The Philippines being an archipelagic nation, Philippine folklore naturally teems with stories of mysterious creatures and phenomena surfacing under the sea.
One such lore, which has gone down into becoming an urban legend, is the “Romblon Triangle,” an area south of Luzon that had claimed thousands of lives in maritime disasters over the past years.
Named after the infamous “Bermuda Triangle,” in North America, the “Romblon Triangle” is situated between the islands of Mindoro and the Dos Hermanas and Sibuyan Islands in Romblon province.
The area has been dubbed as the EDSA of Philippine waters by the Coast Guard and local residents, where majority of Philippine and foreign vessels pass through on their way to Visayas and Mindanao.
In such a busy seaway, sea mishaps are naturally commonplace. But many local residents have noted the eerie similarities between the Sibuyan Sea area and the “Bermuda Triangle,” where marine vessels have sunk or otherwise disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
The area was the scene of one of the worst maritime accidents in Philippine history – including the world’s worst peacetime marine disaster in 1987, when the MV Dona Paz sunk with 4,000 people on board after colliding with an oil tanker. Until now, the cause of the accident remains a mystery.
Other notable disasters in the “Romblon Triangle” included the sinking of the MV Don Juan in 1980, which killed at least 176 passengers, and the capsizing of the MV Princess of the Stars off the coast of Sibuyan Island in 2008, with at least 862 trapped on board.
The Philippine Coast Guard had noted that waters from the Pacific Ocean and the West Philippine Sea intersect in Tablas Strait, forming riptides that cause big waves that make the area dangerous for ships.
However, locals in the area had spoken of a “ghost ship” roaming in the area, piloted by a certain “Lolo Amang.”
“Lolo Amang,” according to local folklore, lived in nearby Sibale Island, which was also rumored to be populated by werewolves. His ghost ship, allegedly made of pure gold, sails every night in the waters around the “Romblon Triangle,” locals claimed.
One such apparition allegedly occurred shortly before the sinking of the MV Don Juan in 1980. It had been said that the ship’s captain, seeing the ghost ship, tried to avoid it – which caused it to collide with a passing oil tanker. (Philippine Urban Legends blog)