Almost all buildings in the city of Tuguegarao sustained some damage, a government official said, and communications were down in places.
However, there were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.
More than four million people are directly in the path of the storm, with sustained winds of 185km/h (115mph).
Thousands were evacuated amid warnings of 6m (20ft) storm surges.
The typhoon is forecast to barrel toward China across the weekend.
The deadliest storm on record in the country was Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which killed more than 7,000.