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Mister Kapre and I say, “Hello World!”

After struggling for the past couple of years trying to keep Kutitots up to date, I’ve finally accepted the inevitable: I have to let go. The passion for it just isn’t there anymore, you know? Every now and then, I’ll probably post an entry there or two, but I won’t even bother apologizing for the lack of updates.

Of course, I’ll write a pseudo-farewell post on Kutitots for everyone who stuck with me through all these years and invite them here on my new personal blog, Dialogues with my Neighbor, The Kapre.

So, what’s up with the blog name? Well, if you’ve seen my Twitter and Facebook updates (yeah, I know! It’s so weird maintaining a Facebook page dedicated to yourself), you know by now I’ve recently gotten back to fiction writing. Ever since I wrote down the outline for the plot bothering me for who knows how long, story ideas kept coming in my head so fast, my already busy schedule couldn’t keep up. My husband, Marc, told me it was probably because of the “Kapre” — a mythical creature in Philippine mythology described as a giant, hairy man who smokes cigars and wears only a loincloth. According to our neighbor, the Kapre lives on a tree in the garden of the empty house in front of ours.

No, I didn’t marry a crackpot, if you’re wondering. Marc has his quirks, but having hallucinations isn’t one of them. Let me backtrack a bit.

The Kapre story came from the guy next-door, whom Marc chanced upon staring at a tree from his home.

When Marc asked the guy what he was looking at, our neighbor answered, “there’s a Kapre.” He couldn’t even point, afraid he might disrespect the mythical creature known for its volatile temper. Marc nodded, made sure he was inside the house before he told me about his encounter with the weird man. We laughed about it, and it became a running joke between us. We blamed the Kapre when things went missing, like the mysterious disappearance of my chocolate bar. My husband, his teeth specked with the telltale signs of stolen chocolate, vehemently insisted it wasn’t him. It was the Kapre, he said.

A week or two after Marc’s encounter with the neighbor, we came home past midnight from a get-together with friends. Already sleepy, we struggled to keep each other awake on the drive home. When the car headlights lit up our gate and a flower bush on the neighbor’s property, our eyeballs nearly jumped out of their sockets.

A topless man smoking a cigar sat in a squat on the highest mound of next-door’s yard.

HOLY CRAP… IT’S A KAPRE!

It only took us a few seconds to realize what stupid thought it was. Rubbing our eyes off the sleepiness, we saw the smoking man was no Kapre, but the odd neighbor who told Marc about the mythical creature. The man was just weird, preferring to squat among the flowers in the dead of the night wearing nothing but his boxers as he smoked one cigarette after another. Later on, we found out from his sister he smoked on the same spot around the same time every night. No one had any idea why, but apparently, he practiced a similar ritual before moving from their province to his sister’s home in our village.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the supernatural just as much as anyone brought up in the Filipino culture of beliefs and traditional sayings. Maybe there really is a Kapre living across our house. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never seen it. And no, the semi-naked, chain-smoking neighbor doesn’t count either.

With a Kapre possibly living right in front of us, questions started popping in my head.

What if there really is a Kapre living across us and I can speak to him? What will he be like? What will we talk about?

So there. Dialogues with my Neighbor, the Kapre was born. As the title implies, this blog will chronicle my “conversations” with my plausibly-existent neighbor Kapre. Although the blog will serve mostly as my dump site of random thoughts and ideas, I find it much easier to write openly if it seems like I’m actually talking to someone, albeit imaginary. One of the things that pushed me to abandon Kutitots was my inability to write without any concern for everyone’s expectations. Hopefully, Mister Kapre will be more open-minded and we’ll be able to “converse” with less constraints.

Thank you for finding the time to visit my blog. And again, I’d like to welcome you on Dialogues with my Neighbor, the Kapre: A blog by Gail D. Villanueva. I’d love to bring you along for an entertaining ride with Mister Kapre in the years to come. Feel free to join in our dialogues through the Comments section. Mister Kapre and I don’t bite, we’d like to know what you think πŸ™‚

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Disclaimer:

This blog represents my opinions and thoughts at the time, not my work or employer.

I reserve the right to delete any comment on my blog (eg. statements that are abusive, profane, rude, or off topic).

Hi there, stranger!

I'm Gail, a Filipina author based in the Philippines. I run a design studio with my husband in the outskirts of Manila, but I also do freelance copywriting and editing on the side. I write historical fantasy and contemporary novels with a dash of magic for middle grade readers. My fiction is represented by Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media Group.

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  • Sundae isn't happy with the attention Quackie is getting. This is how duck pics are done, he says πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
  • Sometimes, all you need to conquer that stubborn chapter is a little pep talk from your laptop and a wobbly, Happy Meal toy 😊 #amrevising #amwriting #kidlit #mg
  • It's that time of the year again when these little furballs get their free anti-rabies shots and pet registration from the municipal vet! 😊
  • #authorlifemonth Day 6: Awesome Moment. There are a lot of awesome moments in my writing life (and more coming soon), but that day I visited my grandma, my Mama Nena, to tell her about signing with such an amazing agent is my first proudest moment as an author. You see, Mama Nena was the one who taught me to read. I couldn't keep up with my classmates, so Mama Nena spent every day after school with me, using my affinity for art to associate words with meanings. Without her, I wouldn't be the writer that I am now. πŸ’•πŸ˜Š
  • #authorlifemonth Day 5: book setting. I'm a bit late, and I likely won't be able to post daily, but today's theme is just so hard to pass up! πŸ˜„ My book takes place in different parts of Metro Manila, but it begins in a park inside a fictional gated subdivision in Quezon City, somewhere near Katipunan Avenue. πŸŒ΄πŸ‡΅πŸ‡­πŸŒ΄
  • This week's useless purchase is a ✨sparkly purple journal✨ I'll probably never use but will definitely happy-stare at 😍 It's SO SHINY 😍😍😍
  • That tiny dot is the moon, and it's red. Please just trust me okay! πŸ˜˜πŸ˜¬πŸ˜‚
  • Tonight's dinner is mashed potatoes and chicken wings with Paeng's Peppers The Darkside barbecue sauce 😁🍴 @bludworm24 πŸ˜ƒ
  • Had dinner at this new ribs place in SM Cherry Antipolo. Price isn't so bad, and the food is good! I'm kinda meh with the shake though πŸ˜ƒ
  • This handsome boy is keeping me company tonight while I write edit letters and design websites πŸ˜˜πŸ’•
  • Lunch today πŸ˜€πŸ΄πŸ£
  • Doing a bit of self-care with hubby tonight.  Been a while since my last jog, so I'm pretty sure my legs are so going to hate me tomorrow πŸ˜‚

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