The Philippines is not only capable of producing athletes, beauty queens, and artists. Filipinos can also create quality content and stories that will represent the country on the world stage. In this time of another lockdown and most of us are staying at home, we recommend that you watch Trese (if you haven’t), the first Philippine anime series on Netflix.

Trese

Netflix released Trese in the United States on June 10, 2021, and followed by a global release the next day, June 11, 2021.

The six-episode series has different language options such as English, Filipino (Tagalog), and Japanese. “Shay Mitchell” dubbed the English version, while “Liza Soberano” dubbed the Filipino version. Everyone has their own language preference so we recommend you choose the language you can easily understand.

Here is the official synopsis of Trese, from Netflix:

Set in Manila, where the mythical creatures of Philippine Folklore live in hiding amongst humans, Alexandra Trese find herself going head-to-head with a criminal underworld composed of malevolent supernatural beings.

The story of Trese is based on the award-winning comic book written by Budjette Tan and illustrated by Kajo Baldisimo. The creators published the first issue of the comics in 2005.

Attempts to adapt the series for the small or large screen were made within the first five years, but the plans fell through.

However, in November 2018, the unexpected happened. Netflix stated that “Trese” would be turned into a full-fledged animated series.

‘It is an adaptation at the end of the day, so the worst thing they could have possibly done was to render everything in black and white and just follow it frame by frame, or panel by panel,’

Budjette Tan

The main character was supposed to be a man

Alexandra Trese
Courtesy: Netflix

Alexandra Trese’s attributes are a mix of a masculine-identified warrior (mandirigma), with the feminine-identified shaman healer (babaylan).

The creators of Trese, Budjette Tan, and Kajo Baldisimo first imagined the role of Alexandra as a man.

“In the first draft, he was your typical tough guy action star kind of character. But there was just something that felt so standard,”

Budjette Tan

“Even in the Philippines, we don’t see so much of a female lead that had that kind of toughness and grit about her and her being a babaylan-mandirigma… it just made perfect sense,” he added.

Ang Kambal (The Twins)

Trese Crispin and Basilio
Courtesy: rabbitholemag.com

Trese has two very loyal subordinates known as Ang Kambal (The Twins) named Crispin and Basilio, who are half-deity twin brothers that act as Alexandra Trese’s protector.

Crispin and Basilio can be recognized by their trademark masks, which appear throughout the whole series. Crispin, the eldest twin, wears the Melpomene Mask (Mask of Tragedy), while Basilio wears the Thalia Mask (Mask of Comedy).

As the children of Talagbusao (Bukidnon War God), The twins were both born with supernatural abilities which give them an advantage in battle. Their weapon of choice is a pair of eldritch pistols collectively called the Armas Infinitum and they are also capable in martial combat.

Filipino folklores that appear in Trese

The Philippines is a large archipelago with more than 7,500 islands. As a result, the folklore of the country is widely diverse and varies from one place to another. While the features may change from place to place, each creature’s core remains the same.

Nuno sa Punso

Netflix trese's Nuno sa Punso
Courtesy: Cosmo.ph

Alexandra’s supernatural informant. Nuno sa Punso is an elderly earth spirit who lives in a pile of dirt. Trese’s Nuno isn’t technically a Nuno sa Punso, He’s the Nuno sa manhole since he lives in a sewer rather than a mound of dirt.

Duwende

Netflix trese's  Duwende
Courtesy: tatlerasia.com

While Duwende and Nuno sa Punso are both earth spirits, they are not the same. Duwende is more crazy than Nuno sa Punso. They have the power to bring you good fortune and good luck. They can also simply steal your belongings, hide them, and then mock you when you try to locate them. In Trese, duwende helped a woman to become a famous actress even if it means sacrificing some things along the way.

Tikbalang

Netflix trese's  Tikbalang
Courtesy: tatlerasia.com

In Filipino folklore, Tikbalang is a humanoid horse that prefers to live in remote mountains and forests. However, Alexandra meets Señor Armanaz in a penthouse in the middle of the city, resembling an indoor jungle.

Tiyanak

Netflix trese's  Tiyanak
Courtesy: bbc.com

Tiyanak is a vampiric baby that cries to deceive its victims. In some stories, Tiyanak is an unborn or abandoned (to death) child. In another version, they’re the spirits of children who died before being baptized. Remember that Spanish colonization turned the Philippines into a Catholic country, which had an impact on local folklore.

White Lady

White lady
Courtesy: tvshowpilot.com

Almost every country has an urban legend about a female ghost dressed in a white gown. The most famous white lady story in the Philippines is the white lady of Balete Drive. According to some reports, people who drive along the street late at night may catch a glimpse of her in the rear-view mirror that causes several accidents along Balete Drive. The white lady in trese is named Gina Santos. She died in a car accident while waiting for her lover, linking her spirit to the street.

Watching can help you overcome the boredom of being at home for a long time. If you want to watch while learning more about the Philippines’ uniqueness in terms of supernatural folklore, Trese is the series to be.

Stay at home and keep safe!

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Written by

Marben Sisineros

A communications student at the Universidad De Manila. He enjoys listening to music, watch different types of series, playing games, and traveling with his friends and family.