Just a few notes on Trese ( Netflix ), an animated adaptation of a popular comix series from the Philippines , PG18, horror/supernatural genre. This post is a long read , but please find time to read this, just 3 minutes long, promise.

I understand Netflix has to make TRESE PG18. It does show gore and violence , so, kids, don’t watch it _____but then , how can the creators not show gore______ it deals with aswangs , after all, ( shape shifter creatures ) whose favorite dish, unfortunately , are humans.

The title TRESE is the surname of Detective Alexandra Trese, who is the go – to detective of the police department when a murder that takes place looks suspiciously other worldly. ( She’s like FBI’s Fox Mulder or Constantine of DC animation ) She’s the bridge or the conduit between the humans and the supernatural world, the legacy she has inherited from her family. Alexandra’s last name , Trese, or 13, is also significant in Filipino folklore and superstitions. It is an unlucky number. There are , in fact, NO building structures in the Philippines that has a 13th flloor. After the 12th floor, it goes straight to 14th. 13th floors in the Philippines do not exist.

I’m sure non -Filipinos watching TRESE will get lost trying to figure out the what, why and how. I suggest viewers just take the events ” as is , where is.” Filipinos , on the other hand, can relate to all the events happening in the story. Take for instance the first scene______ the murder of a ghost on Balete Drive. There is a real Balete Drive in Metro-Manila that is known for White Lady hauntings since the ’50’s. The White Lady was a girl who was a hit and run victim. The event was true, but the hauntings, I don’t know. To this day, drivers ( especially cab drivers ) avoid this route , and if ever they need to drive here, they blow their horn as their ” tabi-tabi po ” version of an excuse to drive on the road.

Who's Scared of Balete Drive? - VisitPinas.com

The old Balete Drive used to have so many creepy -looking balete trees lining the road. Balete trees are known to be the homes of mysterious creatures. ( The tree figures prominantly in TRESE ) . Today, most of the balete trees on Balete Dr. have been cut down to keep the street well – lit at night. ( Don’t worry, Balete trees are now protected ) Some balete trees are still there, but most are inside the properties of people living there. By the way, Balete Drive is a street of rich, well to do families living in mansions with tall concrete fences.

Photo below is BALETE TREE.

Why is the Balete Tree so prevalent in Philippine stories? - Quora

In other words, just the first scene alone is chockfull of Filipino lore and superstitions.

There is one episode that deals with TIYANAKS. Although Filipino folklore has different versions of tiyanaks, there is one thing in common to all_____ tiyanaks look like babies, and can mimic them to lure humans whom they expect to save them from harm , then they turn into a monster and claw their way into their victims and eat them.

Supernatural Series: Tiyanak | BakitWhy

It’s been part of a folklore even during pre-colonial times, but Catholicism turned the regular , garden variety monster into souls of infants that died before being baptized , and in recent , modern folklore, tiyanaks have become fetuses that have been aborted and have returned from death to seek revenge on those who deprived them of life. Because abortion is a sensitive issue, the writers changed abortion in the comix into straightforward murder of the baby by its own mother in the anime.

There was a funny incident in my life when my older siblings became afraid of me for a time, LOL , and wouldn’t go near me, nor touch me . They had just watched a movie about a Tiyanak titled TIyanak, when they saw me in the crib, looking at the wall and pointing , laughing and smiling at something unseen ( My siblings were , I think, 8 and 9 years old ) They freaked out, and judged me, ha ha ha !

Oh My God, Anak Ni Janice! Uhm, That Would Be The Very Pretty Kaila Estrada  | AO: All Out

Photo below is the real child of actress Janice de Belen who was teased as Tiyanak when she was a baby , for a long time. LOL I can believe that.

Oh My God, Anak Ni Janice! Uhm, That Would Be The Very Pretty Kaila Estrada  | AO: All Out

My mother got teased also for having Capiz/Aklan as her home province, and unfotunately, also the home province of aswangs, LOL.

So, okay, if you’ve reached this part of my post, thank you so much for reading.

Bye for now. I hope I can post a real review of TRESE after this .

17 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cassidy Frazee on June 13, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    I haven’t watched it yet, but a couple of my friends have and love it.


    • Yes ! Oh, hey, Cassie ! !

      Did they like it even though there are no backround stories on the creatures ? I can imagine getting lost in the story.


  2. Ironic. Just started watching TRESE. Enjoy good animated films, even by foreign countries. Many thanx for your photos and info, Renxkyoko.


    • The only mythical folklore the world knows are Greek mythology. Then, there’s Thor, etc. Other countries have their own. The creatures depicted in TRESE are well known in the Philippines even among ancient Filipinos.

      Most animated films are Japanese. That’s how Japan ‘s culture became famous all over the world.


  3. Very interesting, and that story about your sisters being scared of you was hilarious!


  4. Just finished the first episode! Love it so far.


    • Is it different from Japanese anime ? I’m getting some DC/Marvel vibes from it. The director Jay Oliva ( who’s Filipino American , is the director of some animated DC/Marvel ( Batman, Superman, Spiderman ) films. Maybe that’s the reason why Trese doesn’t exactly feel Japanese____ .


      • Yes it is. Strange that they would label it anime but still Trese is good. Shay Mitchell who is the voice actress for Alexandra Trese has to work on her emotional range. Lol so monotonous!
        But she is half Filipino ๐Ÿ‘


        • Except Steve Blum, the voice actors are of Filipino descent. About the emotional range…. I heard from the creators of the comics that Alex Trese is stoic and very little fazes her. If she is, she’ll go mad, that’s what the authors said, LOL. That makes sense. I do love the twins ! ! And Hank ! Hank is their favorite bartender in the pub they always hang out at. Same name, as well.


  5. My favorite tiyanak! hahaha


    • Ang anak ni Janice ! ( Child of Janice ) Super condensed episodes. I hope they can flush out more of the mythological creatures. Maybe they’ll show more of the aswangs , especially those manananggals. Did you recognize the Easter Eggs ?


  6. I find the creatures of folklore absolutely fascinating. I didn’t know much about Filipino ones so thank you for this wonderful introduction! More please!!


    • So many creatures, Ken Powell, and all of them are part and parcel of Filipino culture. It’s nice to show other countries ‘ mythology. The world only knows of Norse, Greek and Italian mythology. Thor, Zeus, Neptune, etc. Add the vampires, lol.


  7. I donโ€™t understand why the #13 has to be an unlucky number. Do you?


    • To the Chinese and Japanese, I think it’s #4.

      I have no idea why it’s an unlucky #. I watched an American movie about a building without a 13 th floor… then main character for some reason finds herself on 13th floor, but she knows there’s no 13th floor. It’s a horror movie, In other words, it’s not only the Philippines that has this superstition. Most superstitions defy logic, but mostly harmless, like uttering “Tabi -tabi po” when Filipinos pass by a balete tree.


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