Bolo knife

A Filipino fixed blade knife with a lot of versatility to offer



If some knives are made for slicing meat, others are made for defending self-defense, some still are made simply for cutting the wires, then, most probably there also some made for simple vegetation. This is where a bolo knife comes into the picture. Whether you are the knife enthusiast or the handyman, this knife could be one for your grabs.

A bolo is considered to be under the category of machete.  It is a fixed blade knife with huge cutting blade and lools like a large survival knife, used for clearing shrub or bushes during trailblazing and also used for agricultural purposes in general.

Bolo knife

The knife handle is made from indigenous hardwood which makes it distinctive among other kinds of knives.  It often has a blade which widens and curves towards the tip.  With this, chopping becomes more forceful, thus, efficient.


Farmers in developing places are the ones who mostly make use of the practicality of this knife although bolos are as well very common in many households in very few Asian countries. Well it could be considerably hard to find any other tool that can have so many purposes in agriculture like toiling the soil, chopping wood, breaking coconut shells, and other cutting functions for everyday use.

Before bolos eventually became one of your gardening instruments or before it even became part of the collectible knives hanging on your walls, it started out to have a bloody tale and a historically significant one at that. Well, bolo knife does rather have that ancient effect.


Believing to have originated in the primitive times in the Philippine coasts, the bolo knives were also used as weapons (against the swords of the foreigners) because the bolos were strong enough to withstand hard hits.


The earliest record of bolo being a weapon was in the time of a particular Philippine native named Lapu-Lapu who is also the country’s first National Hero.


He, along with the many other brave aborigines, used this Philippine machete as military weaponry against Portuguese navigators lead by Ferdinand Magellan.  Those were called the “jungle bolos” which had less wide blades and longer tips. The natives always carried this combat type of bolo (with their sheaths tied around their waists) just to be prepared at all times. 


As history ran, Filipinos still used these as arms showing their resistance to their Spanish and American conquerors including during World War II. Today, the bolo knife has evolved into more contemporary knives that even has become tactical combat knives in other places in the Western part of the world - some of them having plastic handles and are lighter in weight for more portability.


Still from the Philippines, here are innovated types of bolos retaining some traditional characteristics:


1. Pinuti – it is a large type of bolo that can do the more demanding jobs of cutting through hard wood or at times, lumber.

2. Haras – has a tall blade that curves (almost shaped like a letter L) at the tip; it is used to cut high grass such as cogon; others use this to cut tree branches.

3. Garab – primarily used during the harvesting of rice.

4. Sundang – are those that were made as weapon in battles during the colonization of the Philippines.

5. Bolo-guna – the tool perfect for cutting weeds and roots of grass, and also for cultivating soil.

6. Kutsilyo – (can also be a common term for kitchen knives in some rural places) are primarily for slaying hogs and cutting or slicing meat.


There can be more to a bolo knife yet to be discovered maybe in the more indigenous places. One knife collector can only be amazed at how this type of fixed blade knife came into existence with much utility and with quite interesting chronicles as well.

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