As of Wednesday evening, the typhoon was over the South China Sea west of Palawan province. It was blowing northwestward and could be headed to Vietnam or southern China, according to government forecasters.
The deaths came despite efforts by President Benigno Aquino III's government to force residents out of high-risk communities as the typhoon approached.
Some 20 typhoons and storms lash the northern and central Philippines each year, but they rarely hit the vast southern Mindanao region where sprawling export banana plantations have been planted over the decades because it seldom experiences strong winds that could blow down the trees.
A rare storm in the south last December killed more than 1,200 people and left many more homeless.
The United States extended its condolences and offered to help its Asian ally deal with the typhoon's devastation. It praised government efforts to minimize the deaths and damage.
Associated Press writers Jim Gomez, Teresa Cerojano and Oliver Teves in Manila contributed to this report.
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