‘Twice as strong’
Fear was widespread among many of the estimated four million people in the storm’s path long before it made landfall.
Thousands of people evacuated high-risk areas following major flooding and landslide warnings.
Myrna Parallag and her two young grandchildren fled their home a day before Mangkhut struck.
“I’m afraid that the floodwaters will be high and will reach our house,” the 53-year-old told AFP on Friday as she looked for shelter near the city of Tuguegarao.
This was not her first storm. Parallag survived Lawin, also known as Super Typhoon Haima, but it destroyed her house.
“The newscaster said the typhoon now is twice as strong,” added Parallag, who makes money selling street food.
Her worries and those of thousands of others were well founded.
The storm claimed its first victims on Saturday, including two women who were buried when a rain-soaked hillside collapsed.
“As we go forward, this number will go higher,” said Ricardo Jalad, head of the national civil defence office, referring to the death toll.
An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.