Batanggenyo’s are known for being stud or barako. This is not just because we’re drinking kapeng barako but somehow due to this one thing that identifies us….balisong. I’m not sure about the statistics but for sure, most of our local men are carrying this thing inside their pocket. Mainly for protection or self-defense as they said.

A balisong, otherwise known as a butterfly knife or a Batangas knife, is a Philippine folding pocket knife with two handles counter-rotating around the tang such that, when closed, the blade is concealed within grooves in the handles. In the hands of a trained user, the knife blade can be brought to bear quickly using one hand. Manipulations, called flipping, are performed for art or amusement.

While the meaning of the term "balisong" is not entirely clear, a popular belief is that it is derived from the Tagalog Language words baling sungay (literally, "broken horn") as the original balisongs were made from carved animal horns. These knives are also referred to as "fan knives" or "click clacks."

The use of the balisong is so popular in the Philippines that an urban legend exists about every Batangueño carrying it everywhere he goes.They are a pocket utility knife used by people of Filipino society. They have also been used to fight duels over matters of honor, although such practices have been discontinued for decades.

The butterfly knife appears first documented in a 1710 French book, "Le Perret", where an intricate and precise depiction of a butterfly knife is outlaid, explaining that the device was developed in the late 1500's as a utility knife. It then most likely came into popular use in the Philippines through transference intercontinentally to Spain, which coincides with the Spanish governance of the Philippines during that period.

There is, however, conjecture attending to the balisong being an ancient Filipino invention dating back to 800 AD, stating it to be the most ancient of weapons of the Filipino fighting system of Eskrima.

During WWII ( 1945 ), U.S.Troops island hopping in the Pacific, returned home with balisong knives. These knives came in the typical pocket size lengths, and also lengths approaching 30+ inches. Vintage balisong knives have hand ground non-symmetrical carbon steel blades. The sharp edges formed right to the handle, leaving a small tang area, and are not usually marked by the maker with a modern western tang stamp. Collectors viewing antique carbon steel blade knives debate the exact details defining a traditional heirloom knives of the 1930's, with post war knives made with shell brass. Longer ceremonial vintage knives periodically display hand carved designs that are filled with colored and clear japan lacquer. Perhaps the inspiration for modern clear plastic designs.

In 2005 , a standard folding knife was made with a handle that was shaped like a closed balisong. The appearance was cosmetic. The double handle butterfly folding mechanism was not used.

Balisongs are still handmade in the traditional manner in the Philippines. Such knives are referred to as "Filipino handmade" (FHM), and their quality varies greatly. The typical FHM is a sandwich style balisong made from layers of brass or aluminum sheet assembled with pins. Frequently, the handles are inlayed with scales fashioned from rosewood, bone, horn, stag, or synthetic materials. Balisongs made for the tourist trade are typically of passable quality, but are mass-produced by semi-skilled workers and lack the durability and aesthetics of a knife fashioned by an apprentice to a master craftsman.

Through out the Philippines, the Balisong is also widely called the "Beinte Nueve" (Spanish termed for twenty-nine, although in Spanish it is written as Veinte nueve). In Batangas it is common practice to use Spanish numerals. "Beinte Nueve" in truth is the full length of a standard Batangas made Balisong, which is twenty-nine centimeters.[5] When a Filipino is acknowledged as being from the province of Batangas, the next question commonly asked, "Nasaan ang Beinte Nueve mo?" (Where is your Beinte Nueve?)


  1. Ryan  

    May 3, 2008 at 10:50 PM

    nice blog...

Batangas Dictionary