Posted by: annpeace | January 11, 2009

Kampilan: Filipino Sword, [Almost] History Less the Bore

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. 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 😀



  1. mikmik man gyud ang gi gamit, ka lain…
    Nindot dah… pero daghan pa ka ug kailangan ma hibaw’an… maypa mag research ka on your own before me and tsong give you another session of filipino history… hehehe… CHICKTECH!!!

    re: Umm…I’m not really sure if I would have the time to research. As of now man gud karon mikmik (ayaw lang palag kay wa sila kaila nato…hehehe..), lain pa akong priorities. I can work on Cebu heritage, culture, traditions, and stuff but dili pa siguro about weapons. Heavy pa na siya nako. But I am amazed of them, nevertheless. I like vintage stuff man sad. Thank you for that session and i look forward for more.

    Hahaha…puyra gaba sad nang bag-o nako nga name dah.

  2. my family have a kampilan sword … dko alm kong san galing ung kampilan naun sabi ng ninuno nmin gling padaw un ng malasia pero nsa mindanao un

  3. Where can I find swords and armor in Cebu?

  4. […] Kampilan: Filipino Sword, [Almost] History Less the Bore « Don’tYesterday, 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. […]

  5. You can buy Kampilan sword from me: Cell # 0927-919-9319.
    The metal is Spring Carbon Steel with traditional hand forging and heat treatment process that is oil quenched and carburized then differential quenching process . Price @ US Dollar 24.00/ pc. excluding Freight Charges.

    My email :

  6. mangayo ko song batobalani sa gugma with guitar chord ug sto.niño gugma ko ug daghang salama o sto.niño…kna lang tnx.

  7. heeey, i wouldnt call our ancestors barbaric. well, it was kind of in the old times but everyone were in modern standards. the real barbarians are the colonizers, destroyer of cultures. and they kill other people because they dont believe in their god? tsk tsk

    We werent barbaric. We had our own culture. maybe for the spaniards they wrote that we were savages coz when they arrived, our men were covered with tattoos thats why they called the people Pintados. And for them if you didnt have white skin and worships nature instead of a god almighty, you were automaticall called a savage. Let me post the first 3 stanzas of Pocahontas’ song to John Smith:

    You think I’m an ignorant savage
    And you’ve been so many places
    I guess it must be so
    But still I cannot see
    If the savage one is me
    How can there be so much that you don’t know?
    You don’t know …

    You think you own whatever land you land on
    The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim
    But I know every rock and tree and creature
    Has a life, has a spirit, has a name

    You think the only people who are people
    Are the people who look and think like you
    But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
    You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew

    char char. i bet ingon ana pod ang nahitabo sa atoa.

    and of course when someone arrives in your island and declares, “This island now belongs to the king of spain and my god shall be your god!” Di ka malain? They were simply asking for death by kampilan.

    And Id rather worship our anitos than believe in a jealous god. Save the earth pa ang peg.

    • Hi, thanks for the thoughtful comment. Of course, I did not mean that our ancestors were barbaric. And ha, I was too young when I wrote this, I did not know a lot. Even now, I don’t claim to be knowing more about history. But again, thanks for insights!

  8. What do you mean that the old times were barbaric? We were trading with foreigners as far as the Middle East, and our cousins have reached as far as Hawaii and Madagascar. We were cultured and our society was very complex. There are a ton of books for sale at Palm Grass Hotel a.k.a. the Heritage Hotel in Colon. Beside Cosmopolitan Junquera Branch. And we saw women as equal to man. Is that the makings of a barbaric people then?

    • Hi, I guess this was not meant for that. Thanks for the comment though!

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