When over 200 members of a small Philippine island’s goat population end up strangled with their stomachs ripped open and vital organs removed and the killings just happen to coincide with occurrences of a full moon, there are plenty of mythical creatures to suspect. Filipino folklore has stories of the Sigbin, a goat-like blood sucker with large ears, and the Aswang, a vampire-werewolf combination. But on Sibale Island in the Romblon province, they blame werewolves.
Sibale Mayor Lemuel Cipriano reports in Manila Standard Today that 14 goats in Barangay Poblacion and 13 in Barangay San Vicente were killed in the past few weeks, usually between midnight and 2am, adding to the total of 200 killed since 2012 out of a total goat population of only 1,000. He has local police patrolling the villages, especially on full moon nights.
None of the 4,500 people living on Sibale Island have seen any werewolves, but the timing, frequency and brutality of the killings has residents and officials baffled.
It would be easy to dismiss the werewolf story if it weren’t for the other strange happenings in the area. Sibale Island is in the Romblon province which is one corner of the Romblon Triangle, a so-called graveyard of sunken ships where a number of maritime disasters have occurred over the past 60 years. They range from the sinking of Japanese warships during World War II to the Don Paz ferry, which collided with an oil tanker in 1987 and sank with 4,000 people on board. Sailors traveling in these waters have reported seeing ghost ships and receiving mysterious navigation guidance from fireflies and santilmos or St. Elmo’s Fire.
If that’s not enough, Sibale Island has serious economic problems and its human population growth is being outpaced by monkeys. It’s no wonder the locals are upset about losing their supply of meat and milk, whatever the cause.
Is Sibale Island doomed to be consumed by mythical werewolves, maritime disasters, monetary problems and monkeys? Only time will tell.