Maysak, which began as a Super Typhoon in the Pacific Ocean, reached the northeast coast of the main island of Luzon at 0530 IST with winds of 55 kilometres an hour, chief state weather forecaster Esperanza Cayanan said.
    
"As of now, most of our fears have melted away," she told a news conference shortly after the depression reached Dinapigue, a remote town on Luzon's northeast coast, about 250 kilometres from Manila.
    
The government had evacuated more than 25,000 people from coastal villages in the region, while police drove away thousands of tourists from beaches on nearby Aurora province as a precaution against potential tsunami-like waves known as storm surges.
    
The tourists, many of whom had come from Manila and nearby areas to enjoy the long Easter holidays in the mainly Catholic nation, breathed a sigh of relief and dived back into the still choppy waters on Easter Sunday.
    
"We made a calculated risk (that Maysak would dissipate) and we got lucky. Prayers also helped," Manila-based television producer Rona Agtay, said as she hit the surf.
    
State weather forecaster Shelly Ignacio said the super typhoon met unfavourable atmospheric conditions as it approached land, causing the storm system to dissipate dramatically overnight yesterday.
    
At its current strength, Maysak can break tree branches and may take the roofs off houses made of light materials, while sea travel remains risky for small boats, the state weather service said in its latest bulletin.
    
"We expect this system to melt away as it crosses the mountains, although there is a small possibility it could survive by the time it hits the water (South China Sea) tomorrow," she added.
    
More than 500 boats were also ordered to remain at port in the region, while 10 domestic flights suspended. The authorities were expected to lift the restrictions on Sunday.
    
With the improving conditions, local officials will now make the call on when to send the evacuees back home, civil defence director Alexander Pama told a news conference.
    
"We had not received any reports of casualties," Pama added.

 

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