- The Philippines issues a tsunami alert for the coastlines near the quake
- No tsunami warning for the wider region, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says
- The earthquake occurs 70 kilometers (44 miles) from the coastal city of Dumaguete, the USGS says
- Guests at a hotel in Bacolod evacuate during the earthquake, a receptionist says
A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Monday off the third-largest island in the Philippines, prompting the country to issue a tsunami alert for the coastlines near the epicenter.
The quake struck about 11:49 a.m. (10:49 p.m. Sunday ET) about 70 kilometers (44 miles) from the coastal city of Dumaguete on the Philippine island of Negros, the USGS said.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology issued a Level 2 tsunami alert for areas along the Tanon Strait between Negros and the neighboring island of Cebu.
That's a notch below the highest tsunami alert of Level 3, which requires evacuation of the affected areas, a spokeswoman for the institute said.
She said the institute was advising people to watch out for unusual waves and to stay away from the shoreline.
The alert was issued at 12:31 p.m. (11:31 p.m. Sunday ET), the spokeswoman said.
No tsunami warning has been issued for the wider Pacific region and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. The earthquake occurred in the ocean at a depth of 46.6 kilometers (29 miles), according to the USGS.
There were no initial reports of widespread damage.
At the Circle Inn Hotel in the city of Bacolod, which is on Negros but not on the coast nearest the quake's epicenter, a receptionist said the quake lasted between three and five minutes.
"We felt the shaking," the receptionist said. "The guests all exited the building. But all the people here are okay."
There was no damage to the hotel, the receptionist said.