The Philippine authorities soon after issued a tsunami warning.
The quake struck at 10:37 p.m. and was measured at a depth of 32 kilometres. There are no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said based on the magnitude and location it expected tsunami waves to hit the southern Philippines and parts of Indonesia, Palau and Malaysia.
The USGS gave a preliminary magnitude of 7.6 while the Philippine agency in charge of earthquakes said it measured 6.9.
Teresito Bacolcol of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology Seismology told The Associated Press his agency advised residents along the coast of southern Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces to evacuate immediately to higher grounds.
Based on the quake’s magnitude, he said a 1-metre tsunami may hit but the wave could be higher in coves and bays.
The Philippines experiences regular earthquakes and volcanic eruptions due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of seismic faults around the ocean.