Front Pages 2011

Front Pages 2011: The Japan Earthquake

March 11, 2011. A 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake occurred 70 kilometers east of Tohoku, Japan. It triggered massive tsunami waves, reaching as high as 40 meters and going as far as 10 kms. inland. It later caused critical-level accidents in five nuclear plants, most notably in Fukushima.

Over 15,000 people were killed, and the over-all damage cost could reach $300 billion. The earthquake is the most powerful one to ever hit Japan, and among the top 5 most powerful ones in the world.

The Manila Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Philippine Star devoted their front pages from March 12 to 18 to news and pictures of the quake’s aftermath.

Front Pages 2011: Earthquake Hits Japan (Bulletin)

Manila Bulletin front covers, March 12 to 18

Front Pages 2011: Earthquake Hits Japan (Inquirer)

Philippine Daily Inquirer front covers, March 12 to 18

Front Pages 2011: Earthquake Hits Japan (Star)

The Philippine Star front covers, March 12 to 18


On the Covers:

  • March 12:
    * the papers initially reported an 8.9-magnitude quake
    * updates on the impeachment of then-Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez
  • March 13:
    * reports on the explosion of a nuclear reactor
    * Bulletin and Inquirer reports the initial death toll of 1,300
    * Pres. Aquino, who was back from state visits in Indonesia and Singapore
  • March 14:
    * a quote from Japanese PM Naoto Kan: “This is Japan’s most severe crisis since WWII”
    * the Bilibid Puzakals football team, who lost to the French Football Club in a friendly match
  • March 15:
    * reports on a second nuclear reactor blast
    * women legislators, who take over the House of Representatives for a day, led by Congresswoman Gina de Venecia, wife of former House Speaker Jose de Venecia
    * the DOST, which debunked rumors of radiation reaching the Philippines, as a university canceled classed citing this rumor as basis
  • March 16:
    * the Philippine Azkals, who lost to Mongolia but will advance to the AFC Challenge Cup
    * the Bulletin reports on the rich receiving CCT dole-outs by the gov’t
    * the Inquirer reports that 42 Pinoys in Japan were missing
  • March 17:
    * The Philippines is in danger of experiencing an earthquake, as Philvolcs reports that the Marikina Fault Line is “ripe” for movement
    * the earthquake death toll reached 11,000, as reported by Star
  • March 18:
    * an Atenean topped the 2011 Bar Exams
    * Banco Filipino, which was ordered closed by the Central Bank of the Phils.
    * floods and landslides in Leyte killed 7 people
    * the possibility of opening of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was raised
    * China decided to proceed with the execution of three OFW’s arrested for drug trafficking


Front Pages 2011 is Pinoy Index’s way of looking back at notable events of 2011, as presented on the front page of the three leading broadsheet newspapers in the country: the Manila Bulletin, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and the Philippine Star.

Images of newspaper front pages featured in this post are retrieved from the Bulletin e-paper site at, the Inquirer e-paper site at, and the Philippine Star archives.


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