MANILA, Philippines ? (UPDATE 9) Philippine civil defense officials lifted a tsunami alert late Friday after small waves hit its Pacific seaboard in the wake of a huge earthquake in Japan, President Benigno Aquino's spokesman said.
"This looks like good news," Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology director Renato Solidum earlier told a news conference after reporting waves ranging from 30 centimeters (one foot) to one meter (3.3 feet).
The first waves struck the northeast coast of the country's main island of Luzon at 6:00 p.m. (1000 GMT) and the east coast of the large southern island of Mindanao some two hours later, he said.
Among the provinces hit were:
* San Vicente in Cagayan, four waves, with first 60-centimeter wave coming in at 6 p.m.; the second wave, 60 cms. t 6:20 p.m.; the third, 40 cms, 6:50 p.m.; fourth, 40 cms., at 7:30 p.m.;
*Virac, Catanduanes, three waves, with first, 40 cms., 6:30 p.m.; second, 60 cms., 7:10 p.m.; 3rd, 70 cms., 7:50 p.m.;
* Baler, Aurora, three waves, with first, 40 cms., 6:30 p.m.; second, 40 cms., 7:10 p.m.; third, 30 cms., 8 p.m.
* Infanta, Quezon and Surigao were hit with single waves of less than one meter.
Alert level 2 was raised in 19 provinces that were expected to be hit by at most one-meter tsunami waves. Residents in these areas were advised to go farther inland and prepare for possible evacuation, disaster officials said earlier Friday.
?Based on tsunami wave models and early tide gauge records of the tsunami in the Pacific, coastal areas in Philippine provinces fronting the Pacific Ocean are expected to experience wave heights of at most one meter,? said Solidum.
One meter is a person?s shoulder-level, Solidum said when asked how high the waves would be.
Solidum said the first tsunami wave would arrive between ?5 p.m. and 7 p.m.?
He said although the waves may not be the largest, these may continue ?for hours.?
He said this was why residents in the affected areas should not return home until authorities would declare that it was safe and the tsunami warning has been lifted.
Solidum also warned owners of boats in harbors in the affected provinces to secure them and move away from the water front. ?Boats already at sea during this period should stay offshore in deep waters until further advised,? he added.
A tsunami warning was also issued for Russia and the Mariana Islands, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
"An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicentre within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours," the center said in a statement.
It also put the territories of Guam, Taiwan, the Marshall Islands, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Micronesia and Hawaii under a lower tsunami watch.
With a report from Kristine Alave, Philippine Daily Inquirer, AP, AFP