Guardian of the Green: The Kapre’s Smoke Signals

Written By Jason Kim

Writing stories of mythical proportions.

A Kapre Story

The Kapre was known to dwell in big trees like acacias, mangoes, bamboo, and banyan. It loved to sit under those trees, enjoying its favorite pastime of smoking a big tobacco pipe. The smell of its pipe would attract the attention of humans passing by. Legend has it that the Kapre got its name from the Arabic word “kaffir,” which meant a non-believer in Islam. The Spanish had brought this term to the Philippines, using it to refer to the dark-skinned non-Muslim Dravidians.

The Kapre was a mysterious creature, often seen wearing a traditional Northern Philippine loincloth known as bahag. Some said it wore a belt that made it invisible to humans. There were also tales of the Kapre holding a magical white stone, smaller than a quail egg, which had the power to grant wishes.

Living in caves, forests, or high up in big trees, the Kapre was much bigger and taller than an ordinary person. There was a story of a woman who encountered a Kapre in the forest. One ordinary day, a man appeared at her house. He seemed angelic and good-looking, but there was something strange about him. He was a Kapre in disguise.

The Kapre kept inviting the woman to go with him, and though she hesitated at first, she eventually agreed. Together, they traveled to a world that the woman had never seen before. It was like paradise, filled with beauty and abundance. The woman noticed food everywhere, but the Kapre insisted she eat a special, black-colored food. Sensing danger, she refused to eat it.

As the Kapre’s true nature was revealed, it grew furious and transformed into a monstrous evil creature. Terrified, the woman managed to escape and return to her own unconscious and sick body. The modern medicine couldn’t cure her, and it seemed like all hope was lost. But with the help of a healer, they performed a special ceremony and offering to drive away the Kapre’s dark presence.

Kapre is a tree giant that is smoking a cigar sitting in the canopy of a tree.

The Kapre was a tall, grimy humanoid with a body odor resembling a gorilla. Known as a tree demon, it enjoyed playing tricks on people who ventured into the woods. It made them go in circles or become completely lost. Legend had it that to escape its grasp, one must turn all their clothing inside-out.

Kapre of Philippine Folklore

The Kapre is often depicted as a towering figure, standing between 7 to 9 feet tall. Cloaked in darkness, its robust and muscular form elicits a sense of both awe and fear. Sporting long, unkempt hair and a luscious beard, this creature has become an icon in Philippine mythology.

One of the distinctive traits of the Kapre is its deep affinity for trees. It is believed to make its home among the branches and dense foliage. The Kapre is known to emit a powerful aroma, the unmistakable scent of tobacco. This unique fragrance serves as a gateway to its presence, drawing the attention of those nearby.

Kapre is a tree giant that is smoking a cigar sitting

While the Kapre may instill trepidation, it is not inherently malicious or harmful. Rather, it is considered mischievous and playful. It enjoys playing pranks on unsuspecting individuals, adding a touch of excitement to the lives of those who cross its path. However, it is important to remember that respect should be shown to this mystical being.

Legend has it that the Kapre possesses the ability to perplex and disorient travelers, leading them astray in unfamiliar territories. Wandering through dense forests or embarking on solitary nighttime journeys may expose individuals to the whimsical nature of this creature. It is said that if one encounters a Kapre, it’s best to stay calm, maintain a clear mind, and seek guidance to avoid getting lost.

Beyond its playful nature, the Kapre is believed to harbor a fascination for beauty, particularly that of women. There are tales of Kapres who have been captivated by the enchanting allure of a woman, to the point of attempting to kidnap her. These legends serve as a reminder of the need for caution and vigilance when crossing paths with this extraordinary creature.

Interestingly, while the Kapre is predominantly found in Philippine folklore, comparable beings can be found in other cultures across Southeast Asia. The Indonesian Orang Bunian and the Malaysian Jentayu share similarities with the Kapre, underscoring the pervasive nature of these mystical entities in the region’s folklore.

Kapre is a tree giant that is smoking a cigar sitting in the canopy of a tree.

As we immerse ourselves in the rich tapestry of Philippine mythology, the Kapre emerges as a figure of intrigue and wonder. Its towering presence, affinity for trees, and distinct tobacco aroma have solidified its place among the legendary creatures of the archipelago. So, next time you find yourself gazing at an ancient tree, be mindful of the mystical Kapre that might just be watching from its leafy perch, ready to enchant your senses and spark your imagination.

The Mysterious Tree – A Kapre Story

In the cozy apartment where Sarah used to live, her room was nestled on the left side of the house. From her bedroom window, she could see a big, old tree that stood proudly outside. Sarah loved that tree for its green leaves that smelled so fresh and the sweet songs of the birds that greeted her every morning.

One fateful night, everything changed for Sarah. As she was getting ready for bed, a strange feeling crept over her. It was a nagging thought that she should close her window that night. Normally, Sarah loved having the window open to let in the cool night air, but tonight, she decided to obey the feeling and closed it before climbing into bed.

Just as Sarah was beginning to drift off to sleep, she heard a sound. It was a peculiar noise, like someone clearing their throat, and it had an eerie quality to it. Sarah’s heart skipped a beat as she wondered what could be making that noise.

The sound rattled Sarah’s nerves, and she strained to listen for it again. And sure enough, there it was. A deep hum, like that of an old, big person. It was a voice that seemed too deep to belong to any ordinary creature.

Sarah was all alone in her room, and she couldn’t help but feel a wave of fear wash over her.She tried to convince herself it was nothing, just a figment of her imagination. But then, the third time it happened, the sound couldn’t be ignored. Her bed was positioned right in the middle of the window, offering her a clear view of the big tree and the moon.

Her curiosity grew too great, and decided to peak outside, instantly regretting. She stood frozen, as she a large figure sitting in the tree, with smoke bellowing above the canopy. She ran to her bed and pulled her blanket over her head and stayed frozen like that until she finally drifted to sleep.

The next morning, Sarah share her experience with her sister and friends, who lived as close neighbors. To her surprise, they all pointed to the “Kapre” who supposedly lived in the big tree.

Kapre is a tree giant smoke fills the canopy

Her friend even recalled smelling the scent of tobacco smoke coming from the tree while doing laundry at the back of her home. She said she was so spooked she ran inside the house immediately.

After that incident, Sarah made sure to keep her windows closed before it got dark outside and she had no urge to look outside her windows at night.

A few months later, the big old tree was cut down, leaving Sarah relieved yet wondering if there really was a Kapre living inside it.

Kapre is a tree giant that is smoking a cigar sitting in the canopy of a tree.

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