Wednesday, October 10, 2007


He's chubby with a jovial demeanor and stands no more than three feet tall. He favors wearing a beige barong tagalog, brown dress slacks and a pair of black leather shoes. His name is Mang Mario. He is not of this world as most of us know it; he is known in local folklore as a dwende, or as some culture would define it, a member of the middle earth people.

For those who may get offended by this kind of discussion due to their religious or conventional school of thought, I suggest not reading beyond this point and just move on to browse my other previously posted entries, or visit another site altogether. On the other hand, for those curious enough and willing to keep an open mind, read on.

Mang Mario and the numerous members of his clan used to live within the grounds where our ancestral home in Subic stands to this day. However, through the years, since other modest dwellings were built in the various parts of the property for some nieces and nephews, Mang Mario and his clan had eventually moved on to another location, but would, from time to time, visit my sister Inday wherever she may be.

Mang Mario first took notice of Inday when she was in fourth grade while spending a weekend in Subic. Though somewhat aloof, her inner sense of kindness was what attracted Mang Mario the most to act as Inday's protector. However, it wasn't until Inday had reached adulthood when she began to sense Mang Mario's presence. And as fate would have it, Inday met a faith healer, Ate Aning, who become the medium between her and Mang Mario. In essence, through Ate Aning, while in trance, Inday was able to communicate with Mang Mario.

I was practicing a particular golf swing with my brother Napoleon in San Diego one spring afternoon back in 2001 when he suggested that I should ask about Inday's protector, Mang Mario, once I arrived in Manila that following August (my planned very first visit back home after having lived in New York for many years). His suggestion came about right after he had told me about his golf buddy who was practicing certain golf swings on the very same spot of the golf course that Napoleon and I were on.

For his golf buddy, the incident took place one evening about twilight time -- a couple of balls he hit that landed behind the nearby bushes were hurled back at him by some invisible force. Startled, the guy just grabbed his gear and ran right out of the place in a jiffy.

Essentially, Napoleon claimed that some unexplainable phenomenon do occur in certain parts of San Diego. He suspects that perhaps, it was because most of San Diego was practically nothing more than forests before it got fully developed during the '80s and '90s.

Anyway, I did ask Inday about Mang Mario as soon as the opportunity presented itself when I finally arrived in Manila. She said it was all true although she hasn't actually seen Mang Mario physically. Nonetheless, one time, she made an offering of some bread and soda pop under a tree one evening. She put those items on a table with a lit candle. This was to demonstrate her appreciation for having Mang Mario as a protector for her and kids through the years. At around 10 pm that night, it became quite windy and then suddenly, a sparkling glow of light emanated from the tree. The swirling colorful lights made the tree look like a giant animated Christmas tree. It lasted for a couple of minutes.

There were many others who witnessed the light show along with Inday -- her three children, my three aunts, the household help, and various cousins and their children. All those I have asked confirmed that they had in fact seen that magical display of lights with their own eyes.

Inday only asked that Mang Mario protect her and her three children from evil spirits, nothing more. However, it was only recently when Inday finally accepted the gift that Mang Mario had wanted to give her all along -- the power to help others through faith healing.

* * *

For those of you too shy to post your thoughts on this matter in the comment box, email me at


posted by Señor Enrique at 9:40 AM


Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

See, I told you my kid and Inday had some things in common. Gaby also has a "friend". His name is Kenny and he sleeps in our room. On our bed!! Haven't asked her lately if he's been hanging around but she used to mention him a lot in the past. One of my "hilots" also felt a presence in my house recently. Feeling ko Tatay ko yun but who knows...

October 10, 2007 10:25 AM  

Blogger pusa said...

wow and i thought i was the only "weird" kid who had "dwende" as friends!

i cant recall much of this but my mother always tell this story to anyone who would listen that when i was a kid, i would play at the back of our house and seem to converse with playmates, which i would tell my mother that i have small friends... which scared them and sent me to albularyo, which confirmed their suspicion of a dwende playmate! after whatever the albularyo did, the playmates stop visiting, and my mother firmly believes that "my friends" are the one who kept on rearranging her potted plants (she said that after i got healed the pots stayed in their places but get broken becoz the cats use the path... which made my mom assumed that maybe my dwende friends are good ones and was helping her so that the pots wont get broken)

but do remember that i always know when the dwendes are arriving to play with me, there is a change in the wind and i dont know how to explain the thickness of the air and somehow you see the tiny dust grow bigger floating around.

isnt that weird?

October 10, 2007 10:56 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand that this is Inday's pet endeavor, as you have hinted in your previous entry.

If ever I had an encounter with the like of Mang Mario, I think I won't be afraid because they seem to be kind, lovable, friendly and very spiritual.

I actually wished, when I was a child, to be able to see or connect with one. Sometimes I would go to the 'punso' during twilight to try my luck. But my mom would frantically call on me to get inside the house.

October 10, 2007 11:21 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Faith healing; that's very interesting. How does it work? And have you seen your sister faith healed anyone?


There are certain beliefs that we ought to believe even though people may think it's totally superstitious. Nothing is impossible in this world anyway.

October 10, 2007 12:12 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Scrooch! Are you back from your New York holiday?

That is indeed fascinating with Gaby. She may be someone they refer to as "with a third eye open."

That is what Inday has been learning much of late - "hilot."

October 10, 2007 3:50 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Such communication/relationship may be more common than we realized it, Pusa. And you may be more receptive, or shall we say perceptive to such matters. I would sharpen such gifted skill if I were you :)

October 10, 2007 3:53 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I never wished for any of those "friends" when I was a kid, Rhoda, because I was afraid of them. However, as I got older, I tend to get more and more interested in such matters. But as you said, they are mostly kind and very spiritual. Hopefully, I will get to see one sometime in the near future.

October 10, 2007 3:56 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You do have an admirable way of thinking about the world, Kyels -- a sure sign of intelligence.

My sister does it with "hilot" or healing massage.

October 10, 2007 3:58 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting post Eric. I like reading about accounts of dwendes and other stuff like that. I also have a neighbor who lives in a compound which they share with dwendes. Your sister Inday is quite fortunate to have such a protector.

October 10, 2007 4:33 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

My "Western trained brain" has difficulties to accept the existence of dwendes and other ghostly figures but my (Filipina) wife believes in them. White ladies, angels, dwendes, tiyanaks, multo etc.

If you REALY REALY believe in them they will start to exist in your mind. Difficult to explain events will be put in connection with those other worldly creatures. A door that suddenly opens, an escape from an accident, a noise in the night, etc.
I am sure that those people are honest. They are probably in connection with those imaginary creatures. The brain/mind is very powerful.

October 10, 2007 9:58 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in a household that believes in the supernatural. My grandfather was part of a group of spiritistas that 'help' people and the unseen. I've seen them negotiate with elementals, and yes, they banished those that weren't cooperative. One of my grandmothers knew how to do hilot. I'd rather have her massage my back than deal with medicines, if you ask me.

I think it is great that your sister can heal people. It is a very special gift that isn't always appreciated in today's modern and scientific time. :)

October 11, 2007 3:06 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Toe!

Glad to know you enjoy reading about dwendes and all. I've recently become even more fascinated with this subject, especially the local editions :)

October 11, 2007 9:04 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

The western world as I know it, Sidney, specifically Great Britain and the Americas have been very much into it.

In fact, other worldly creatures continually inspire their literature; most recent of which are The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Carlos Castaneda writings, and etc; not to mention Hollywood blockbusters as well -- The Exorcist, The Sixth Sense, and ad infinitum.

Let's not forget the medicine men of Native American Indians before most of them got annihilated by the white people.

Yes, the brain/mind is very powerful :)

October 11, 2007 9:14 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks for sharing about your family's belief in this subject, Iris.

In the many years I've lived in New York City, I've been fortunate enough to have participated in a couple of impressive high tech projects. Yet, despite those incredible technological breakthroughs, afterwards, I felt a great desire to delve into what some would say as more earth-based olden culture.

This is probably what Naisbitt once argued as human nature's way of balancing things out for self-preservation; hence his "high tech/high touch" theory.

October 11, 2007 9:22 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could relate to this very well since I've heard lots of stories like that when I was young. They must be true and believe that my belief in them does not anyway run counter to my belief in the Almighty, for this world is just not a one-sided existence, but is more varied than ever thought.

October 11, 2007 10:23 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I completely agree with you, Major Tom.

My growing fascination in such matters does not in any way or form diminish my faith and belief in God. Actually, it heightens it.

October 11, 2007 11:02 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the longing to migrate to the US when i was a kid was caused by the spirits and the dwendes that spooked us at our home in davao. it didn't help that our house was HUGE. i think spirits prefer big houses. i once witnessed the piano in the living room playing by itself. my cynical husband insists that it must have been a piano player (which it was NOT).

i agree with your theory about spirits roaming in forests. i would always get spooked when we would visit our farm which was surrounded by forests. i would hear accounts from my aunts of sparkling lights and dwendes partying.

October 11, 2007 9:24 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

To this day the wife will not miss retelling this little story about our identical twins when they were still toddlers.

One of the twins related to her that he witnessed a little man playing with his twin's face who was still asleep beside him in the big crib that they still both shared. And it would appear that this was no isolated incident.

Now, dwendes are very integral to common lore, but I still am trying to understand this based on the affinity and interconnectivity of identical twins.

To this day, their minds at times still run along similar paths though they already live their own separate lives with their families. Similarity in manner of dressing, likes and dislikes, etc.

October 11, 2007 10:56 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Intriguing thought, indeed, Amadeo -- that perhaps, that affinity and interconnectivity you see in your twins could in some way be the same sort of "link" that some of us may have with the spirit world, and able to tap into it.

October 12, 2007 6:48 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hello Anonymous!

Besides the hugeness, the silence that comes with big houses with minimal residents seem to be the attributes favored by the spirits when house-hunting :)

My brother Napoleon admitted that when playing golf anywhere -- be it in the States or here in the Philippines -- before taking a swing or retrieving a ball behind the bushes or trees, he'd first ask for permission silently as a demonstration of respect for those who may be residing in those areas. I think it's referred to locally as "tabi-tabi."

Honestly, I do the same thing, especially when I have to relieve myself hastily in some bushes near the highway during out of town trips to the provinces. Just want to make sure ... hehehe.

October 12, 2007 6:56 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

hello, senor enrique!

This is my first time to post a comment in your blog :-). My husband is a German national and we live near a rainforest up a mountain. He got into mysterious aches and pains now and then until I told him to say "tabi" everytime he works in the garden. He did and a lot of these mysterious maladies vanished. I have a lot more to say about the mysterious but I think this brief comment is enough. I also think your kundalini has acted up reading from a previous post...and that you became quite creative after. Thanks! I like reading your blog!

October 12, 2007 4:00 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You've just made me learn a new term, Nutart -- "kundalini."

Yes, it's a very good idea, to say "tabi," even at home, especially begining around twilight time.

Many thanks for visiting!

October 12, 2007 4:41 PM  

Blogger -= dave =- said...

Ah, Mang Mario is Inday's spiritual guide, the so-called guardian angel. Tony Perez, the spirit questor, says that we all have one or more guides. They may be spirits of dead relatives, supernatural beings like the dwende, or even aliens. Interesting occurrence by the tree. Mang Mario must have fireflies at his call.

Advanced happy Halloween, Señor E!

October 14, 2007 4:07 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

According to the witnesses I spoke to, Dave, the lights were unbelievably fantastic -- beyond a throve of firelflies.

But I tend to agree with Tony Perez' theory. Hmmm... any books by him? Lemme google him :)

Thanks, Dave!

October 14, 2007 5:08 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Senor E, While I don't believe in dwende, I am spooked! You said your ancenstral home is Subic... whoa and my name is Mario, not the dwende kind. Maybe there's a connection there... have a lot of friends in SD as well mostly retired US Navy. Love the story (is it fiction?, I can't tell, silly me).

October 17, 2007 9:03 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Mario!

It is a true story ... hehehe. My brother is a retired U.S. sailor. What a coincidence, huh?

October 17, 2007 11:20 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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