The eye of Typhoon Rammasun, the strongest storm to hit the country this year, passed south of Manila after cutting a path across the main island of Luzon, toppling trees and power lines and causing electrocutions and widespread blackouts.
Government offices, financial markets and schools closed for the day.
Major roads across Luzon were blocked by debris, fallen trees, electricity poles and tin roofs ripped off village houses. The storm uprooted trees in the capital where palm trees lining major arteries were bent over by the wind as broken hoardings bounced down the streets. Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson and Admiral Alexander Pama, the executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, surveyed the typhoon-affected areas by helicopter.
Mr Singson said the typhoon had passed through the most populated area of the country, with about 17 million people living in its path.
Mr Singson and Mr Pama said the government was more prepared this time, after the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan in November, evacuating people at risk in coastal and landslide-prone areas well before the typhoon made landfall.
Parts of the Philippines are still recovering from Haiyan which killed more than 6,100 people in the central provinces, many perished in tsunami-like sea surges.