The Duwende are the Philippines equivalent of hobgoblins and dwarves. These are tiny human-like creatures that live underground. There are two main types of Duwende: the duwende puti who are supposedly kind creatures who bring about good luck, or the duwende itim who are mean folk that like to play pranks on humans. They generally keep to themselves and only interact with humans when their homes are disturbed. For example, a kindly farmer who takes care of his plot may be rewarded by the duwende puti with a greater abundance of crops than usual. However, someone who kicks an anthill on or near the home of a duwendi itim will be punished with a myriad of ailments from twisted mouth to swollen testicles. The best way to avoid Duwende of any kind is to say “Tabi-tabi po” aloud before entering what might be their space.
Escolta St. Snatcher's Social Club is a Chicago-based Filipinx artist collective.
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