High-rise buildings swayed from the wind.
Even though Philippine authorities say it's highly unlikely any of the people feared buried in a mudslide would be found alive, Ulani said he was desperate to help.
The death toll climbed to 20 as authorities found the body of a one-year-old boy who was swept away after his mother drove into floodwaters and lost her grip on him while trying to get back to dry land, and an 88-year-old man's vehicle was swept off a road.
Typhoon Mangkhut was the most powerful to strike this year, with Hong Kong and parts of China also being severely hit.
Despite its reputation for a dog-eat-dog competitive focus, Hong Kong residents said the storm had given a rare opportunity for solidarity.
Earlier, more than 400 flights at two airports in China's southernmost island Province of Hainan with all coastal resorts and schools closed as Typhoon Mangkhut approached.
Tearful families surrounded a whiteboard bearing names of the dead and missing as others inspected recovered bodies for signs these could be their loved ones.
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said mining operators in the area had been repeatedly told to leave because of the threat of landslides.
Flooding caused by the heavy rains of Typhoon Mangkhut in Macau, China. He said nothing bad will happen to him and that once the rain stops, he will go up. Mangkhut was expected to make landfall sometime Sunday evening in southern mainland China.
At least 65 have died across the Philippines, and rescuers are digging through the mud following a landslide in Itogon, where at least 32 were killed, and many more are missing, presumed dead.
As more than 300 rescuers, including police and soldiers, used shovels and picks to search for the missing, Zambale said he still remembers the faces of the villagers he tried to convince to flee.
Cagayan Valley, the country's top corn producer and second rice producer, is the region hardest hit by the typhoon which struck just before the harvest season. More than 2.4million people have been evacuated.