Kapre

An Artist’s Rendition of a Kapre:

URL of image: http://tx.english-ch.com/teacher/jocelyn/others/philippine-mythical-creatures/

What is a Kapre:

This Filipino tree demon looks like a great mixture of human and ape.  It is generally a giant, 8 feet tall, with black or brown, long course hair including a beard and eyes that burn like a cigar tip.  Its favorite activities include smoking cigars, misleading travelers, tricking little children wandering around the woods at night (honestly, why are children always wandering the woods?), gambling, and drinking.  This beast is often compared with the North American Bigfoot, or the Yeti.  They have giant tree-thick legs, long fingernails and sharp teeth.  It is generally a prankster that enjoys confusing people, sometimes even taking away little bits of their memories so they can’t find their way home, and is not particularly violent (like most Filipino monsters).  Also known as the Tikbalang or Agta in the Visayan dialect.  Their biggest fashion statement is wearing a bahag (much like shorts), but beyond that they roam the forests au-naturale.  For some reason often pictured with dreads, but there’s nothing to suggest that all Kapres wear their hair in dreads.

Where can you find one?

First, you have to be in the Philippines.  The Kapres enjoy hanging out in giant trees, like the Mango, Acacia, Bamboo, Narra or Balete (Banyan) trees.  He can generally be found sitting in the shade, smoking his cigar or up in the branches just enjoying the good life of being a mythical beast that is generally invisible to the naked human eye unless he wants to be seen.  They can also live in abandoned houses or ruins, but your best bet of finding one is in giant trees.

But if they’re invisible, how you can tell if a Kapre’s nearby?

So, having established that Kapres are fond of smoking cigars, oftentimes you can smell them without ever having to see them.  They smell strongly of tobacco smoke, and sometimes you can get a glimpse of their red-coal eyes staring down at you as you take your nightly forest stroll.  Oftentimes people who have had an encounter with a Kapre report hearing loud laughs from the trees or see leaves rustling when there’s no wind or animals nearby.  If you happen to have an ember nearby and its glowing, this means the Kapre is in a mischievous mood.  Also, if you find yourself getting constantly lost, chances are a Kapre’s playing little mind tricks on you.

Alright, so what does a Kapre do exactly?

What, being invisible and playing pranks isn’t enough for you people?  Ok, alright, so in general Kapres are go-lucky chill beasts, but if you get one angry…  First and foremost, the Kapre isn’t like the Bigfoot or Yeti because it isn’t really a beast or an animal.  It’s more of an elemental being, so whatever it’s going to do with you won’t be just a mauling with its fingers.  Kapres can make you sick, or cause you great harm.  Also, they’re apparently very much fond of falling in love with human women (not enough Kapre females to go around, I guess), so they often abduct women from their homes (let’s not go into details about what happens to the women once abducted by this Cupid-struck monstrosity).  The poor saps are highly romantic and are said to follow around their female love interest for her entire life.  They become very possessive of their female ‘lovers’, or women they fall in love with, and often won’t let any human male have her.  Recall that generally they are gentle pranksters, but once they become jealous lovers they turn quite violent.  A personal favorite prank that Kapres are inclined to indulge is taking someone’s bed, while occupied, out of their house and putting them up in the branches of a tree without waking up the occupant.

How to not get tricked by a Kapre:

So, if you don’t want a Kapre to be mean to you here are a few things you can do to make sure you’re safe.  First off, don’t court a woman who’s being romanced by a Kapre.  Just don’t do it.  If you don’t want a Kapre to keep getting you lost in a forest, wear your shirt inside-out (why didn’t I think of that?  I mean compasses are useless anyways).  Also, when passing under a giant tree, assume a Kapre’s hanging, and so not to offend the Kapre make sure to ask for permission to pass his tree.  And one last thing: don’t make too much noise in the forest.  Kapres are cigar-loving, tree-top dwelling giants, so please, keep your boombox volume at a 0.

What are the Origins (or theoretical origins) of the Kapre?

To quote Fonzi Christ (because even I get tired of trying to make original content):  “The term kapre comes from the Arabic “kaffir” meaning a non-believer in Islam. The early Arabs and the Moors used it to refer to the non-Muslim Dravidians who were dark-skinned. The term was later brought to the Philippines by the Spanish who had previous contact with the Moors. Some historians speculate that the legend was propagated by the Spanish to prevent Filipinos from assisting any escaped African slaves.” From the website: http://tx.english-ch.com/teacher/jocelyn/others/philippine-mythical-creatures/ 

Although if this is the origin theory, what’s with the cigar smoking?  But it kinda makes sense why they have dread locks.

Sightings by People:

An Australian mother whose daughter (and herself later) has an experience with a Kapre:  http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=65827

About.com apparently has a Paranormal Phenomena page of Your True Stories.  This one is a girl recalling her brother’s experience with a Kapre in the Philippines:  http://paranormal.about.com/library/blstory_august04_20.htm

Some whose spinster grand-aunt had a Kapre who fell in love with her and the odd misfortunes that befell any of her suitors:  http://silentreed.hubpages.com/hub/a-scary-love-story

Where do I get my information?

Unexplained-mysteries.com, Kapre sighting in Philippines discussion board:  http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=65827

About.com  Paranormal Phenomena Your True Stories page.  Vanessa Bonifacio:  http://paranormal.about.com/library/blstory_august04_20.htm

Hubpages: A Scary Love Story and Stories about the Philippines Kapre Legend:  http://silentreed.hubpages.com/hub/a-scary-love-story

Kapre-WikiPilipinas: The Hip ‘n Free Philippine Encyclopedia: http://en.wikipilipinas.org/index.php?title=Kapre

Kapre: the Philippine Bigfoot.  The Moonlit Window:  http://themoonlitwindow.blogspot.com/2008/10/kapre-philippine-bigfoot.html

Mythical Creatures of the Philippine Folklore from Fonzation:  http://www.fonzoire.co.cc/2008/09/creatures-of-dark-of-philippine.html

Filipino Monsters Vol. 1 discussion forum:  http://godspawns.forumotion.com/t42-filipino-monsters-vol-1

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “Kapre”

  1. simply stopping by to say hi
    this video

  2. Who is the author of this blog?

  3. the kapre in the picture was big but the description said its just 8 ft tall…

    • M. G. Taboada said:

      Yeah they’re generally 7-9 ft tall, and the picture is just an artist’s take on what a kapre might look like

  4. Madeleine said:

    I don’t mean to be pushy or prying, but I’d like to know what Kapre do with the women they abduct (for book research).

    • M. G. Taboada said:

      To be honest, it’s kind of tough to answer that because there isn’t that much info online about what they do. Some people say they just keep the women in their trees and won’t let them go. Could be a sexual thing or could be a ‘lonely and I just want some friends’ kind of thing, given that Kapres are reportedly very human-orientated and friendly. They don’t generally want to cause harm.

    • Hi, I just read your comment and thought I may be of help. There’s a book by Philippine author Maximo D. Rivera called “Creatures of Philippine Lower Mythology”.

  5. I’m curious of two things, purely because I’m one of those people who wants full details: What do Kapre do with the women they abduct. And what do they do when following around their “love interests”? Like, do they leave little gifts?

  6. Danny Balais said:

    Kapre, tikbalang, and agta are three very different mythical creatures. I don’t know what source you’re using, but it’s absolutely incorrect.

    I grew up in the Visayas (Leyte) and very familiar with the mythology of all three creatures.

    The Aswang Project is an excellent source for *accurate* information about Philippine mythological creatures. Here’s what they have for kapre, agta, and tikbalang:

    KAPRE – (Many regions) Kapre is a filthy, black, hairy giant spirit who likes to smoke huge rolls of cigars, and hide within and atop large trees, particularly the balete and old acacia or mango trees. A Filipino bigfoot, it scares away little children who play at night. If you’re stuck in a place and you keep going around in circles, you’re said to be played around by a Kapre. To escape its control, you must remove your t-shirt, and wear it inside-out. They usually depicted with a cigar as large as the trunk of a tree.

    AGTA – (Waray) A hairy giant spirit living in the forest, mostly in large trees as Balete Tree. They are similar to Kapres but they are romantic beings. Snatches up females after being lured by flower petal shower. They feed on wicked spirits of men after driving them crazy then seduce them to suicide.

    TIKBALANG – (Tagalog and other regions) A half-man and half-horse creature, terrorizes women. Actually, they are summoned by shamans or landlords to secure and protect their house. It has a horse’s head, the body of a human but with the feet of the horse. It travels at night to rape female mortals. The raped women will then give birth to more tikbalang. They are also believed to cause travelers to lose their way particularly in mountainous or forest areas. Tikbalangs are very playful with people, and they usually make a person imagine things that aren’t real. Sometimes a Tikbalang will drive a person crazy.

    Legends say that when rain falls while the sun is shining or in a clear sky, there is a wedding between two Tikbalangs.

    Since horses only arrived in the Philippine archipelago during the Spanish colonization (thus, the borrowed term ‘kabayo’), there is a theory that the image of a half-horse, half-man creature was propagated by the conquistadors to keep the natives afraid of the night. There are stories claiming that the Tikbalang are actually half-bird, half-man creatures, much like the Japanese tengu.
    It is sometimes believed to be a transformation of an aborted fetus which has been sent to earth from limbo.

  7. Your information about kapres are not accurate. In fact they’re not the same creatures as agtas or tikbalangs. You might want to use a more reliable source.

    KAPRE – (Many regions) Kapre is a filthy, black, hairy giant spirit who likes to smoke huge rolls of cigars, and hide within and atop large trees, particularly the balete and old acacia or mango trees. A Filipino bigfoot, it scares away little children who play at night. If you’re stuck in a place and you keep going around in circles, you’re said to be played around by a Kapre. To escape its control, you must remove your t-shirt, and wear it inside-out. They usually depicted with a cigar as large as the trunk of a tree.

    AGTA – (Waray) A hairy giant spirit living in the forest, mostly in large trees as Balete Tree. They are similar to Kapres but they are romantic beings. Snatches up females after being lured by flower petal shower. They feed on wicked spirits of men after driving them crazy then seduce them to suicide.

    TIKBALANG – (Tagalog and other regions) A half-man and half-horse creature, terrorizes women. Actually, they are summoned by shamans or landlords to secure and protect their house. It has a horse’s head, the body of a human but with the feet of the horse. It travels at night to rape female mortals. The raped women will then give birth to more tikbalang. They are also believed to cause travelers to lose their way particularly in mountainous or forest areas. Tikbalangs are very playful with people, and they usually make a person imagine things that aren’t real. Sometimes a

    Tikbalang will drive a person crazy.
    Legends say that when rain falls while the sun is shining or in a clear sky, there is a wedding between two Tikbalangs.

    Since horses only arrived in the Philippine archipelago during the Spanish colonization (thus, the borrowed term ‘kabayo’), there is a theory that the image of a half-horse, half-man creature was propagated by the conquistadors to keep the natives afraid of the night. There are stories claiming that the Tikbalang are actually half-bird, half-man creatures, much like the Japanese tengu.
    It is sometimes believed to be a transformation of an aborted fetus which has been sent to earth from limbo.

    SOURCE: The Aswang Project (http://www.aswangproject.com/)

  8. Madeleine said:

    I also read that they follow their “love interest” throughout life; what if the love interest moved out of the Philippines? Would it follow them out of the Philippines or just stay behind?

  9. Danny Ballais said:

    A couple of errors in your article:

    1, Tikbalangs are a completely different creature. Tikbalanags have human bodies and horse heads.

    2. Agtas are similar to Kapres but they have significant differences, and in the various Visyan languages (they’re not dialects but actual languages), are known as Kapres to distinguish them from Agtas.

    3. Bahag is loincloth NOT shorts pants.

  10. Marinduque folklore says, they can grant you a wish. First, they will throw you up the air then they will ask you if you can see the sea. Just tell them you don’t if you still haven’t. They will throw you higher and higher until you see the sea. Then they will grant your wish. Careful though. It comes with a price. But if you are friends with the “Kapre”, they grant it to you for free.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s