May 18, 2019
Filipinos have always been among the world’s most enthusiastic smokers. According to the World Bank, more than 40 per cent of Filipino adult men smoke. Cheap tobacco and lax regulation has made smoking a way of life, and death, with health experts estimating that about 10 Filipinos die every hour from smoking-related illnesses. Lighting up has even become part of national mythology, in the form of Kapre, a nocturnal ogre who spends most of his time sitting in the fork of a mango tree, sucking on cigars the size of a chair leg. If you find yourself lost in the forest, and suddenly smell tobacco smoke, chances are you’ve strayed into Kapre’s crib.
Read more: The Sydney Morning Herald