WWII - Philippine Bolos


November 8, 2012, 12:36 PM
Here are a Barong and a Parang or Golok? my Navy Seabee dad brought home from Samar or Leyte in 1945.

Unfortunately I suspect they both might be souvenirs made & sold to the GI “tourists” during the war.



The Barong has a 15” flat-ground blade, and is 24 ½” AOL when sheathed.
The sheath kinda appears to have been made from a GI white pine packing crate?
Serviceable perhaps, but not really authentic.

The Parang has a 9” blade and is 15 ¾” OAL in the sheath.
It is better made from some black tropical hardwood similar to ebony.
The blade is flat ground on the left side and convex ground on the right.
In all, it is a well-designed & balanced knife, and I would not feel too bad about carrying it if that’s all I had.

BTW: At the time my dad was there, the intense fighting was about over.
His old photos showed a mostly barren landscape with most of the palm trees shot off at the ground in the areas he was in.
Just stumps & shell holes from naval bombardment and infantry fighting.

But there were still pockets of Japanese who refused to surrender, sniping and otherwise raising havoc with the SeaBees building air strips.
So, the military begin offering a bounty on Japanese heads.

He had several photos of Philippine gorillas carrying knives like these.
And also carrying severed Japanese heads strung on vine “ropes”, waiting to get paid for them!

Yikes!! :eek:


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November 8, 2012, 03:29 PM
very cool and at the risk of getting beat down here let me me just say I am beggining to not like you (typed with extreme sarcasm and the ugly head of jealousy). I read your threads here and on another board and all I can do is drool. LOL

November 8, 2012, 08:11 PM
I'm not certain about the Parang, but the Barong looks authentic.

You have to remember that for the time frame many, if not most, of the knives weren't being made in a factory. They were hand made by craftsmen without the aid of modern machinery. Also, given the relative poverty, grips and scabbards would have been made from whatever material was available.

While it is possible that the knives were made as "tourist" items, it is far more likely that the craftsmen or salesmen were just selling them to the only people that had disposable income, namely foreign service personnel.

Edit: the brass fitting where the grip meets the blade may even been from a shell or cartridge casing.

November 8, 2012, 08:23 PM
Yes, I'm pretty sure that handle ferrule is a chunk of a .50 BMG or 20mm case.
The size is about right anyway.

And I wasn't inferring the knives were in any way substandard cheap tourist souvenirs.
They are for sure hand forged good high-carbon steel that will hold an edge.
(steel from blown-up Japanese weapons maybe?)

It's just that the Eagle and Harp on the one looks like they carved it special for a Military Band member?? :D

What I was trying to say was, they weren't made like the real old ones the Moro warriors carried when we fought them in 1903.


November 9, 2012, 10:24 PM
Those are some good looking knives. My Grandpaw was in the South Pacfic with Howing Mad Smith!
He said that boys in Luzon and such were bad to the bone with those knifes. Grandpaw said they paid 5 bucks a head.

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