Updated date:

Legend and Stories of the Philippine Kapre Tree Demon


The ancient tree abode of my grand-aunt's Kapre suitor

A century old Tamarind tree can be found behind the old house of my spinster grand-aunt. Family legend has it that a kapre fell in love with her.On the eve of her wedding her inebriated fiancé tripped on the stairway of our old ancestral home and broke his neck. Another suitor never married and entered the priesthood.The last man who seriously propose to my grand-aunt was found in his bedroom with the upper part of his head blown off. Bits and pieces of brain and bones where found on the wall and ceiling.The police investigation reported that he had "accidentally" shot himself  with a sawed off shotgun.

A Kapre is a Philippine mythical tree demon. It favors big trees like the Balete(banyan), Mango and Acacia tree where you will sometimes find it sitting under it's shades. It is describe as being tall (8 to 10 ft) brown hairy male with a beard and fond of smoking. A strong scent of tobacco is what humans notice when they believe there is a Kapre in their presence because it is invisible unless it wants to be seen.

They are pranksters. Often disorienting travelers and making them lost their way in the thick forests or mountain trails. Even in familiar surroundings a person can forget where he is if a Kapre decides to play a trick on the unsuspecting. Victims also experience loss of memory when they are under the enchantment of the Kapre.

Witnesses have heard loud laughter from unseen beings.Rustling leaves from tree branches even if there was no wind. A pair of fiery red glowing eyes staring at them from tree tops. The smell of tobacco and smoke coming from behind leaf ladden branches.

They are also romantics. If they fall in love with a woman they will consistently follow the "love interest" throughout life,

and no man shall ever come between them......

The Kapre

The three friends were waiting for their first victim.

Having filled their pockets with the seeds of the tamarind they were well stock with ammo.The only road leaving from the town proper going to the rice fields and adjacent barrios had to pass by the Tamarind tree where the boys lay hidden.The leaves and branches of the huge tree extended across the small dirt road like an umbrella and over the low whitewash wall of the town's cemetery. Portions of the wall had crumbled from a recent earthquake. Large gaps in several places provided glimpse of ancient sepulchers that had breaches in their masonry and the newer tombs made of hollow blocks had ugly cracks.

On nights when boredom or the lack of any other activities made them restless, the boys would climb up the tamarind tree with a bottle of gin and some smoke to pass the time in conversation and have fun at the expense of an unwary barrio bumpkin, who overstayed in town and now had to go home at night.

"Hey get ready.."whispered one of the boys.

A solitary teenager was approaching. He would glance once in a while at the muted cemetery and at imaginary phantoms lurking behind tombstones.Dust flew up from his hurried steps.He had been to town to visit his girlfriend and time unknowingly passed quickly. Although this road was well traveled in the day time, he found himself alone with the sounds of night creatures his only companion. His new shirt soak with the perspiration from his back.

Passing beneath the extended tree branches a hail of seeds peppered the back of his nape.

Already in an agitated and fearful state of miserable wretchedness,the hapless turn looking towards the direction where the projectiles came from.

Because the huge tree trunk was overgrown with branches blanketed with leaves he could only make out the smoke and the glowing embers from the boy's cigarettes. A rustling of branches tied with a string of Manila hemp did nothing to improve his confidence. Stories of Kapres inhabiting these dense growth of trees have been told ever since he was a toddler.

The hidden pranksters did all they could to stop from laughing and betraying themselves.

"Did you see that!" "I think he broke the school record for the 100 meters" Gerardo held on to his stomach to stop the pain cause by the scornful mirth.

"It still can't top the performance of that dumb ass Julio" recalls Eddie. "He left a trail of piss, remember?"

"Well, maybe we'll get someone to shit in their pants" "HA Ha ha" The third boy Manding was hysterical as tears flowed freely from his eyes.

A lull fell in the conversation as the three friends quietly waited for their next victim. Only the chirping crickets and the occasional hoarse utterance of a bullfrog disturbed the silence.

"Hey Eddie,pass the bottle"

Taking a swig,Gerardo ask of no one in particular " I wonder what happen to that school supervisor they sent from the city? Some said he saw a real Kapre."

"Oh...so now you believe in fairy tales?" Eddie riposte. "Hello...anyone in there?" as he gave his friend a gentle rap on the head.

"Didn't even know who or where he was." Continued Gerardo. "Remember when they took him back to the city?"

The boys where among a crowd of curious town folks when the man was led out into a waiting ambulance.He had to be restrained as he refuse to leave the safety of the police station where he was in protective custody to avoid hurting himself and others. He was yelling expletives and incoherent statements about a dark man stalking him. Some said that the rumored insanity that ran in the man's family had finally overcome him.

"Didn't he lodge with the Apostols?" He asked.

"Overstayed and fell in love with their daughter Jocelyn" Manding added.

"Yeah,baby......!!" " I get the hots too whenever I see you at school" "MMmmm....Mwahhh..." Eddie was making kissing sounds and thrusting the empty space with his pelvic as he fantasize about their math teacher.

"Ohhhh......I think Eddie's gonna come." hissed Gerardo as the three boys join in laughter.

Soon the conversation drifted aimlessly as the bottle passed from hand to mouth.

The boys were too drunk to notice an indistinct murmuring and furtive movements behind the branches. Deeper into the grove two glowing embers much larger than those from the boys' cigarettes revealed themselves.



An odor of tobacco permeated the air.

"Boys will be boys"

"I wonder what Jocelyn is doing?"

"Hmmm.....I think I'll pay her a visit."


My grand-aunt reach the age of 101 and died peacefully in her sleep. Less than a year later the old house burned down under mysterious circumstance.The new caretaker conveniently  just happen to be visiting relatives in town. Among the overgrown vegetation the old tamarind tree with the fire-scarred side facing the house is still standing. Some people say the place is haunted....On some dusky nights a translucent figure of a lady can sometimes be seen near the old tree.True Love?


Akidwholovefoods on December 10, 2019:

It's true tho. The big tree is just near at my window and i saw a black figure and a smoke coming out from its mouth...i don't wanna die....halp

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on February 16, 2014:

MsVicky _Ok and thank you.:)

Victoria Lising from Manila, Philippines on January 25, 2014:

Hi there! I just came across your site because I was searching for horror stories about mythical creatures like kapre or aswang in the Philippines. I was wondering if I can ask for your permission to post your stories on the FB page of a group project for my school?

We will give you the proper credits and we will also need to post your profile as our contributor. I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on December 25, 2013:

I loved your story about the kapre. It's great that you explain the creature, then create such fascinating tales involving them:)

chelsea on November 10, 2012:

these stories are so interesting,i like them

D. Caballero on March 19, 2012:

SilentReed, My Yaya never told me stories like this but my Grandmother definitely did. I didn't believe her at first but ever since then I couldn't really sleep without a form of light on. I wasn't curious about these kinds of things because I was scared to the bone. That tree in my house is still there, even though it is enclosed within the house with a concrete wall and a gate (as well as pavement made of concrete around the tree). I still wonder why my parents didn't decide to cut that specific tree when expanding the garage.

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on March 18, 2012:

D.Caballero ~ Hello:) There are many things in this world that still cannot be scientifically explain. But I wonder...Did you have a "Yaya"(baby sitter)who enjoy telling scary stories on dark rainy nights when you were young?...I did.:)

D. Caballero on March 18, 2012:

It's true the Kapre stories. My twin and I still remember seeing a huge dark figure with glowing red eyes by the tree in our old house in General Santos City. We were around 9 years old, casually walking near our garage. We went back crying to our mother and she just laughed and said it's just your imagination. My twin and I still talk about that night even though i'm in university in the UK and he is in San Francisco. It is popular belief that the Kapre likes scaring children.

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on December 03, 2011:

god of the sea ~ Thanks for dropping by :)

unknown~ Maybe your father was playing a joke on your mother:)

unknown on November 21, 2011:

if you visit phillippines , just be careful specially near the mountains.

my mother told me that when i was a baby girl , a kapre tried to take me but left me on the carpet floor. I was sleeping between my father and mother, when my mother went to go to the bathroom she found me sleeping on the carpet floor. so believe it or not . its true.

god of the sea on November 19, 2011:

is their pictures of it

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 15, 2011:

Admiral_Joraxx ~ The tobacco smoking Kapre is uniquely Filipino. Sly and flamboyantly romantic,He can be compared to the god of discord and mischief Loki "the trickster" of Norse mythology.

Admiral_Joraxx from Philippines on October 15, 2011:

Kapre is really one of the most known supernatural in the Philippines and now this Kapre is gaining a future in his international scaring career! Great hub SilentReed! Nice idea of sharing this creepy story. 1 vote up and beautiful. =)

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 07, 2011:

MoiraCrochets ~ They are persistent suitors :) Glad that your sister-in-law has regain her sanity.Thank you for your comment.One way of understanding a country's culture is through it's myths and legends.The Philippines abounds with many interesting stories.

Moira Durano-Abesmo from Sagay, Camiguin, Philippines on October 07, 2011:

Great story! My sister-in-law also went nuts before allegedly because a kapre is wooing her. Thank God she's well now.

You're hub is a great way of keeping Philippine mythology alive.

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on July 29, 2011:

fashion ~ Thank you for accidentally "stumbling" upon my hub.I hope it was a pleasant experience :)Have a beautiful day.

fashion on July 24, 2011:

I can't believe I just stumbled across this fascinating hub.You did great job.

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on July 21, 2011:

Miguel 101 ~ Hi...Don't keep me in suspense....;)

Miguel on July 21, 2011:

hi... i have a story to share to...

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on July 01, 2011:

Nikka ~ Reading the story of Maria's encounter with the Kapre gave my nape a tingling sensation.How uncanny the similarity with the plot of this fictional story that I must express my own "OMG!!!" Thank you for sharing....it gave me goosebumps.

Nikka on June 30, 2011:

OMG!!!! My cousin;s babysitter had a story quite similar to that of the kapre being a "romantic". She has this cousin in the province who constantly gets picked on by boys in her school, one day the kapre showed itself to (i'm sorry i forgot her name, lets just name her maria?) Maria. He offered help and maria willingly accepted. So the next day when that boy who usually picks on maria, bullied her again, suddenly levitated and was being punched around like you see in those cartoons, everyone in school had seen it EVEN THE TEACHERS!!! so no one dared to even upset maria, or they'll face the kapre's wrath. So she spent practically her whole life with the kapre as her "best friend" Until one day Maria came of age and the number of suitors started piling up. But the kapre did not like that. Everyone who tried courting maria either ended up badly injured or insane. But what really worried maria was when the kapre itself told her to visit it by the balete tree and when she did it forced her to come with him. Maria told everything to her family, which of course made them want to leave-so they did. BUT maria had forgotten one very important item from the household......her graduation picture (you know the one's where people sign they're grad pics with a dedication to whoever they were gonna give it to) and guess who got it?

The kapre did :)

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on April 17, 2011:

sheila-susnine ~ Thank you for your comment.That must really have been a scary experience for you.I hope it didn't shake your belief in God.Take care.

sheila-susnine on April 13, 2011:

yes..there are certain things which we cannot see.because thyre invisible,..we need to believe..like me i experienced saw a ball of fire jumping from one place to another..pary hard and belive!

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on February 16, 2011:

Genna East ~ Thank you for commenting.The best time to look would be at twilight when the tree branches cast their shadows and day soon turn to night...:)

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on February 15, 2011:

I can't believe I just stumbled across this fascinating hub. I shall never look at the largers trees on our property with the same eyes again. Well done!

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on February 11, 2011:

PaperNotes ~ Thank you for commenting. Yes, there are many mysteries out there waiting to be discovered in this baffling world of ours.

PaperNotes on February 10, 2011:

I believe that kapres exist somehow as well as other elementals. There are things that we cannot see but we have to believe in them.

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on November 15, 2010:

acaetnna ~Thank you for your comment and encouragement. I hope I can continue to write in a way that is both interesting and entertaining to the readers.

acaetnna from Guildford on November 13, 2010:

Definitely spooky, certainly can't sleep on my own tonight, but then fortunately I don't have to! You're a great writer.

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on November 02, 2010:

3 Finger Reader ~ Thank you. BUT will it scare the bejesus out of a teener? .....:)

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on November 02, 2010:

mysterylady 89 ~ Thank you for including me in your links. Happy Halloween !

3 Finger Reader on November 01, 2010:

Great ending!

mysterylady 89 from Florida on October 31, 2010:

I liked your comment when you compared the Kapre to Loki. I put a link to your story on my "Un-Halloween" hub. Happy Halloween!

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 30, 2010:

mysterylady 89 ~ Thank you for your comments. The Kapre is a Philippine folklore like the bogeyman used to scare misbaving children. ;)

mysterylady 89 from Florida on October 30, 2010:

Like so many others, I, too, had never heard of the Kapre. A fascinating story, especially the sidebar tale.

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 26, 2010:

christopheranton ~ Thank you. I understand your hesitancy to compete with a Kapre.But love is blind and when your opponent is invisible even a cat with nine lives doesn't stand a chance ;) Then again, a cat is suppose to have the abilities to see ghostly apparitions......

Christopher Antony Meade from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom on October 26, 2010:

Thanks for the really scary story. The true bits were the most horrific. I wouldn't like to be competing with a Kapre for anyone's love.

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 23, 2010:

Shadesbreath ~ You just gave me an idea to chew on. A spin off story of a bull riding Kapre instead of a tree clinging one would provide more action :) Thanks and I'm glad you enjoyed both stories.

Shadesbreath from California on October 22, 2010:

Dude, kapre's are kickass! NEver heard of them before. And I got to tell you, as much as I liked your story, I REALLY liked the sidebar story about your aunt. THat is hella cool. Especially since I can believe it's true if I choose to. :) I might have to do some research on kapres and maybe work one into a fantasy novel or something. Good stuff.

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 22, 2010:

d.william ~ Thank you for the appreciaton and encouragement.

d.william from Somewhere in the south on October 20, 2010:

Good Halloween story. i enjoyed it too.

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 19, 2010:

MartieCoetser ~ Thank you and you are welcome. Wouldn't it be great if we could elicit the aid of the "Kapre" to protect the forest and trees against illegal logging. Just a whimsical thought. :)

Martie Coetser from South Africa on October 19, 2010:

Oh my word! I’m a lover of trees, and from now on I will see the kapres in them. Scary. Lol! This was a great read. Your promotion of our Halloween stories is truly appreciated by me. You are great!

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 19, 2010:

MiseryHinata ~ Thank you for reminding me about my Boy Scouting years. We did like to tell stories around the campfires although not all were scary. Like all growing up boys we talk a lot about girls. :)

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 19, 2010:

Nellieanna ~ Leave it to the imagination. I couldn't hae done it any better than to leave the reader in the woods with his/her own resourcefulness at vivid imagery to scare themselves. I only hope I didn't terrify you too much. :)

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on October 18, 2010:

Silent Reed - oh, my! You are too, too good at this stuff. Now I'll cringe more than ever before when in the woods! Trees can be scary enough without their occupants rendering then TERRIFYING.

Then, like a woods sprite yourself, you run off leaving us to imagine all the possibilities. Certainly would be JUSTICE for those two ornery boys to be visited by a real Kapre themselves, and especially after they had the nerve to ogle the lovely he'd picked out for himself!

Dangerous territory, for sure - as the various suitors of your spinster grand-aunt didn't live to tell about! WOW. I'm trembling.

MiseryHinata on October 18, 2010:

That's creepy..definetly a story for the Halloween campfire!

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 18, 2010:

prasetio30 ~ Thank you for liking the story. I hope I didn't scare you from coming back to read my other hubs. :)

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on October 17, 2010:

I love your story. Although you make me scary with this. But I really enjoy to read this hub. Thank you very much. ~prasetio

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 17, 2010:

Tom Rubenoff ~ Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Legends and folklore have always been a source of fascination for me too.

Tom rubenoff from United States on October 17, 2010:

This is fascinating. I love stories like this. Thank you

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 17, 2010:

breakfastpop ~ Thank you and I hope it didn't spooked you into forgetting to prepare breakfast. There would be a lot of hungry and disappointed fans. :)

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 17, 2010:

Christopher Price ~ Just don't ask me if they're "Cuban cigars" :)

breakfastpop on October 17, 2010:

Fascinating and very, very scary story.

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 17, 2010:

Freya Cesare ~ We may hate Jason or Freddy but we still flock to their movies. A totally harmless pursuit for a cheap thrill or good scare......I think

Christopher Price from Vermont, USA on October 16, 2010:

A Philippine bigfoot lounging in a tree smoking a spliff...that is an image that I want to dwell on for awhile.

Good story(s).


Freya Cesare from Borneo Island, Indonesia on October 16, 2010:

I hate Freddy and Jason. Mostly Freddy. The legend of him really live up nightmare, literary! But I always thought Loki kind of cool. :D

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 16, 2010:

Freya Cesare ~ Thank you for commenting. Compare to Dracula,Freddy,Jason or the werewolves and mummys. The "Kapre"is much less scarier.He is more of a prankster who I would compare to "Loki" the Norse god of mischief and discord. A natural "Halloweener"

Freya Cesare from Borneo Island, Indonesia on October 16, 2010:

Duh, I will never go near that place where kapre live. Too spooky!

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 16, 2010:

Austinstar ~ The "Kapre" would look more like "Bigfoot" without the tobacco smoking. :) Thanks for the comment.

RedElf from Canada on October 15, 2010:

Ahhhh, thanks but I'll pass on the adoption idea :D:D:D

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 15, 2010:

greengypsywolf1 ~ like my previous comment above. Government neglect and continuous illegal logging will soon see the demise of the rain forest here. A tattoo of a smoking demon..hmmm

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 15, 2010:

RedElf ~ Thanks for being spooked :)and your welcome to the "Kapre". Continuous deforestation here have depleted their natural habitat.Adopt one ?... :)

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 15, 2010:

Hi Nell Rose,thanks and I'm glad I was able to spook you..I mean provided you with a spooky story. Cheers!

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 15, 2010:

Thank you SilverGenes for inviting me to join your Halloween Challenge.I enjoyed the experience and it has given me further encouragement to improve my writing.

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 15, 2010:

Hello saddlerider1, I use to have bad dreams about that Tamarind tree and the allege"Kapre"that resided in it.That was my bogeyman. We all eventually outgrow the tales of horrors told to us when we were children...or do we???

SilentReed (author) from Philippines on October 15, 2010:

Hello CC, the side story is really an integral part of the whole.Now which is fact and which is fiction? :) Your spin on the ygorotte was an enjoyable read and fun too! Let's only hope that Wayne will not be sulking in "A Cabin in the Woods"

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on October 15, 2010:

Great story! Your Kapre sounds like the Texas Chupacabre...

greengypsywolf1 from The darkest corner of my own insanity. on October 15, 2010:

Hmmm, I think I shall indeed stay away from Philippino forest just to be safe.

I really dig picture of the demon lazing on the tree branch with a big smoke. Kinda gives me an idea for my next tattoo ;D

RedElf from Canada on October 15, 2010:

Yes, indeed, please keep the Kapre :D Spoooooky!

Nell Rose from England on October 15, 2010:

Hi, very spooky story, I also had never heard of the kapre before, really enjoyed it, cheers nell

SilverGenes on October 15, 2010:

Wow - I have never heard of the kapre before this. Very creepy story indeed. This was like reading one of the X-Files :)

saddlerider1 on October 15, 2010:

Yes I agree with ralwus it was spooky indeed. One never knows what lurks in the mysterious kapre tree. Maybe it was the smoking cigarettes and an ash flew into your grandmothers house and burnt it down.

Some trees when you look at them have startling images that cause a very scary image in our minds. Thank you for this share, I thoroughly enjoyed it and believe me I will stay far away from the Kapre tree.

ralwus on October 15, 2010:

Spooky stuff my friend and keep the kapre over there. LOL Thast was an interesting side story of your aunt and the kapre. Eerie. CC

Related Articles