02 Mar 2013 16:00
There are around sixty pairs of twins living in a small town on Alabat Island. Eudosia and Antonia, who will be turning 82 next year, are the oldest, while the five month-old babies, Jane and Joy, are the youngest pair on the island.
According to the mayor, the population of the island is composed of 4% of twins of the 12,039 residents of their town. When he and his wife migrated to the island in 1980s they were amazed that the island had so many twins. Even the former mayor of the island had a twin brother. Town folks were shocked when they thought they'd seen that the dead mayor brought back to life, but later learnt that the former mayor has a twin brother.
No studies have been conducted on the island to investigate why the number of twins in this small town is growing. According to a study conducted between 1996 to 2006, the Philippine Obstetric and Gynecologic Society found out that there was a 182% increase in multiple pregnancies in 35 year-old women due to the use of fertility drugs. Due to the remoteness of the island and the limited access to fertility drugs, other influences could be considered such as inheritance of twinning or the food intake of mothers.
According to Wikipedia, Yoruba in South Africa has the highest rate of twinning in the world, with 45-50 twin sets (or 90-100 twins) per 1,000 live births, possibly because of high consumption of a specific type of yam containing a natural phytoestrogen which may stimulate the ovaries to release an egg from each side.
The main source of sustenance on the island is farming and fishing. According to the oldest midwife in the island, heredity is the major culprit of twinning in the island, and so far, their island has the highest population of twins in the entire Philippines.