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Culture Scope: Balisong


Known also as the “Butterfly knife”, “Fan knife” and the “balisong” (in the Philippines), the butterfly knife is a well known and handy weapon/tool that is traditionally crafted in Batangas. Originally designed and created in America during the 1970’s, the manufacturing of high-quality knives were moved to the Philippines at around 1980.

The knife is different from other types of knives because it is a type of hidden blade. The edge is hidden between the two handles that can swivel to expose or hide the blade, making it an effective weapon that you can keep in your pocket and have ready when you need it. The balisong has a built in latch or pin that closes the handles securely, making it easy to keep and stops the knife from popping out in your pocket or bag.

The origins of the name “Balisong” are unknown, but it was believed that it came from the Tagalog words “Baling Sungay” (broken horn), stemming from the use of stag or carabao horn back in the day.

Balisongs are so popular that people learn how to do tricks with them. Balisong tricks consist of spinning the handles really quickly to brandish and keep the blade lightning fast. These are often done with a single hand to showcase their skills, but this also makes it a lot more challenging and can be a potential danger to the hands of the inexperienced.

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