Millions of Filipinos have endured a second day without power after typhoon Rammasun paralysed the capital Manila, and killed 38 people as it swept across the country.

Rammasun was heading towards China on Thursday after cutting a path through the Philippines' central and southern islands, shutting down the capital and knocking down trees and power lines.

The storm's 160km/h winds destroyed about 7,000 houses and damaged another 19,000 said Alexander Parma, the chief of the national disaster agency. It was the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year.

Many of those killed were outdoors, killed by falling trees, collapsing buildings and flying debris, according to the council's data, despite national warnings to remain indoors or in shelters.

In Manila, a city of 12 million people, streets remained littered with fallen trees, branches and electrical posts as repairmen struggled to restore power services.

"It really scrambled whole towns, blowing down houses and toppling power lines," the chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, Richard Gordon, told AFP news agency.

The Philippines is hit by about 20 major storms a year, many of them deadly. The archipelago is often the first major landmass to be struck after storms build above the warm Pacific Ocean.

Rammasun was the first typhoon to make landfall since this year's rainy season began in June.

It was also the first major storm since typhoon Haiyan devastated the eastern islands of Samar and Leyte in November last year, killing up to 7,300 people in one of the Philippines' worst natural disasters.

Those areas were largely spared from this week's typhoon.

Source: AFP