Kampilan and Kalis: The Secrets of the Precolonial Filipino Sword Blades

During the fight for independence, the bolo was used side by side with firearms by the revolutionaries of the Katipunan. The history of the bolo would continue into the Filipino-American War and against the Japanese in World War II—all the way up to now in modern times. Historically, blades helped build a nation.

Perhaps equally amazing are the blades themselves. The pre-colonial Philippines had an assortment of bladed weapons, but we will discuss two examples here, the kampilan and the kalis. Both are recognizable pre-colonial swords, with known figures like Lapu Lapu wielding them. For some, they are just swords. Regardless, the blades have stories to share.