They told rescuers they had survived by collecting seeping rain water in plastic containers.

Not normally very religious, the men said their life underground had become a cycle of praying, drinking water and sleeping, as the batteries in their torches slowly died out.

Rescuers' reward

The floods were triggered by Typhoon Hagupit that swept across the northern Philippines on September 22.

The bodies of two miners were found three days later, while eight others who went missing at the same time remain unaccounted for.

One rescue worker said the rescue of the miners was "some sort of a miracle".

"Our hardships have been compensated and we won't give up our search for more survivors," Neoman de la Cruz, a Mines and Geosciences Bureau officer, told The Associated Press.

Nearly 100 rescuers had battled days of heavy rains and rising waters to look for the miners, he said.

The miners had been working illegally at an abandoned gold mine and had dug themselves a narrow passageway to bypass guards and gain access to the tunnels.

Despite their ordeal, the men said they would return to mining, saying it was the only work they knew.