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Friday, 10 June 2011

CFZ REPOST: DALE DRINNON: Packda, Kapre, Muwas, Waray-waray and Omomongo: Probable Relic Orangutans of the Present-day Philippines

Thursday, February 03, 2011
DALE DRINNON: Packda, Kapre, Muwas, Waray-waray and Omomongo: Probable Relic Orangutans of the Present-day Philippines

Several of the internet resources speak of an asortment of legendary creatures reported from the many islands of the Philippines and said to resemble Bigfoot or Yetis. One of the sources is a juvenile book from 1917 that mentions the name "Packda (=Ape)" but it only mentions that the boy-hero came across the skeleton of one and at first thought it was a human skeleton. From this we can surmise that it is about human-sized and with a superficially human-like anatomy. The other mention I have of "Packda" is from Eberhart, Mysterious Creatures, which says that the apelike creature is reported from Palawan island, which lies between the Indonesian island of Borneo and Luzon of the Philippines.

I was able to find quite a bit on other apelike creatures reported in the Philippines but unfortunately on share-unfriendly sites such as Cryptomundo and Bigfoot Encounters. There were supposed to be attacks on villagers on Negros island from something called an Amomongo (loosely translatable as "Gorilla" according to Cryptomundo) and reports of a creature called a "Muwas" which is linguistically related to Mawas of the Malay peninsula and Mias, the common Indonesian name for orangutan. Only some of these reports hae become embellished such that the creatures have no proper feet or have "Bottlefeet", batlike wings, or are cyclopses. The Bottlefoot-cyclops reports are easily enough explained by reference to Mapinguaris (as per my earlier blog posting) and presumably the batwinged creatures are reports of a separate Giant-bat cryptid like the "Monkey-faced" Ahool of Java.


The Amomongo is a creature of Philippine mythology described as hairy, man-sized and ape-like with long nails.[1] The term may have its roots in the Hiligaynon word amó, which means "ape" or "monkey". Residents of La Castellana in Negros Occidental refer to the creature as a "wild monkey" that lives in caves near the foot of Mt. Kanlaon. The creature is said to have attacked two residents of the settlement and disemboweled goats and chickens in the area, for the purpose of eating the entrails.[2]

1.^ Bayoran, Gilbert (2008-06-13). "Creature terrorizing residents of farms". Visayan Daily Star. Retrieved 2008-06-20. [dead link]
2.^ Delilan, Erwin Ambo (2008-06-16). "Residents on alert vs 'wild monkey'". Sun.Star Bacolod. Retrieved 2008-06-20.

[Ape attempts to abduct girl, drawing for a movie planned in the Philippines during the 1940s, never made. From The Gorilla Men internet site on gorillas in the movies]

Amomongo Terrorizes Philippines

The amomongo (loosely, gorilla) is a creature of Philippine cryptozoology described as hairy, man-sized and ape-like with long nails.

Terror is gripping residents of haciendas in Brgy. Sag-ang, La Castellana, Negros Occidental, Philippines, following the reported existence of a man-sized creature, who recently attacked two residents and disemboweled animals in the area.

Elias Galvez and Salvador Aguilar reported to Mayor Alberto Nicor and the police that they were separately attacked by a "hairy creature with long nails," on the nights of June 9 and 10, 2008, in Cabungbungan, Brgy. Sag-ang, La Castellana, Philippines.

Aguilar who was able to escape from the creature, was treated at the La Castellana Emergency Clinic for scratches on different parts of his body, police said.

Galvez, on the other hand, who was also attacked by the creature, was rescued by his companions, Nicor told the Daily Star on June 12th.

Brgy. Sag-ang residents described the creature to be about 5 feet and 4 inches tall, and looks like a monkey.

Sag-ang Brgy. Capt. Rudy Torres has confirmed reports of the existence of such creature, called amomongo (gorilla) by residents.

The creature has also allegedly victimized chickens and a goat, who ate their intestines, in May 2008.

Torres said the creature usually strikes where there are no barangay tanods (village guards or paramilitary elements) around.

He called on barangay residents to be vigilant, especially during night time.

People have not been roaming around the barangay at night since the attack against Galvez and Aguilar, Nicor said.

Barangay residents should put out a bait to capture the creature, Nicor suggested.

Brgy. Sag-ang in La Castellana is located at the foot of Mt. Kanlaon , which has many caves.

The creature could be hiding in one of the caves, Nicor said.

The La Castellana police advised Barangay Sag-ang residents to immediately report to them if the creature is sighted.


Police and residents of La Castellana town are on alert against a wild monkey locally known as amomongo reportedly attacking residents and other animals since last week.

Inspector Teddy Velez, the town's police chief, said a lot of residents from Barangay Sag-ang have reported of being attacked by amomongo since Tuesday, June 10.

Salvador Aguilar, a resident, told police he was attacked by the wild monkey. He showed authorities the scratches on his face, back and hands. He said several of his neighbors also saw the monkey attacking domesticated animals.

Mayor Alberto Nicor said amomongo is not a witch or aswang but a wild animal. He theorized it is not remote for an amomongo to live in Sag-ang, considering that the area is at the foot of Mt. Kanlaon.

He added the animal may have been suffering from hunger. "This is one possibility because there may be no food now in the mountain. Or it might be that amomongo habitat has been disturbed by humans, thus, it runs wild."

Velez said he already alerted his policemen as well as the village watchmen and instructed them on what to do in case the animal appears again or attacks residents.

Nicor also alerted residents in nearby barangays even as he advised Sag-ang residents to be calm but to also be prepared with arrows or anything that could be used in fighting the amomongo.


Creature terrorizing residents of farms, by Gilbert Bayoran, Daily Star, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines, June 13, 2008

[Orangutan Compared to Kapre 1][Orangutan photos are from common internet outlets for such photos: Kapre paintings are created by the artists at DeviantArt]

--However, the most common mention of any creature out of Philippines mythology in the "Apeman" category is ordinarily under the heading of "Kapre". Sightings of the Kapre are fairly common and still continuing, with similar reports all over the middle area of the Philippines, including the area of Luzon around Manilla and the Northern parts of Mindinao. There are several other synonymous names and some slight variations in some more localized areas.


Kapre (related to the Agta in the Visayan dialect) is a Philippine mythical creature that could be characterized as a tree demon, but with more human characteristics. It is described as being a tall (7 to 9 ft), brown, hairy male with a beard.

[Since Kapres are usually stated to be sitting up in trees, the height is estimated by the head+trunk length or sitting height. The sitting height of a Kapre is equivalent to the sitting height of a human 7 to 9 feet tall. That could be equivalent to a large orangutan or a gorilla in size because apes actually have short legs.-DD]

[Orangutan Compared to Kapre2- Mamma Kapre Giant]

Kapres are normally described as smoking a big tobacco pipe, whose strong smell would attract human attention. The term kapre comes from the Arabic "kaffir" meaning a non-believer in Islam. The early Arabs and the Moors used it to refer to the non-Muslim Dravidians who were dark-skinned. The term was later brought to the Philippines by the Spanish who had previous contact with the Moors. Some historians speculate that the legend was propagated by the Spanish to prevent Filipinos from assisting any escaped African slaves.

[The name 'Agta' otherwise refers to the pygmy Negritos of the Philippines and probably is used in place of the other "Black" references. Similarly, the name 'Waray-waray' refers to a local ethnic group and presumably is another misapplication of a tribal name to an apelike creature -DD]

[Dark Orangutan]

Natural habitat and attire

Kapres are said to dwell in big trees like acacias, mangoes, bamboo and banyan (known in the Philippines as balete). It is also mostly seen sitting in the tops of those trees. The Kapre is said to wear the indigenous Northern Philippine loincloth known as bahag, and according to some, often wears a belt which gives the kapre the ability to be invisible to humans. In some versions, the kapre is supposed to hold a magical white stone, a little smaller in size than a quail egg. Should any person happen to obtain this stone, the kapre could grant wishes.

[This "Magic Stone is a regular feature of Filipino Folklore and not restricted to stories of the Kapre. Some locally-published comic books use the magic stone as a device whereby the hero or heroine gains superpowers-DD]


Kapres are not necessarily considered to be evil, unlike the manananggal. Kapres may make contact with people to offer friendship, or if it is attracted to a woman. If a Kapre befriends any human, especially because of love, the Kapre will consistently follow its "love interest" throughout life. Also, if one is a friend of the Kapre then that person has the ability to see it and if they were to sit on it then any other person could see it.

[Which is to say males interested in human females are bolder and less prone to conceal themselves-so the story goes-DD]

Kapres are also said to play pranks on people, frequently making travelers become disoriented and lose their way in the mountains or in the woods. They are also believe to have the ability to confuse people even in their own familiar surroundings; for instance, someone who forgets that they are in their own garden or home is said to have been tricked by a Kapre. Reports of experiencing Kapre enchantment include that of witnessing rustling tree branches, even if the wind is not strong. Some more examples would be hearing loud laughter coming from an unseen being, witnessing lots of smoke from the top of a tree, seeing big fiery eyes during night time from a tree, as well as actually seeing a Kapre walking in forested areas. It is also believed that abundant fireflies in woody areas are the embers from the Kapre's lit tobacco pipe.

[Orangutan Compared to Kapre 3]

--Although Orangutans could very well be chewing on a bunch of leaves which could resemble a cigar, it is generally held by posters on the Bigfoot sites that the references to the Kapre's nasty-smelling cigar is simply a way of saying it makes a bad smell. And if it eats some kinds of tree bark or other aromatic vegetable matter, its excrements could smell rather like a bad cigar. Some North American Bigfoot reports say the creature smells "like burning garbage", not so very different. And the fact that it lives up in trees would be the reason why it is hard to see, or why it makes branches rustle when there is no wind. That it has a wild raucous laugh is a familiarly apelike trait. Actually the "Loincloth" seems to only mean that it has long hairs hanging down the crotch-as well as having a prominent beard and long head-hair-or long hair all over, in fact. It is also notable that it Kapres are often seen in food trees such as mangoes and bananas and in bamboo thickets.

[Range of Tarsier species in Indonesia and Philippines]

Officially, the only nonhuman primate native to the Philippines are a couple of species of protosimian Tarsiers. However the range of tarsirs inside and outside of the Philippines is suggestive and the fact that some of the "Ape" reports on the islands between Borneo and the Philippines does suggest that orangutans may have crossed over a former landbridge. And I would suggest that the Kapre and the other "Monkey-men" are more like the Borneo orangutans (and Beruang Rambi) while the Mawas and Tua Yeua,etc, of Southeast Asia are more like the Sumatran orangutans. I shall have to expand on that idea in a future blog. And while I have just mentioned the name, Eberhart is wrong when he says "Beruang Rambai" is a usual name for the Malaysian sun-bear. It is on the contrary a common name for the orangutan, and so recorded by Russell Wallace. Which basically makes it a non-Cryptid, only a large orangutan but of the known species native to Borneo.

1 comment:

  1. When Jon Downes made an announcement for my new postings yesterday, he mentioned that "Dale has his Century!", meaning I had just made 100 posts on this blog. At the time he was correct but this was the 100th blog entry. This one had to be taken down and worked on again because all of the reposted images had come out much too small in the reposting. You will see that this entry is actually markd as being posted on Friday.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.


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