Maria Leonila P. Bautista and Bartolome C. Bautista
Philippines being seismically active,the Philip-pine historical catalog is not that long comparedto other countries. The historical accounts onlystarted during the time when the country wasconquered by Spain in the late 15th century.This study will discuss the development of thehistorical earthquake catalog in the Philippines,assess its present state and recommend futuredirections.
2. Existing catalogs
The current Philippine historical earthquakecatalog is culled from various catalogs,bothglobal and local,that were developed since thefirst Philippine catalog by Perrey was publishedin 1860. Early global catalogs made simplemention of earthquakes in the Philippines.Meanwhile,catalogs that mainly focused on thePhilippines gave more explicit descriptions of earthquake accounts and adopted descriptionsby local historians.Over the years,various historians and seis-mologists kept on building their own catalogswhose contents varied depending on each au-thor’s perspective and purpose. For example,some authors would make simple listings of earthquakes while some would include detaileddescriptions. Some authors would only listtsunamigenic events. Others gave their own in-tensity estimates as well as drew their own iso-seismal maps. A recent work by Bautista andOike (2000) has parameterized the magnitudesand epicenters of well-described Philippine his-torical earthquakes using magnitude-felt arearelations.2.1.
Global earthquake catalogs
It was only when colonization of the Philip-pines started in the late 15th Century that earth-quakes affecting the country started to be no-ticed and documented. These earthquake cita-tions may be grouped into those cited in globalcatalogs while the other group belongs to thecountry-specific catalogs. Global earthquakecatalogs such as those made by von Hoff (1841),Mallet (1853,1854,1855) and Milne (1912)mentioned earthquakes about the Philippines.The work of von Hoff (1841),written in Ger-man,listed three earthquakes and three volcaniceruptions in the Philippines. Mallet’s workswere in English and among his references werethe works of De Guignes (1808),Garnier (1839)and articles from the Singapore Chronicle (1824,1829). Meanwhile,Milne (1912) listed 66Philippine historical earthquakes from 1589 to1909 in his catalog. His source is mainly thework of Maso (1895). More recently,Dunbar
(1992) listed epicenters,magnitudes anddamages attributable to Philippine earthquakesfrom 1599 to 1990. Meanwhile,some authorslisted tsunamigenic earthquakes only (Rudolf,1887; Heck,1947; Iida
,1967; Berning-hausen,1969; Cox,1970; Nakamura,1978). Re-viewing global data since 1616,Iida
(1967)listed 26 tsunamigenic earthquakes in the Philip-pines. They also listed the areas affected and es-timated heights based on descriptions. Berning-hausen (1969),meanwhile,listed tsunamis inSoutheast Asian region which included 29events in the Philippines. His database coveredthe period 416 to 1965. The various works of Abe (1981,1984,1994) and Abe and Noguchi(1983) especially their redetermination of themagnitudes by Gutenberg and Richter coveringthe early 20th century period helped to improvethe earthquake data in the Philippines includingthose during the 1892 to 1900 period.
Country-focused historical earthquakecatalogs:Philippines
While the earliest earthquake reported forthe Philippines was the one which happened in1589,the first known country-focused earth-quake catalog for the Philippines is the work of Perrey (1860) which was in French. This cata-log described both earthquakes and volcaniceruptions in the Philippines from the 15th to18th centuries starting with an earthquake in1601. His sources included various Europeantravellers in Asia who wrote books,chroniclesor accounts of their travels. Despite exaggera-tions and misquoted names of places,Perrey’swork became one of the most referred to earth-quake catalog for the Philippines.