The Engkanto Belief: An Essay in Interpretation

Demetrio, Francisco
January 1968
Philippine Sociological Review;Jan-Apr68, Vol. 16 Issue 1/2, p136
Academic Journal
This article focuses on the belief of the rural people of the Philippines that there exist superhuman beings called engkantos. The people believe in the superhuman beings called engkantos as well as in the influence they exercise on human lives. The belief is found in Luzon, and also is quite common in the Visavas and in Mindanao. Though engkantos are said to be of both sexes and varying ages, who even get sick and die, they still are considered a class of beings quite removed and different from ordinary humans. Their dwelling places to the naked eye are mere boulders, large rocks or holes in the ground, mounds on the earth, or trees like the balete. But to their human friends who are empowered to see them, these are magnificent palaces and mansions. They are whimsical and unpredictable; they play jokes on people; making them go astray in the forest at night, or transform themselves into the likenesses of mortal friends and relatives in order to dupe the objects of their desire. Nevertheless, the engkantos are fascinating beings to the Filipinos. They are of fair complexion, golden haired, blue eyed and have clean-cut features and perfectly chiseled faces.


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