A 7.2-magnitude earthquake shook the central Philippines on Tuesday, killing at least six people and damaging historic buildings.

The quake was centered 56 kilometers deep on Bohol Island, across the strait from Cebu, a popular tourist area. No tsunami warning was issued.

Cebu resident Sian Maynard tells VOA she was awoken by the early morning temblor, which was the strongest she has experienced.

"I felt my room shake and I saw that the books on my bookshelf were falling off. Then I heard my mom screaming for me to get out of the house."

Maynard says several of the area's historic buildings suffered major damage.

"A bell tower in one of our oldest churches has collapsed and (there is) lots of other structural damage around the city, as well. In Bohol, which was supposedly the quake's epicenter, a 400 year-old church collapsed, also."

Pictures on social media also showed extensive damage to shops and roads torn apart by the quake.

The region has been hit by several powerful aftershocks, prompting many residents to stay outside.

Tuesday is a national holiday in the Philippines, which may have led to a reduction in casualties, as many schools and offices were closed.

Earthquakes are common in the Philippines, which lies along the Pacific ``Rim of Fire.''