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This page is about the characters in the comic book series. For info on the TV Series, see The Kambal (TV Series).

Crispin and Basilio, collectively known as the Kambal (literally meaning the Twins), are demigod twin brothers that act as Alexandra Trese's loyal bodyguards, assisting her in her adventures as the Babaylan-Mandirigma. They are known to conceal their identities by wearing masks, akin to theatrical masks, that manifest subconsciously during battle.

They are infamously known as the children of Talagbusao, who gave them an insatiable bloodlust inhibited only by the masks bonded to them.

Creation and conception[]

The Kambal first appeared in the ashcan version of At the Intersection of Balete and 13th Street, the first issue of the main Trese series as the masked bodyguards of Alexandra Trese.

When Marvel Knights launched in 1998, Budjette Tan pitched a story to Joe Quesada that had Shroud fight paranormal enemies beside the Brothers Grimm. Budjette thought that the two were too goofy when put next to Shroud, so he decided to make some changes to the characters. He encorporated the sword and gun play from Jim Lee's take on Grifter and Zealot as well as John Steed's slick suits. Eventually, this pitch was rejected and shelved.[1]

In June 2005, Budjette wrote the first issue of the series at Kajo Baldisimo's request, basing it on an old draft he worked on in the early 2000s.[2] During development, he began to incorporate the ideas he had for the Brothers Grimm into the Kambal, making them masked aswang that served as suit wearing bodyguards that mainly wielded guns to pair with Alexandra Trese's bladework.[1] Budjette's early notes show that he had been considering giving them theater masks based on Moriones masks or Sto. Nino masks and initially named the two Komedya and Trahedya.[3] Kajo eventually gave them stylized theater masks based on a manananggal mask he made for The Last Datu as well as suits based on Agent Smith from The Matrix.[4] He intentionally made their masks distinct from each other as this allowed them to be differentiated from the other even when as silhouettes or viewed from behind.[5]

In the original reworked script, Budjette included a narration detailing the backstory of the Kambal during their fight with the aswang in the Trident. In it, it was explained that they were half-breeds Anton Trese saved from a mob of aswang, swearing their loyalty to him and his daughter Alexandra. However, Kajo decided to omit this narration after lettering the pages. Kajo told Budjette that saving the Kambal's backstory for an action packed flashback issue with a younger Alexandra would be better as it would give them a chance to showcase Alexandra's capabilities even without the Kambal by her side.[6]

Budjette agreed, keeping the Kambal's backstory secret and intriguing readers across eight published issues. He eventually thought that the Kambal being half-breeds was not as interesting as it seemed at the time as well as having many half-human, half-vampire like characters oversaturate media. Eventually, he stumbled on Talagbusao, a Bukidnon war deity, in The Soul Book. Considering him a far more powerful being than aswang or enkanto, Budjette decided to make the Kambal his offspring instead.[6]

This was eventually explored in Trese: Mass Murders, where the Kambal were named Crispin and Basilio for the first time. These names are taken from Sisa's children in the novel Noli Me Tangere. Previously, Budjette and Kajo referred to the Kambal as Gloomy and Happy based on their masks.[7] Only Basilio was officially named in the third book's text; Crispin's name was written in the sketches in the back of the book, though it had question marks. It wasn't until Trese: High Tide at Midnight when he would actually be called Crispin by name. Prior to this he had only been referred to as "Kuya", being the older of the two.

Character history[]

Early years[]

During the Skeleton Crew's rampage, they were conceived by Talagbusao through Ramona before the wargod left Terra Mundo. They grew up in rebel camps as their mother gathered men and raided military outposts. As Talagbusao's children, they hungered for human hearts.[8]

The Fort Bonifacio Massacre[]

A few years later, Ramona tracked down four members of the Skeleton Crew in Cubao, bringing the Kambal with her. They murdered them and a sex worker they hired, and the children fed on the men's hearts.[9]

The next day, Basilio noticed Puti and his pack tracking them down. He confronted them at Pipol's Bookstore, shooting Max in the face with his own gun. Dober and Bantay lunged at him, but Basilio retaliated, reaching for their hearts; killing Dober, and amputating Bantay. He was pinned by Puti, but was saved at the last minute by Crispin, who snapped Puti's neck. They left after they were called by their mother, accidentally letting Bantay escape.[8]

They went with their mother's men to General Wilson Hidalgo's house to capture the party guests. Hidalgo and his guests were blindfolded and made to fight each other until only Hidalgo remained. After he realized what he just done, Hidalgo fought through Ramona's men to get to her. His bloodlust summoned Talagbusao, who immediately greeted Ramona. Upon seeing the children, he immediately decided to eat them.[10]

He lunged for Basilio, throwing Crispin aside when he tried to help his brother. Ramona tried to defend her children, but was immediately killed when Talagbusao threw a knife at her. This gave Crispin enough time to shoot at his father's hand and free Basilio. The two then teamed up against their father, raining gunfire, overwhelming Talagbusao.[10]

The ground opened up and Anton Trese rammed his car into Talagbusao, knocking him out for a while. Alexandra Trese then exited the car in order to find the children. She grabbed Crispin by the hair and Basilio attacked her, mistaking her for an enemy. She explained they were trying to help them escape, but the children were confused at the loss of their mother. Eventually, the children escaped with a wounded Anton, with the help of Amang Paso.[10]


After Alexandra banished Talagbusao, Anton brought them home to feed them. Hank Sparrow was furious with this decision, wanting to poison their food after what they did to Puti and his pack. Alexandra was wary of them, citing the uncontrollable bloodlust they inherited from their father. However, Anton still decided to keep them as part of the family, considering them misguided but valuable assets.[10]

With his father Alexander Trese's help, Anton had permanently bonded special masks to the Kambal through a ritual. These masks manifest during battle and mitigate their bloodlust, making them reliable aides for the family.[10]

Anton also sent Alexandra with the Kambal into the land of the duwende to serve as a learning experience. They navigated the land's river using a giant paper boat.[11]

Great Balete Tree Trials[]

The Kambal helped the Trese family and their allies defend the Great Balete Tree as Alexandra was undergoing the Great Balete Tree Trials. Though they initially prioritized defending Anton, he ordered them to protect Alexander instead. Anton eventually gave up his life to cast a spell to protect the Great Balete Tree.[12]

Alexandra exited the Great Balete Tree after getting lost for three years. She confronted the Kambal regarding the protection of Anton, but Alexander quickly explained what happened. She then decided to bring the Kambal along with her to assist her in her duties as the Babaylan-Mandirigma.[12]

Talagbusao's Return[]

Basilio happened to be in the same MRT that Ian Solomon planned to blow up. After Ian shot a police officer, Basilio tackled him and flew him away from Guadalupe Bridge. Ian detonated his explosives mid-air anyway, but the explosion was far enough so as to not cause any additional casualties. Basilio survived the explosion due to his healing factor and immediately returned to the Diabolical.[13]

After more suicide bombers cause casualties in Robertson Mall and Armanaz Tower, the Kambal accompanied Alexandra to D&D's BattleGround, where she consulted Jobert. The Kambal recognized that the arcade had Eternos playable and explained the game to Alexandra. [13]

After seeing a live feed of Kenbhoy Calzada threatening to blow up Araneta Coliseum, the three of them hurried to Kenbhoy using a Dragon's Gate. Crispin went for Kenbhoy's hand holding the controller and broke his thumb, preventing him from triggering the explosives. Alexandra paralyzed Khenboy in place and severed the broken hand, handing it to Basilio. He then flies off with the explosives, safely detonating it above the building.[13]

Some time later, a suicide bomber blew up the Diabolical, severely injuring Hank. After Alexandra healed him, she took the Kambal back to Jobert. She realized that Sancho Santamaria was being possessed by Talagbusao and instructed the Kambal to stay away to deal with any other bombers first, fearing that Talagbusao might eat their hearts like last time. Jobert acted as their eyes, watching for any suicide bomber activity through the city's security cameras, as the Kambal stood ready to go after the bomber as soon as possible through a Dragon's Gate.[13]

They came to Alexandra's rescue after Bagyon Lektro turned on her and helped Talagbusao. They shot him in the eyes, dispelling him from the realm. With Sancho immobilized by a laman lupa, the Kambal flew down, believing everything to be fine. General Ramon Lanares then revealed himself to be the true proxy of Talagbusao, Ramon snatched the kris from Alexandra and used it against Crispin and Basilio, throwing it at the latter. Manifesting in his true form, he pinned Crispin and reached for his heart. However, Crispin shot his arm off, breaking Talagbusao's pin and joining Basilio who intended to return the kris to Alexandra.[13]

Talagbusao then took Alexandra hostage to get the Kambal to surrender. They dropped their weapons, but Alexandra ordered them to open fire. They pulled out assault rifles concealed under their suits and shot at Talagbusao, hitting Alexandra's torso. Talagbusao drank her blood in revelry, but the dragon's blood she took beforehand activated the Dragon's Gate under Talagbusao's feet, teleporting and trapping him inside Eternos.[13]

Tiger Burning Bright[]

Main article: Tiger Burning Bright

Alexandra and the Kambal followed a tip regarding artifacts being smuggled into the country on fishing boats. During their encounter with the shipment's elite guards, Basilio was wounded by a magical blade that caused him to spontaneously burn faster than he can regenerate. The flame burned until he was reduced to a skeleton, with Crispin being unable to get through the flames himself to help his brother.

As they prepared to bury Basilio, he started to regenerate enough for him to breathe. However, the fire started to burn him again, reducing him back into a skeleton. This cycle went on for a week, with Basilio being tortured over and over again to a point where Crispin considered killing his brother out of mercy. During this time, Alexandra researched for a way to stop Basilio's suffering, eventually finding a root crop that would act as a catalyst. Through this, Alexandra cast a spell that temporarily stifled his regeneration process, encasing his remains in plant matter and ending his pain at the cost of effectively keeping him dead.

In search of a cure to Basilio's curse, Alexandra and Crispin went to Jakarta's night market to find the curse's source.


Crispin and Basiliio are identical twin men, identified by the Mask of Tragedy (Melpomene mask) and the Mask of Comedy (Thalia mask) respectively. The older brother, Crispin, has shorter, close-cropped hair, as compared to the younger Basilio who has longer hair brushing past his shoulders. They both have sharp, angular bone structure characterized by a widow's peak and a stocky build. As the children of Talagbusao. they also inherited his pitch black eyes. When accompanying Alexandra, they are usually seen wearing black suits with white neckties.


As the warchildren of Talagbusao, they are born with supernatural abilities that give them an advantage in battle. They are expert marksmen and capable in martial combat. In gunfights, they each mainly utilize a pair of eldritch pistols collectively called the Armas Infinitum. They are also capable of flight and have an extremely fast healing factor. Their healing factor is powerful enough to reattach their torsos after being torn in half.[14] They also have and are capable of wielding an assortment of firearms and have been shown to conceal assault rifles inside their suits.[15] Included in their arsenal are thrown explosives made by the Metalero they call Super Lolo Trese Stars, though they haven't used it again in the series.[16] Their abilities can rival powerful supernatural entities, only superseded by the likes of Adarna Warriors.[17]

They are still vulnerable to electricity, shown being momentarily stunned by a lightning elemental at one point.[18] Their healing factor can also be countered with a persisting flame that burns faster than they heal.[19]

Whenever they're in a car, Crispin is usually driving while Basilio either rides shotgun or sits on the hood. Additionally, Maliksi gave them a pair of motorbikes custom designed with the symbols of their respective masks on it.[16]


Crispin, being the older brother, is more responsible and serious. He is more likely to scold Basilio for his recklessness, but is extremely protective when his brother is in danger. Basilio tends to be more extroverted and lax. He throws random quips throughout the series, and is shown to flirt passively with several women.


  • Crisipin and Basilio are almost always depicted on the left and right side of a panel, respectively.