"This is the worst beating we have had," the Catanduanes Governor, Severo Alcantara, said before communications with the island were severed, apart from ham radio links. Catanduanes, 220 miles east of Manila, was the first to feel Angela's fury.
Up to 500 miles in diameter and with winds gusting up to 155mph, Angela then scythed across Luzon, the most heavily populated island in the Philippines, a nation of 65 million people.
Initial estimates put damage to property and crops at more than 1.2bn pesos (pounds 30m).
President Fidel Ramos, taking personal charge of relief efforts in Manila, said: "Saving lives and reducing damage is the main event at this particular time." The normally congested capital turned into a ghost town as its 8.5 million people cowered indoors.