A trip to any locale would not be complete without a souvenir item or two, and after searching and not finding even one ref magnet in Taal, we turned to a more unconventional memento, Batangas’ famous balisong.
Butterfly knives, fan knives and click clacks are just some of the names that have been associated with the peculiar knife that hails from this province.
The knife originated from the French fan knife and its first local incarnation was handcrafted from a small barrio named Balisong in Batangas. It was said that the term balisong came from the term baling sungay (broken horn) since the first of these kinds were made from carved carabao horns.
Everyone in the country is familiar with balisong and I bet most of us had handled or owned one at one time or another, but for those unfamiliar with this kind of blade, I’ll give a brief description.
A balisong is a folding knife with two handles that encloses and hides the blade when not in use. The blade is revealed by flipping open the two half-handles that clips together and form its grip. The real charm of this weapon is from the way it is fancifully flipped open, click here for a demo.
For an easier explanation, here’s an illustration from Wikipedia:
The store we checked out also has various blades for sale, including home-made cleavers, machetes and pen-knives (which looks like a pen, but instead of having a ball point, it has knife inside). They also have a foot-long Batangas balisong displayed in a frame, but I forgot to ask if it was for sale.
Note that it is legal to sell and own a balisong to a certain extent, 29cm being its legal length limit.
It is generally believed that every Batangueños own a balisong. I asked my Batangueña officemate regarding this legend and she says she does not have one, she was even asking us if we could buy her one; so there goes that myth.