Almost all knives that are known to us have a history of serving large scale proposes in many different countries. Just like that, the bolo knife that we will get to know about today is popular all over the world because of its history. The bolo knife had the back of a lot of soldiers and fighters of the military and imperial forces of the Philippines during combat.

The bolo knife was first made in the Philippines but later on, it was used in the military warfare of other countries like the USA. Even if the imperial forces used canons, warplanes, or guns the bolo knife was still feared because of how deadly its attack is. You will see that in the history of the Mexican revolution, wars in the Philippines, World War 1 and 2, the use of the bolo knife was present.

There is more to know about the bolo knife that will amaze you if you are a knife enthusiast. We have a detailed overview of the interesting facts of the bolo knife. To add more, the bolo knife comes in various types that you could choose from depending on your purpose and also some uses that you can get to know to use the bolo knife in your practical life.

Overview of the bolo knife:

The bolo resembles the look of a machete which is also a weapon that originated in Central America, which is widely used for clearing up vegetation fields, cutting sugar canes and accomplishing other tasks related to agriculture.

So, just like the machete knife, the bolo knife is also used for such agricultural purposes. The handle of the bolo knife is marked using an animal horn, and the construction of the handle is done using hardwood. The blade of the knife is made up of steel and it has thickness added to it which is more noticeable compared to what you see in an average knife.

The shape of the blade gets wider as you reach the tip, followed by a curve that you get to see near the tip of the knife. This design is done very thoughtfully as because of the shape the gravitational centre is shifted forward adding momentum to ensure you have control for cutting and chopping with precision. As the shape of the bolo blade is curved you will be able to sharpen on one edge of the knife. You will find that the average length of the bolo knife is about 18 inches.

For longevity and stability of the blade, there is a groove present inside that the handle is made out of dark wood, to which the blade is attached. To add design to the handle, there is strips of bamboo present and also braided bottom at the top. Now, the jungle bolos are designed differently compared to the typical ones. It has a blade that is longer and is not wide like the blade of a typical bolo knife.

The bolo knife holds an important place in the culture of the Philippines. People honour military personnel by giving the bolo knife as gifts to them. For the Filipino culture, the bolo knife is a symbol for a native revolutionary society that is known as Katipunan, and the Philippine revolution war that is known as the Tagalog war.

Uses of the bolo knife:

Around the areas of Southeast Asia, the bolo knife is used for agricultural purposes that allow you to cut a vast amount of crops. Because of the design of the bolo knife, you can chop for long hours and even clear rows of crops like rice, beans, wheat and many more. Furthermore, because of the curve at the tip of the knife, it is a perfect tool for cracking open a coconut.

Types of the bolo knife:

As you already know the bolo knife was originated in the Philippines, they even came up with a lot of variations that allows the Filipinos to perform various types of tasks. Have a look at the description of these 12 types of bolo knives to know better about them.

  1. Garab: The garab is a type of bolo knife that has features in the body that allows you to harvest rice in fields.
  2. Gunong: Gunong has a dagger-like structure that is used as a weapon and also as a tool for slaughtering pigs.
  3. Batangas: The Tagalog people use Batangas bolo knife as a weapon.
  4. Barong: The barong type has a unique leaf-like shape that is used as a sword by an ethnic group of Southeast Asia that is known as the Suluk People.
  5. Binangon: It is a form of Jungle bolo that is used in areas of Negros Island and Western Visayas of the Philippines.
  6. Bolo-guna: The bolo-guna is a bolo knife that is used for purposes like weeding as the blade is wide and short along with an end that is perpendicular and blunt.
  7. Haras: This type of bolo knife is used for cutting tall grass by the people of Mindanao in the Philippines.
  8. Itak: It is a narrow sword type of bolo knife that can be used for combat, self-defence and as well as agricultural purposes just like the jungle bolo.
  9. Kampilan: This type of bolo knife has a long sword with tapering and is widely used throughout the Philippines.
  10. Pirah: Just like the bolo knife, the tip of the Pirah is also wide and is like a sword that can be used as a weapon.
  11. Pinuti: This kind of bolo knife is narrow in shape and is like a sword that some people of the Philippines carry along with them for combat and self-defence.
  12. Sundang: Sundang is the most common type of bolo knife that is used widely around the Philippines. The use of Sundang is also similar to the jungle bolo.


  1. What is a bolo knife used for?

Ans: Commonly, the bolo knife is used for clearing vegetation and also for agricultural purposes. Historically, the bolo knife was used as a weapon in wars and the military.

  1. What is the difference between bolo and machete?

Ans: The shape of a machete is like a sword and the length of a machete’s blade is about 50 to 65 cm long with both edges that can be sharpened. On the other hand, a bolo knife feels heavy and has a thick blade with a length of about 46 cm.

  1. Is bolo a garden tool?

Ans: Yes, the bolo knife is also a garden tool as the design of the blade makes it capable of clearing rows of crops and also chopping becomes very easy.

  1. Does the bolo knife come with a sheath?

Ans: Yes, the bolo knife come included with a sheath and the material used for the sheath is leather.

Final verdict:

To sum up, getting to know about the history of the bolo knife and how it is serving mankind even today must be thrilling for a knife enthusiast. The unique shape of the blade with a curve at the tip adds a lot of versatility to the bolo knife allowing people to use it both as a weapon and an agricultural tool that helps a person with taking care of their vegetation.

Because of the bolo knife, we get to witness how creative the people of the Philippines are, as they came up with 12 variations of the bolo knife. Each variety of bolo knife has a different proposal to serve as the designing of the blade is thought carefully about where they will be used. Even though the bolo knife is in hands of the common people of the Philippines, the knife is still feared because of how you can use it for combat and the attack with it is fatal.






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