershocks, occurring intermittently between 11:22 PM and 1:16 AM of January 1. Their science research assistant Lara Gianan noted, “The aftershocks in the area only ranged from magnitudes 1.9 to 2.4—not as intense compared to the quake.”

No damage was reported in all affected areas according to PHIVOLCS, though the possibility of more aftershocks throughout Monday, January 2, was floated. All in all, that little shakedown was not at all a damper on the festive mood, as SOCSKSARGEN welcomed 2018 without any further incidents.

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