The Philippine island of Siquijor retains a reputation for witchcraft that is hard to erase even in the 21st century. You simply don’t cross the island’s famous mambabarangs (witch doctors), something Imelda Marcos (it is said) had to learn the hard way. According to this Manila Times newspaper article, the former First Lady of the Philippines had a curse put on her in the Seventies – a spell was cast that made “scales grow on her legs”.
Imelda fetched a powerful mambabarang called Boscia Bulongon by helicopter from Siquijor. She did her work, cured the First lady, and was paid handsomely for her services.
Sadly, this story doesn’t end on a happy note – Bulongon buried the money, but was battered to death by her grandson in a botched effort to get the old lady to tell him where the money was hidden. Bulongon was said to be impervious to metal weapons, so her killer used a wooden plank to beat the information out of her.
Are the mambabarangs for real? Is Siquijor really a hotspot for Philippine witchcraft? We can’t say for sure, but you can visit Siquijor (one of the Philippines’ off-the-beaten track destinations) and find out for yourself.