A King's Balisong
by Pabu Knife
About ten years after Magellan's birth in Portugal,
on the Philippines island of Mactan, a fine boy was
born and named Kolipulako. Legend has it that he
was a skilled horseman by age six and could read
and write by age seven. By age eighteen, he was
a champion swimmer and diver, and a champion
boxer and wrestler.
By the time Magellan set sail for the Moluccas,
Kolipolako was known as Kaliph Pulaka or
Lapulapu. Kaliph means king. He had become
the ruler or king of his people, one of several
tribes peacefully sharing the island of Mactan.
This is a picture of a statue of Lapu Lapu in
Lapulapu city on the island of Mactan.
(You may wonder what the correct spelling of this
king's name is. Should it be written Lapu Lapu,
Lapulapu, or Lapu-Lapu? The answer is that all are
In the statue shown above, Lapu Lapu is depicted
standing proudly and holding a narrow shield known
as a "pestle" in his left hand and a long, heavy
sword in his right. At first glance, the sword
resembles a Filipino bolo sword, but the tip is
wrong. That is actually an early form of a Filipino
sword known as a kampilan. These are both
very traditional Filipino warrior's weapons. You
can also see the modern flag of the Philippines
flying proudly in the background.
Meanwhile, on the island of Cebu...
Click on the finger icon to read more about this heroic Pabu balisong