Kapre are Filipino tree demons:
They're described as bearded, buff, romantic tree men who smoke and cast illusions.
Despite their classification as demons, they’re friendly.
My interpretation focuses on humans mistaking Kapre beards and smoke for the magic exhumed from their charred bark.
Kapre have human forms via magic.
There's problematic history with Kapre, as Spanish colonizers invented and attached the idea of Kapre "demons" to slaves to stop Filipino locals from helping them. However, the legend evolved to give the Kapre empathetic qualities such as love and friendship.
I don't mean to romanticize the nature of how awful Kapre origins are, but it should speak volumes when a culture known for horrific mythos chose to twist a tale against slaves into something positive.
The Kapre myth was invented because locals wouldn't stop helping people.
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