MANILA, Oct. 15, 2013–A strong earthquake hit Bohol province Tuesday destroying houses, old churches and government structures.

Bishop Leonardo Medroso of Tagbilaran said the tremor “was so strong” and caused “real damage” to many centuries-old churches in the diocese.

A 7.2 quake jolted Bohol province around 8am today. Ground shaking was also felt in Cebu, Southern Leyte and several areas of Leyte and Samar.

As of this posting, the bishop said he could not yet determine the exact figure as to how many churches were damaged as his diocese is still making assessments.

Medroso, however, cited the old churches in the towns of Looc and Carmen as among those that were “badly destroyed.”

“The church in Loon was totally damaged. The one in Carmen also collapsed,” Medroso said.

The bishop also revealed that at least two people were trapped inside the Loon church and have to be extracted through mounds of rubble and concrete.

Bohol is home to a number of heritage churches, dating back to the early years of the Spanish colonization of the island.

Reports also revealed that the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon town, considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines, was also heavily damaged.

In Cebu City, the quake also destroyed the belfry of the Sto. Niño Basilica. (CBCPNews)