MANILA - An earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale jolted the northern Philippines Sunday with no report of damage or injuries, an official said.

The epicenter was located about 125 kilometers northeast of the coastal city of Laoag in Ilocos Norte province at about 5:00 pm local time.

"The quake happened near the sparsely inhabited Babuyan Islands," Robert Tiglao, duty officer at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, told AFP.

"Earthquakes of this size are considered quite normal here in the Philippines," he said.

"We record earthquakes almost on a daily basis," Tiglao added.

In March an earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale rocked buildings in the capital Manila.

The Philippines sits on what is commonly referred to as the Pacific "Ring of Fire", a zone of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that encircles the Pacific Ocean basin.

On Saturday a quake hit the Indonesian island of Java to the south of the Philippines, killing about 4,000 people.

05/28/2006 12:02 GMT

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