10 Strongest Typhoons in the Philippines That Caused a Lot of Damage

Jay Pagkatotohan

Jay Pagkatotohan

Last updated August 09, 2023

In the Philippines, nothing is as certain as the arrival of a typhoon. It’s not a matter of if but when. After all, at least 20 typhoons visit the country every year.[1]

These typhoons cause damage that cost billions of pesos, claim thousands of lives, and leave a permanent imprint on the minds of the survivors. Using data, we can see which of the top 10 strongest typhoons in the Philippines caused the most destruction.

The Top 10 Strongest Typhoons in the Philippines

The storms on this list are qualified and ranked in terms of destructiveness or the cost of damage.

1. Typhoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan)

  • Year: 2013
  • Wind speed: 315 km/h
  • Rainfall: 281.9 mm
  • Death toll: 6,300
  • Damage: ₱95.5 billion

With a death toll of around 6,300 people and damage worth ₱95.5 billion pesos, Typhoon Yolanda claims the first spot among the top 10 strongest typhoons in the Philippines.

No one can ever forget this 2013 disaster—the aerial images of towns leveled to the ground are forever burned into Filipinos’ minds. Pictures of the storm surges’ effects may remind you of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Storm surges devastated many places such as Tacloban City. Waves measuring up to 19 feet destroyed buildings, knocked over trees, and carried cars away. A lot of people were caught off guard, resulting in injuries and fatalities. Rescue operations were delayed since towns and villages were completely cut off. Affected areas went without power for weeks.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) retired the name Yolanda due to its extensive damage and high death toll. The same goes for the name Haiyan.

2. Typhoon Odette (International Name: Rai)

top 10 strongest typhoons in the philippines - typhoon odette

  • Year: 2021
  • Wind speed: 280 km/h
  • Rainfall: 272.1 mm
  • Death toll: 409
  • Damage: ₱51.8 billion

In December 2021, Typhoon Odette ravaged the Philippines, particularly the provinces of Visayas and Mindanao. The typhoon severely affected more than nine million people.

Two of the worst-hit areas were Bohol and Surigao City. A haunting image of this storm’s aftermath shows knocked-down coconut trees and the wrecked Cloud 9 boardwalk in Siargao. Meanwhile, rivers overflowed in Cagayan de Oro, causing floods across the city.

Typhoon Odette was the strongest storm to hit Mindanao in 10 years. Because of the typhoon’s massive devastation, PAGASA removed the name Odette from its rotation of cyclone names.

3. Typhoon Pablo (International Name: Bopha)

  • Year: 2012
  • Wind speed: 280 km/h
  • Rainfall: 240 mm
  • Death toll: 1,901
  • Damage: ₱43.2 billion

Known internationally as Bopha, Typhoon Pablo was once considered the strongest tropical cyclone to ever hit Mindanao. This 2012 typhoon made landfall in three separate locations: Northern Mindanao, Central Visayas, and Palawan.

Typhoon Pablo caused landslides and power outages when it hit the central and southern regions of Mindanao. The disaster claimed more than 1,900 lives, affected around six million people, and damaged over 200,000 houses. All these made the cyclone one of the top 10 deadliest typhoons in the Philippines.

Due to its destruction and death toll, the PAGASA decommissioned the name. Likewise, the name Bopha was retired by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)/World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Typhoon Committee.

4. Typhoon Glenda (International Name: Rammasun)

  • Year: 2014
  • Wind speed: 260 km/h
  • Rainfall: 200 mm
  • Death toll: 225
  • Damage: ₱38.6 billion

Coming in at the fourth spot of the top 10 deadliest typhoons in the Philippines, Glenda ravaged the country, particularly Luzon and some parts of Visayas, in 2014. With a wind speed of 260 km/h and a rainfall volume of 200 mm, this typhoon claimed lives and caused damage amounting to over ₱38 billion.

Before its onslaught, Typhoon Glenda was expected to bring storm surges of up to nine feet. In Metro Manila, at least 90% of total residents experienced power outages due to downed lines and poles. Residents in the slum areas were also severely affected.  

Because the typhoon’s damage exceeded ₱1 billion, PAGASA retired the name Glenda.

5. Typhoon Ompong (International Name: Mangkhut)

  • Year: 2018
  • Wind speed: 285 km/h
  • Rainfall: 300 mm
  • Death toll: 134
  • Damage: ₱33.9 billion

In 2018, Typhoon Ompong barrelled through the northern part of the Philippines. It brought flash floods, landslides, and storm surges. It displaced more than 270,000 people in Regions I, II, III, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and the National Capital Region (NCR).[2]

As it traversed the Luzon mountains, Typhoon Ompong weakened until it landed on the West Philippine Sea. Outside the country, the typhoon affected Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China.

Just like with other deadliest typhoons in the Philippines, Ompong’s name was retired by the PAGASA. The name Obet replaced Ompong for the 2022 season since typhoon names are used in rotation every four years.

6. Typhoon Pepeng (International Name: Parma)

top 10 strongest typhoons in the philippines - typhoon pepeng

  • Year: 2009
  • Wind speed: 250 km/h
  • Rainfall: 700 mm
  • Death toll: 465
  • Damage: ₱27.3 billion

The year 2009 was an unforgettable period for many Filipinos in Luzon. It was the year Typhoon Ondoy caused massive flooding in many locations such as Metro Manila. But merely a few days after this disaster, another typhoon named Pepeng wreaked havoc in the country.

Pepeng furthered the damage left by Ondoy and affected thousands of families in the northern part of Luzon, particularly in Pangasinan. It even interacted with an incoming typhoon named Quedan (internationally known as Melor). A few days after, the weakened storm made its way back to Luzon, hitting the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Cagayan.

With a death toll of 465 people and damage worth ₱27.3 billion, Pepeng is one of the top 10 deadliest typhoons in the Philippines. With such a grim reputation, PAGASA retired the name.

7. Typhoon Ulysses (International Name: Vamco)

  • Year: 2020
  • Wind speed: 215 km/h
  • Rainfall: Between 228.6 mm and 304.8 mm
  • Death toll: 102
  • Damage: ₱20.2 billion

A deadly storm in the midst of a deadly global pandemic? Yes, it happened in 2020—enter Typhoon Ulysses. Aside from strong wind gusts, Ulysses brought heavy rains, even causing the worst flooding in Metro Manila since Typhoon Ondoy in 2009. Water rose quickly even in areas not considered flood-prone.

Typhoon Ulysses also caused dams in Luzon to reach their spilling points. To avoid dam failure, authorities released water from the dam, which led to widespread floods in various provinces.

With the typhoon’s extensive damage and death toll, PAGASA decommissioned the name Ulysses. Internationally, the name Vamco was also removed from the list of typhoon names.  

8. Typhoon Rolly (International Name: Goni)

  • Year: 2020
  • Wind speed: 315 km/h
  • Rainfall: Between 230 mm and 300 mm
  • Death toll: 32
  • Damage: ₱20 billion

Another typhoon that appeared during the pandemic in 2020, Rolly started out as a tropical depression in the southern part of Guam. However, it developed into a super typhoon as it entered the Philippines. It brought sustained winds of 315 km/h, making it one of the top 10 strongest typhoons in the Philippines. Bicol was badly hit with flash floods and power outages.

Typhoon Rolly caused 32 fatalities and left more than ₱20 billion worth of damage. With that, PAGASA decided to retire the name. For 2024, PAGASA picked Romina as a name replacement.

9. Severe Tropical Storm Paeng (International Name: Nalgae)

  • Year: 2022
  • Wind speed: 100 km/h
  • Rainfall: More than 450 mm
  • Death toll: 160
  • Damage: ₱17.6 billion

In 2022, Typhoon Paeng ravaged the country. Although the area of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was not directly in Paeng's path, many locals died due to flooding and landslides. Residents were swept away in swollen rivers and buried under rubble. 

Provinces in Western Visayas such as Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, and Negros Occidental, where floods rose as high as rooftops, were also badly hit by Paeng. The sheer force of the rain caused collapsed infrastructure, landslides, and mudslides as the number of fatalities continued to rise. 

The name Paeng was subsequently removed from the list of typhoon names used in rotation due to its reputation as one of the worst typhoons in the Philippines. 

10. Typhoon Pedring (International Name: Nesat)

top 10 strongest typhoons in the philippines - typhoon pedring

  • Year: 2011
  • Wind speed: 215 km/h
  • Rainfall: More than 350 mm
  • Death toll: 98
  • Damage: ₱15.6 billion

Typhoon Pedring, which came exactly two years after Typhoon Ondoy made its landfall in the country, is considered one of the top 10 strongest typhoons in the Philippines.

Luzon was mainly affected, with visible devastations in Metro Manila, Albay, Ilocos Norte, Isabela, Pangasinan, Catanduanes, Batangas, Cavite, and Pampanga, among others. Typhoon Pedring also caused flash floods and produced strong winds that destroyed structures and cut power.

Typhoon Pedring was one of the twin typhoons that barrelled through the Philippines within one week in September 2011. The second one was Typhoon Quiel, which left 18 fatalities.

Due to damages amounting to more than ₱10 billion, the typhoon’s name was decommissioned by PAGASA. For the 2015 season, the weather bureau chose the name Perla as a replacement.

Related reading:


How are Typhoons Categorized in the Philippines?

top 10 strongest typhoons in the philippines - typhoon categories

The top 10 strongest typhoons in the Philippines are technically cyclones. However, cyclones come in various forms and sizes. As such, they are classified based on their strength and maximum sustained winds.

The PAGASA follows this classification system:[3]

  • Tropical Depression (TD) – This is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 62 km/h.
  • Tropical Storm (TS) – Cyclones under this category have maximum sustained winds of 62 to 88 km/h.
  • Severe Tropical Storm (STS) – This is a tropical cyclone with maximum wind speeds of 87 to 117 km/h.
  • Typhoon (TY) – A meteorological event is considered a typhoon when its wind speed reaches 118 to 184 km/h.
  • Super Typhoon (ST) – If a typhoon’s maximum wind speed exceeds 185 km/h, it is considered a super typhoon.

Aside from Paeng, which was classified as a Severe Topical Storm, all the deadliest typhoons in the Philippines listed above are Super Typhoons.

Related reading: Why are NDRRMC Text Alerts Important and How to Get Them?

FAQs on the Strongest Typhoons in the Philippines

1. How strong was Ondoy?

Tropical Storm Ondoy, known internationally as Typhoon Ketsana, left a trail of destruction in its wake so deadly that people still talk about it to this day. Though it was not even classified as a typhoon in the Philippines, the storm killed over 400 people and caused ₱11 billion worth of damages in 2009.[4]

2. How strong was Typhoon Milenyo?

In 2006, Typhoon Milenyo affected at least 1.2 million people, with over 180 dead. With an average wind speed of up to 185 km/h, it left damages worth at least ₱5.9 billion.[5]

3. What are some of the other deadly typhoons in the Philippines?

Others that didn't make it to the list of the top 10 strongest typhoons in the Philippines include Typhoon Yoling in 1970, Typhoon Nitang in 1984, Typhoon Ruping in 1990, Typhoon Yoyong in 2004, Super Typhoon Henry in 2022, and Typhoon Inday in 2022. 

Final Thoughts

These top 10 strongest typhoons in the Philippines were unstoppable forces of nature that damaged properties and claimed lives. As such, it’s important to prepare yourself as much as possible.

Don’t forget to prepare DIY rainy season kits. Keep safety tips when driving during the rainy season in mind. And heed the authorities’ calls for evacuation when the need arises.

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Jay is a marketing communications professional who specializes in short-form and long-form content. He has written ads for TV, radio, print, and digital. He has also produced corporate blogs, magazine features, white papers, product listings, reviews, and press releases for clients here and abroad. When he’s not writing, Jay plays the piano or takes pictures for his visual diary. Follow Jay on LinkedIn.


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