Rescuers have been struggling to pull patients from the rubble of a hospital that collapsed after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the central Philippines, killing at least 93 people.

The tremor was recorded at a depth of about 56km (35 miles) on Bohol Island, which lies some 400km southeast of the capital Manila, but also affected the nearby provinces of Cebu and Siquijor.

In the municipality of Loon, Bohol, an unknown number of patients were trapped inside Congressman Castillo Memorial Hospital, which partially crumbled as the earth shook at 08:12 (00:12 GMT).

Civil defence spokesman Maj. Reynaldo Balido said rescuers were working to reach them.

At least 77 of the deaths were reported in Bohol, which also suffered power cuts as several buildings and historic churches were damaged.

The province of Cebu suffered similar devastation. At least five people died in a fishing port which collapsed in Cebu city, while another two were killed by the collapse of the roof of a market.

The quake also triggered deadly stampedes, as people poured outside the trembling buildings onto the streets.  

Five people were crushed to death and other eight injured as they rushed out of a Cebu gym, said Neil Sanchez, provincial disaster management officer.

"We ran out of the building, and outside, we hugged trees because the tremors were so strong," said Vilma Yorong, a provincial government employee in Bohol.

"When the shaking stopped, I ran to the street and there I saw several injured people. Some were saying their church has collapsed."

Fearing a tsunami might follow the quake, people started running up a mountain. "Minutes after the earthquake, people were pushing each other to go up the hill," Yorong said.

The tremor hit on a national holiday - the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha - an occurrence that might have saved lives since schools and offices were closed.

President Benigno Aquino III is to travel to Bohol and Cebu later this week.

A strong earthquake measuring 7.2 hit the central PhilippinesReuters
Many buildings were decimated by the tremorReuters
A man buried from the debris at a fishing port in Cebu cityReuters
Rescuers clear debris from buried vehiclesReuters
Hospital patients rest after being evacuated to a covered courtReuters
A view of the damaged Basilica Minore of Sto Nino de Cebu church after an earthquake struckReuters
Hospital patients are evacuated after an earthquake struck CebuReuters
Rescuers retrieve a body pinned by debris in a fish market in Cebu cityReuters