Talibon / Garab / Piru

The talibon is the characteristic knife and sword of the Eastern Visayas in the Philippines. Blades often have a straight or concave spine than angles down near the handle and widens in the middle ("a fat belly") before tapering to sharp, slightly upswept point. The size and length of a talibon may vary greatly. The blades are typically beveled to an edge on one size while the other side is flat.  Scabbards typically match the shape of the blade with an upturned end. Older versions of tailbon were called garab.  There are many dialects in the Philippines and so, as in Indonesia, the very same sword or knife may have multiple names depending on who you ask and where.

Another unique attribute of the talibon is the enormous variety of hilts and scabbards that are found. Examples of hilts are the three-petal flower, diety/monster heads, people heads, variations of the kakatua and other iconic animals, and many more.  Excellent photos of quite a number of talibon can be found on the Ethnographic Forum.

The enormous variety of talibon forms may be due in part to the increased mobility of the population, rising dramatically after WWII.  The talibon became more widely recognized as a distinct form during the Philippine-American War in the fighting against the Pulujan in the eastern Visayan islands of Samar, Leyte and Bilarn. The older styles are often referred to as garab.