For centuries, blades have reflected the influence of a cultural period, the prevailing agricultural need, and the martial demand to defend or protect one’s life or property. This reflection is true in South East Asian and European blades.
The blade weapons of the Philippines, known in the vernacular as Sandata, were strongly influenced by waves of civilization that swept the archipelago. Between 6th to the 9th century, way before Western colonization, the Philippines experienced the influences of Indian and Chinese cultures through trade and settlement. In the 14th Century, the Arab traders arrived from the Malay Peninsula and Borneo, introducing Islam to settlements. Subsequently, the Islamic culture gained a strong foothold in the southern Islands, including the Sulu archipelago, southern and western Mindanao, Palawan, and as far north as Luzon.
The cultural elements of all these groups found their way into indigenous cultures through the language, literature, art, and implements for farming and self-defense.
Blade forms were also influenced by the 300-year occupation of the Spaniards, signaled by the arrival in 1521 of Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan. Traces of these influences are seen in 19th century blade weapon designs. Edged weapons have played an important part in the cultural evolution and survival of the Filipino people. For many Ethnic groups in the Philippines, bladed implements were used for agriculture, self-defense, and adornment.
Forged By Time, Crafted by Living Tradition *
Yesterday’s renowned South East Asian blade weapons (the Philippine Sandata in particular) and the European blades are today exquisitely handmade by Blade Culture International.
All BCI blades are skillfully made. Using a variety of steel, like shock resisting steel or S series, water quench or W- series, oil hardening or O-series steel, (to name a few) BCI is highly skilled in adapting to different approaches and methods in forging and tempering. The 5160 Series (which is common today but not previously readily available), are forged blades tempered to 55-62RC on the hardness scale. Other types of steel are tempered on a different scale. This century proven and tested blacksmithing process of BCI is the same method used in making the Japanese blades and medieval lines.
Just like the ancient blacksmiths of the original Philippine blades, whose attention to detail featured major influences of their time, BCI is unwavering in dedicating the same attention and adherence to the original design and decor of the weapons, materials used in the handles, grip wrappings, ornamentation’s, carving, and engraving. Equally important is the careful consideration that BCI craftsmen take in the handling, weight, and balance of the weapon.
BCI Blades are priceless collectibles crafted with a winning combination of improved material for steel blade making and BCI’s unfaltering loyalty to traditional practices of blacksmithing. Just like the Filipino warrior’s original weapon in ages past, BCI quality blades are esoteric, functional, and combat-ready.
* Blade-making skills and techniques are shaped by the cultural influences of past generations. The welding of modern day methodology and traditional blacksmithing yield superior metal craftsmanship. Blade Culture International aims to PRESERVE the cultural heritage and history of edged weapons and help revive a blade’s remarkable traditional craft.
Source: Wikipedia 11-2014
Luzon /luːˈzɒn/ (Tagalog: Kalusunan) is the largest island in the Philippines. It is located in the northernmost region of the archipelago.
The name Luzon is thought to be derived from the Tagalog word lusong , which is a large wooden mortar used in de-hulling rice. Luzon was once divided among Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms, Muslim principalities, and ethnoreligious tribes, who had trading connections with Borneo, Malaya, Java, Indochina, India, Okinawa, Korea, Japan, and China way before the Spanish established their rule. From just before the first millennium, the Tagalog and Kapampangan peoples of south and central Luzon had established several Indianized kingdoms, notably among them those of Tundok, Namayan and Maynila. The Laguna Copperplate Inscription, the first Philippine document written in 900AD, names places in and around Manila Bay as well as Medan in Indonesia. These kingdoms were based on leases between village rulers (Datu) and landlords (Lakan) or Rajahs, to whom tributes and taxes were paid. These kingdoms were coastal thalassocracies based on trade with neighboring Asian political entities at that time.The people of Luzon are divided into several ethnolinguistic groups. These groups inhabit different areas of the island.Ilocanos predominate in the northern portion of Ilocos and the region of Cagayan Valley, Pangasinense primarily inhabit Pangasinan, while the Kapampangans primarily live in Pampanga, and Tarlac. Meanwhile, Tagalogs are the majority in Bulacan, the rest of Central Luzon, CALABARZON, and Metro Manila, while Bicolanos predominate in Bicol. Other ethnic groups are also present such as the Aeta of Zambales, the Ibanag of Cagayan, and the Igorot of the Cordilleras.The major religion present in the island is Christianity, with the Roman Catholic Church the major denomination. Other sects include Protestantism, the Philippine Independent Church. Indigenous traditions and rituals are also present. With the migration of Moros and Chinese, there are also sizable communities of Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims in Metro Manila and other Provinces of Luzon.Almost all of the languages of Luzon belong to the Borneo–Philippines group of the Malayo-Polynesian language branch of the Austronesian language family. Major regional languages include: Tagalog, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Bicol, and Pangasinense. English is also used by many inhabitants, as it remains the medium of academic instruction since its installation during the American Occupation of WWII.
The Visayas /vɨˈsaɪəz/ və-SY-əz or Visayan Islands (Visayan languages: Kabisay-an, Tagalog: Kabisayaan), is in the middle of the three principal geographical divisions of the Philippines. It consists of several islands, primarily surrounded by the Visayan Sea, although the Visayas are considered the northeast extremity of the entire Sulu Sea. Residents are known as the Visayans. The early people in the Visayas region were Austronesians and Negritos who migrated to the islands about 6,000 to 30,000 years ago. These early settlers were animist tribal groups. In the 12th century, settlers from the collapsing empires of Srivijaya, Majapahit and Brunei, led by the chieftain Datu Puti and his tribes, settled in the island of Panay and its surrounding islands. By the 14th century, Arab traders and their followers, venturing into Maritime Southeast Asia, converted some of these tribal groups to Islam. These tribes practiced a mixture of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Animism beliefs. There is evidence of trade among other Asian people. The Visayans were thought to have kept close diplomatic relations with Malaysia and Indonesian kingdoms since the tribal groups of Cebu were able to converse with Enrique of Malacca using the Malay language when the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in 1521. According to Visayan folk traditions, the Visayas were populated by Malays from the collapsing empires of Srivijaya and Majapahit migrating from Borneo to Mindanao and to the Visayas, while other Malays crossed to Palawan through Sabah. Other Malays were suggested to have crossed from Samar island to the Bicol region in Luzon. The theory suggests that those ancient tribal groups who passed through Palawan may have migrated to what is now the island of Luzon.
Source: Wikipedia 11-2014
Mindanao (Tagalog: Kamindanawan) is named after the Maguindanaons of the largest Sultanate. At that time Mindanao was the seat of two great Sultanates, the Sultanate of Sulu and the Sultanate of Maguindanao . Mindanao is the second largest and southernmost major island in the Philippines island and is the eighth most populous island in the world. The island of Mindanao is larger than 125 countries worldwide, including the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Ireland.Mindanao is the most culturally diverse island in the Philippines where people of different languages, tribes, and races meet. There is a considerable number of Buddhist and Taoist temples and the collective group of indigenous tribes known as Lumad people.The Moro and Lumad alliance provided an effective resistance to Spanish rule. Mindanao became a melting pot of different cultures, creating a more distinct culture, which is not present in other island groups of the Philippine Archipelago. The region is home to most of the country’s Muslim or Moro populations, composed of many ethnic groups such as the Maranao and the Tausug, Maguindanaon the Banguingui (users of the vinta), and Lumads.More than 70% of the population of Mindanao adhere to Christianity. Roman Catholicism is the largest single religious affiliation at 60.9 percent of the total household population. Islam comprised 20.44 percent while other religions are as follows: Evangelical (5.34%), Aglipayan (2.16), Iglesia ni Cristo (1.66%), and Seventh Day Adventist (1.65%).Mindanao is considered the agricultural basin of the Philippines. Eight of the top 10 agri-commodities exported from the Philippines come from the area.