The Duendes in the Fields

Nationality: American
Primary Language: English
Other Languages: Spanish
Age: 19
Occupation: Full-Time Student
Residence: Cale and Irani 
Performance Date: 11/26/2023

Context: This story occurred to JE when they were about eight years old and visiting relatives in the Philippines near Boracay. This story does come to their mind a lot as they still frequently visit the Philippines, and they make sure to never stray away from groups of people.

One time when JE went to the Philippines. he was visiting his grandpa and grandma in Boracay. His grandma would always tell him stories about the duendes, which are little ghost people that live in the ground, but he personally did not believe it at the time because he thought they were like moles. They told him that he should never be alone and watch his belongings as they were known for taking belongings and taking away little children who wander off by themselves.

He was greeting his relatives as usual and checking out the farm and livestock as he thought that it was very interesting that they were farmers. They were having dinner in his relatives’ backyard with a lot of Filipino dishes, music playing, and a lot of talking. He then heard a noise coming from a darker area of the house near the actual farmland and decided to check it out, just out of curiosity.

The further he got away from the dinner, the louder the noises got. He knew he was pretty far from the dinner in the dark and suddenly heard the noise coming from multiple directions which scared him. He ran away because he was really scared and ended up telling his parents and grandma about it, to which they confirmed that he encountered duendes.

From that point on, he has developed a fear of dark areas, being taken away, and making sure to stay with his parents. Throughout the rest of the trip, he kept a tight watch on his belongings and surroundings as he held a firm belief that the duendes would still try to take him away.

I personally grew up hearing about duendes, but although I have never been to the Philippines, after hearing many stories about them, they did seem very believable to me. As a kid, my parents always told me to behave and not wander off because of duendes, which did scare me as a kid, but now I don’t really believe in them.