Mudslide fears

Alejandro said the other dead were a man who drowned when he tried to cross a swollen creek in nearby Camarines Norte province, and a fisherman who drowned off Camarines as the storm began to batter the province.

In nearby Albay province, nearly 45,000 villagers were moved into school shelters from their houses at the foot of the Mayon volcano amid fears of possible mudslides, he said.

The storm, with sustained winds of 95kph and gusts of up to 120kph was about 110km off the country's northeastern coast and moving towards the Pacific Ocean, Manny Mendoza, a government weather forecaster, said.

About 20 typhoons lash the country each year, mostly after June.

The current storm struck in the middle of the Philippine summer, an unusual
occurrence that may have been caused by changing weather patterns caused by global warming, Alejandro said.