The Duwende Stole My Pants!

Duwende are little creatures who can provide good fortune or bad fate to humans, and they reside in the Philippines. According to Wikipedia, duwendes frequently live in houses, in trees, underground, termite like mounds or hills, and in rural areas.  They also live near wells as my wife's younger sister has had some unpleasant encounters with the creatures in the past. The little goblins are also usually invisible, at least in rural Guimaras.  (However, one day while shopping at a garden center in Lowes back at the States some years ago, my wife saw a white-bearded lawn gnome statue adorned with a red cap and said that it looked exactly like a duwende. ) Miniature Lawn Gnomes

The diminutive creatures  are known to be either good or mischievous, depending on how homeowners treat them (ours are trouble makers, guess they don't like grumpy kanos.)   Filipinos would (and still do)  leave food on the floor, so that the duwende residing (or guarding) the house would not be angry with them. They also take your things,and laugh at you when you try to find it. They give it back when they feel like it, or when you tell them to please give it back. A frickin' duwende stole my pants this morning, and that's what this story is about.

Getting ready to go to the SM Business Service Center in Iloilo City the other morning  to pick up my asawa's NSO certified copies of our marriage certificate and her birth certificate. I only packed two pairs of my favorite Levi's in a balikbayan box my wife and I sent to our new home at "The Compound" from the States.  I wear cargo shorts around the house, but don't like to show off my dazzling white legs when we make the trip to the big city of Iloilo. 

I reached in our wardrobe dresser to get my pants which I had just saw my asawa place there a couple of days ago. No pants to be found. I looked in another part of the wardrobe where my wife has most of her clothes hanging up (I am only allotted a couple of slots) to see if my other pair of Levis could be there. ) Nope, no pants there either, just a bunch of dresses and outfits not fit for a macho guy like me to wear in public. I haven't embraced the ladyboy thing, yet.  My wife was in the room putting on her warpaint.

  • "Have you seen my pants?" I asked.
  • " I just put a pair in there the other day!" was her reply.

  • "I know. I saw you put them away, but I can't find them!" said I.
  • "Well, what happened to them?" I asked as my wife  proceeded to take all of my clothes out of the wardrobe and go through every piece of my clothing trying to find my missing Levis.
  • "The duwende stole your pants!" she said in all seriousness.

Great! It was already nine o'clock, and a frickin' duwende had taken my Levis. I knew better to disagree with my asawa, but I said that maybe my extra pair of pants might be in the laundry basket. She checked. No, no Levis there, either. I suggested she check with her Mom, "The Feared Giant Lizard Killer," who sometimes folds our clothes and brings them to our room (yeah, I know, I have a tough life.)  So my asawa leaves the room, and I have no alternative but to wear a pair of my cargo shorts and show off my absolutely stunning, white, hairy legs in public. As I'm taking my shower, I hear my wife call out to me.

  • "I found a pair of your pants!"
  • "Where?" I inquire as I open the CR door a crack and grab my beloved Levis.
  • "They were in the back nipa hut drying. They're still a little damp." my boss replies. (When it is rainy at "The Compound" in Guimaras  clothes are taken inside to the back nipa hut to dry.)
  • "So the duwende didn't take them?" I ask.
  • "Not this time!" my asawa answers.

So I put on my pants, and arrive in SM City and thankfully, the duwende had not taken the NSO copies of my our marriage certificate and her birth certificate. I guess the guard armed with the shotgun,  that I gave my receipt and ID for the paperwork to,  scared off the mischievous little rascals. Otherwise, I would have had to blame it on the duwende!

19 thoughts on “The Duwende Stole My Pants!

  1. Dave, All kinds of creatures to worry about there. it’s been awhile, but I had to comment about my “encounter” with the duwende. This is an exerpt from my notes from my first trip there.
    The other day, while Tita was napping, I was picking up some glass outside the house just after noon. Tita comes out and sees this and insisted I say “Tabi Tabi poo.” (Filipino for “excuse me”) I kind of laughed, and then she gave me a look that meant she was serious and repeated in a firm voice for me to say “Tabi Tabi poo. “ Since I could tell she was scared about something I complied and said it. She reminded me that the island is full of the dwarves that can cause great harm and they don’t like to be disturbed by my cleaning noise between 12-2 as that is there nap time. I told her that it was ok because there were none in the yard right then. She then put her hands on her hips and very patiently explained to me, like you would a small, dumb child, that, ”just because you cannot see them doesn’t mean they are not there, now get up here on the porch honey.” I couldn’t argue with that logic and she was going to make some lunch, so I dutifully got out of the yard.

    • Great story, Tony B, I can’t see them, either, but I am told that they are all around our “Compound.” My sister-in-law, Marjorie, now working in Kuwait, couldn’t wait to use the CR one day so she unwittingly peed on a duwende outside without saying “Tabi Tabi poo” first. She was sick for days after that, and it was all blamed on the duwende.

    • Good news, jakeb, the duwende DO wear pants made out of leaves according to my Filipina wife. Since I’m about 6′ tall, I think the duwendes didn’t really want my pants, they were just messing with me.

      • So did you find your other pair of pants or did a tall duwende take them? If you are wearing shorts around the house everyday and your legs are still white after a year, you must be spending a lot of time indoors or using a lot of sunscreen.

        • My other pair of pants showed up mysteriously in the laundry later after my asawa had already searched there before, Lance the Canadian. My legs are white because I spend 99% of my time indoors. I need to get out more.

  2. The Duwende as they are called here in the Philippines are a kind of spoiled creatures.
    In Holland we also have this kind of creatures and they are called ‘kabouter’. They supposed to help the people in which houses they live, do their garden and clean the house.
    If in a house nothing is cleaned and the garden is not done, it is a proof that they do not live in that house. The people have to clean their house themselves.

    Some ‘kabouter(s)’ also live in large mushrooms. As far as I know nobody has ever seen one, so I guess they are also invisible.

    • Thanks for your information about the “kabouter,” Jan. I’ve heard that little creatures like to live in large mushrooms which is OK as long as they don’t start smoking certain varieties of them.

      And absolutely, the duwendes are kind of spoiled creatures in the Philippines. I almost think they have a better life than me, and I live like a king in the Philippines!

  3. I grew up in Kansas. No duwende there. Lived for many years in Michigan. No duwende there. Maybe the snow and cold keeps them away. I have been in the Philippines for 9 months now. None here in Tagum City. SO FAR!!!!


    • Gary, I grew up in Illinois and lived there most of my life. I have visited Kansas and Michigan. While I did not see any duwende, I have seen some fairies in Illinois, Kansas, and Michigan.

      One of these days when you accidentally step on a duwende, you will meet one, trust me.

  4. Hello Dave,

    I haven’t encountered the duwende yet but I got big problems with a Nuno Sa Punso (relative of the duwende that live in an anthill style home outside. We were in Tagbubunga Leyte enjoying time with friends and family. Of course, we had some Redhorse. Well, I was filling the urge from the Redhorse and decided to use the great outdoors instead of the CR. I walked out into the wooded area but didn’t see the Nuno Sa Punso home. I must have flooded it. Later that day, I noticed a bite and rash on the leg. I used ointment from home on it. Two days later, I was bringing my family to the USA for the first time. The leg looked worst (the oinment wasn’t working). One week later at an important time to getting my family adjusted to a new life in the USA, I was hospitalized with the infection. I was on strong antibiotics for 6 days in the hospital. The leg is better now but I still have a rash from the encounter. Luckily, I did some research on the Albularyo website and told my beautiful asawa about what I thought happen. Jho’s nanay agreed with her and visited a Doctor Wok Wok for me. I hope that is enough until I can visit Dr Wok Wok in person.

  5. That is it! CR only for me. They don’t live in the CR do they????

    Dave – They have a coven of witches close to where I grew up in Kansas. Not to be fooled with. They loved to use very sharp knifes to cut off “you know what.” Not even the police would mess with them. No flying on brooms or anything like that. Just plain crazy and they need lots of blood and body parts for their rites.


    • Gary, being from the Midwest myself, I had heard such stories of witch covens but never heard of any as vicious as your Kansas coven. I briefly dated a girl once who had just left a coven. I took her to her high school prom, and we soon broke up after that. Thankfully, she did not carry a knife.

      • Dave & Gary,

        You just have to watchout for the snake in the CR.

        I will have to tell you about the close call with a mumu sometime.

        PS … I plead “guilty” also to the Redhorse charge.

  6. WHAT? John, you have been married to a Filipina for 30 years, and she has not warned you about the duwende? John, John, John. Of course you should wait until the soap opera’s are over but please ask your asawa why she has not informed you about this vital piece of information. My gosh, you could have been stepping on duwendes outside and not even have known it!

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