Do you believe in duwendes? Have you ever seen one?
Lately, I had a recent brush with the paranormal when I invited a friend to visit my home and have a look at our cats. I was surprised to know that she had a "third-eye", meaning she has the ability to see the metaphysical which is otherwise mythological for some. Well, I've always had an obsessive fascination with the mythic, the mystic, the legendary and the folkloric, having had my own set of experiences: from personal to gathered anecdotes, from demonic possessions to exorcisms, from sightings to spirit quests; so it wouldn't come as a surprise when people would start claiming they see duwendes in our house.
My folks told me that when I was a kid, I used to play in the yard on my own, run in the open fields. One time when I was stricken with an unexplainable fever, an albularyo was promptly called and I was diagnosed "tawas" style to have been in association with the duwendes in our yard. I've always wondered whether duwendes was used as an etiological explanation by our forebears for children who apparently had autism or "a world of their own." Oftentimes, when my mom would drop objects on the kitchen floor, try to look for it and not find it anywhere, my Lola Isang would exclaim "Hay, tinago na 'yan ng mga duwende… (The duwendes already took and hid it…)!"
Interestingly, quite recently, my friend saw one of the duwendes living in our house and she described it in such detail, I was simply in awe. She mentioned that although she only saw one of the duwendes, there were many of them – a whole community, a kingdom for that matter! They were of the maharlika type, donning gold and white garments, of the medieval fashion. Interesting, I remember the old folks here in Cainta, Rizal mention that in the fields were our house was built (our house was one of the first in Ortigas Avenue Extension, which was an expanse of open fields then 30 years ago), there would be sightings of regiments of duwendes armed with pointy spears and swords even riding on horses which were interestingly in proportion to their minute size. And they were indeed small, only around 4 to 6 inches tall. I've heard that having such duwendes in the house would bring great luck and blessings to those living in the household. She says I have this special affiliation with this duwende who looked really fat ("bursting from his clothes") but regal. He has a name, but I won't tell here. He enjoys the same food as I do, and really enjoys it when I bring home delicious delicacies. Amusingly, she mentioned that when I find myself having a hard time putting down my midnight snacks, it is actually the duwendes tugging at me to eat more so they could have a feast (but I thought to myself, matakaw lang talaga ako, hehe). All this was verified when a respectable priest visited our house to confirm these sightings.
It is interesting to note, that the duwende has its counterparts in other cultures: it has the equivalent in the western gnomes, elves and sprites. I suspect that the anito of our ancient ancestors may have somehow been acknowledged as the duwende when the Spanish arrived on our shores. It still found its way into the popular mindset of Filipinos (Folk Catholicism), even among progressive modern urban dwellers. Though, I find the thought of having duwendes at home to be very intriguing, I can't help but take it with a grain of salt. At the back of my head, something tells me that all this may just be a meticulous product of an overactive imagination, but I still admit that there are some things that just cannot be explained and you simply have to believe with faith. I'm sure every one of us has our own set of stories of unseen housemates and there's this dreaded but at the same time uplifting sense of awe and wonder in it, that just prompts us to believe in their existence. But really, how I wish I could see them again the same way I did when I was a kid. But as my friend says, one can only see them with a pure heart. Oh well… nothing wrong in still hoping.