The Filipino Duwende

“In Filipino culture there are creatures called Filipino Duwende.  They are supposed to be smaller people; however they are not midgets, but rather normal-looking humans that are just miniature in size.  I’d say they can be compared to elves or leprechauns.  When I last went to the Philippines in 1987 when I was 12 years old, I thought I saw one.  I was pretty sure I saw one. My cousins got mad at me and told me to stop looking outside the window because if I actually did see one it was a bad sign.  Later on, I learned that there are good Duwende and bad Duwende and you have to be careful about which ones you interact with.  Normally the good Duwende help you with finances, but the bad Duwende will want to hurt you.” – Anonymous

Anonymous shared their own cultural folk group legend, the Duwende, and their experience seeing this legend in the Philippines firsthand.  As they were warned to not see and interact with this creature, it culminated a confusing yet exciting experience for a 12-year-old child.

As there are many forms of various folklore traditions, legends can also adhere to those laws.  Knowing that there are similarities between creatures such as the Duwenede and the American belief in elves honing a small appearance and either helpful or disastrous intentions is intriguing.  It reiterates the significance of sharing folklore so that all perspectives can be acknowledged.  

Additionally, it is interesting to delve into the origins of these folkloric creatures and how they came about to be discovered and seen by many individuals, so much so to create an entire belief in their existence.  If there are so many stories about them, then they must be real. 

I also considered that the existence of the Duwende could be something made up that parents have told their children to keep their behavior in check.  As another fellow Filipinx, I have never seen a Duwende, but I have observed the value in Filipino culture in which their children are brought up to high standards.  The Duwende, a form of Mumu (equivalent to monster in Filipino mythology), may be a warning that the energy you give is what you will receive.  So if you misbehave, then the Duwende will harm you, but if you are kind, then the Duwende will serve a helpful purpose to you.  The Duwende then can not only be a mythical creature, but a cautionary form of folklore.