Yesterday, I was blabbering about Samurai swords (I was very eager to share to my friends the interesting things I learned after writing about swords for months!) when Mikmik asked me about Kampilan. My reaction was blank, naturally. Umm..kampilan? And he added insult to the injury, Wa ka kahibaw unsa ang kampilan unya swito kaayo ka’g Samurai? (You don’t know what a kampilan is but you know so much about Samurai swords?), Mikmik joked and I almost cringed because of my ignorance and for being proud about almost having memorized the ways on how to make a samurai sword. (No, I don’t memorize it really, but I have read quite a few articles about it online.) I sensed then that there could be something wrong about knowing about those Japanese weapons…hehehe…
Kampilan, I later realized as he and Lewis further explained, was a famous sword in the Philippines before the country was colonized by the Spaniards (so, before the archipelago was called Philippines for that matter). Reportedly, Mactan chieftain and first Philippine National Hero, Lapu-lapu, killed the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan with this weapon. But Kampilan is more of a general term for different types of sword. I was really awed of course.
The conversation turned out to be like a glimpse of Cebuano and Filipino history as I listened eagerly to what they were telling me. They happen to be fond of studying about weapons and Lewis also happens to be a reader of history books too, to my surprise. Ok, maybe it’s unfair to be surprised, it could be sort of a prejudgment or something but it is but rare to see and know young people like me (ehem) to be interested of history. Admittedly, I am myself a lazy reader especially about history although Filipino history does interest me (especially recently).
Maguindanao and Maranao Moros still use kampilan swords or bolos. The kampilan blades are unique, the tip usually looks almost trapezoidal and spiked.
I have found other kinds of ancient Filipino swords on the web too and was even surprised that there are actually a huge variety of them! I had read about karambit knives though, when I was asked to write about it months ago, along with the balisong. TraditionalFilipinoWeapons.com has replicas of these swords but I only view the site to learn about the traditional weapons like swords, bolos, knives, and staffs of Filipinos. Whew! I should’ve known about kampilan since old times were barbaric.
mikmik is sebastian and lewis is jose 😀