MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE 6) An explosion rocked a portion of Taft Avenue near De La Salle University in Manila, amid street revelries on the last day law graduates took the bar exams, injuring at least 35 people.
A red police line indicating danger cordoned off a portion of the road in front of a McDonalds outlet as members of the police bomb squad picked through debris for possible left-over explosives.
Police were mum on the number of injured.
Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, who came to the scene and talked to the investigators, said the bar exams traditionally had unruly street celebrations.
?But this is extreme. The students have become adventurous and they don?t seem to realize that this isn't what their parents want for them,? he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
He cited initial police reports indicating that it might have something to do with a ?frat war.?
Moreno said the explosive was likely a pillbox, but it was unusual considering the gravity of the impact and the number of injured.
Witnesses recalled hearing a loud blast. ?We thought at first it was only from the beat of drums,? one of those supporting examinees from the Far Eastern University said.
A La Salle security guard said the area was thick with street revelers when the explosion occurred at 5:05 p.m.
The exam ended at 5 p.m. and the loud noisemaking was supposed to greet the bar takers as they left the gates.
Vince Foz, a student from the De La Salle?s College of St. Benilde, recalled feeling a tremor about 30 seconds after he stepped out of a Light Railway Train coach at the Vito Cruz station. He took a 30-second video of the commotion on the street below.
Foz said the blast occurred at an area where supporters for the San Beda examinees were standing. He recalled that one drummer in a red San Beda shirt was among the injured. He was bleeding heavily below the waist and was unresponsive.
?Most of the victims were wounded in the lower part of their bodies,? said Foz, adding that he saw at least three women and two men being carried to ambulances.
Bari Maruhom, who was waiting for his sibling taking the bar exam, said he thought the blast was ?part of the program.?
?Probably the one who threw the explosive got irked by all the noise,? he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Police said nine of the victims were rushed to Ospital ng Maynila (OsMa) and nine more to Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
Dr. Michael Tee, PGH spokesperson, identified some of those injured as Diane Camita, 23; Raissa Laurel, 23; Diana Espiritu, 28; Claudine Abrogena, 21; Datu Mohammad Abdul, 23; Generson Mercado, 25; Milanes Rainier, 24; Eunice Abdon, 23; and Donelle Quilates, 28.
OsMa identified the victims rushed to its trauma unit as Joanna Katrina Ledda, Arvin Francis Rosales, Philip Edwin Teelo, Gennilyn Ong, Cyril Ferrer, Kathleen Samba, Azenith Gonzalvo, Jamell Ann Marie and Renald Sudla.
Latest police reports showed that 17 victims were being treated at the Ospital ng Maynila; three at the Manila Medical Center; five at the Manila Doctors? Hospital; one at the Manila Adventist Hospital; and nine at the Philippine General Hospital.
Aside from the explosion, police spokesman Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr. said there was also a bottle-throwing incident. With reports from Tetch Torres and Abigail Kwok, INQUIRER.net