Pinoy Monster: Kapre

Since it's nearing Halloween, let's talk about mythological creatures of the Philippines, starting with the kapre.

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The kapre is a dark and tall (15 feet high) human-like being who likes to smoke cigars (tabako) while sitting under some trees. You can sometimes tell if there's a kapre nearby when you suddenly encounter a swarm of mosquitoes near rima or santol trees.

Kapres don't really harm humans, though. They just like to have fun with people. For example:

They will throw stones on your roof or windows.
They will throw a fish into your house (on a fishing rod).
They'll disrupt your party (because they stink) by hanging out near your house.

There have been some stories of people attacking kapres. These folks usually faint after hacking a kapre with a bolo. When they wake up in the morning, however, they find themselves beside a large tree with their bolo stuck in the trunk.

In Arnold Arre's "Mythology Class", he writes about kapres who can be lulled to sleep by the mesmerizing dance of a maiden.

I haven't actually seen a kapre, but I suppose it was just my lola's way of getting me inside the house before it grew dark. Then again, you'll never know...

(If there are other Filipino mythical creatures or monsters you wish to learn more about, which will help you enrich your Halloween stories for your children, please let me know via the online form below.)

[ First posted on 10/21/2005 by Manuel Viloria ]

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