Typhoon Phanfone, also known as Ursula, carried gusts of close to 190km/h (118 mph) and made landfall several times across various islands, officials say.
Tens of thousands of people were left stranded in ports as they tried to make their way home for Christmas.
Phanfone struck close to regions devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
More than 6,000 people were killed in November that year, making it the Philippines' deadliest storm.
With winds of more than 310km/h, it was the most powerful storm to ever make landfall.