Manila: A moderate earthquake measuring 5.4 magnitude occurred 17km northeast of Baler in southern Luzon, Thursday morning, affecting walls of weak buildings in nearby areas, and alternately sending shockwaves to several areas in Metro Manila, rocking several five-star hotels and high rise buildings, and creating panic among visitors and tenants, sources said.

“I felt it at the 10th floor of my office-building on Ayala Avenue,” said Christian Nye, who works in upscale Makati City, the financial district.

“I thought I had a vertigo when I saw the paintings on the walls shaking,” said an office worker at the Ayala Museum on Dela Rosa Street, also in Makati City.

At the Senate building near Manila Bay, office workers panicked because of the possible occurrence of tsunami.

Appeasing the public as soon as the quake occurred, Philippine Institute of Volcanoilogy and Seismology (Phivolcs) executive director Renato Solidum said in a radio interview, “The occurrence of a tsunami is unlikely.”

The quake, tectonic in origin, had a depth of 5km. Its moderate strength was felt more in southern and northern Luzon.

The quake was felt in Baler, Aurora in southern Luzon and several areas in central Luzon.

There were no casualties and damages, the National Disaster Risk reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

The US Geological Survey said the quake was 5.3-magnitude, with depth of 38km.

A strong 6.2-magnitude earthquake occurred in Mindanao, in the southern Philippines last February, but did not result in damages and casualties.

A 7.6-magnitude tremour occurred on the eastern sea bed, resulting in a tsunami alert and a landslide that killed one person and displaced tens of thousands last August 2012.

The Philippines is part of Asia Pacific’s Ring of Fire where volcanic eruptions and earthquakes always occur.