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The Bolo: The Essential Filipino Tool [Flashback* 05.13.2014]

The bolo, or machete, is the essential Filipino tool and probably can be found in the majority of Philippine households. I doubt if you could go to any residence on the mango island of Guimaras, where we dwell, and not find this useful tool.The Compound in Guimaras


My asawa, who can yield a mean bolo (which can double as a weapon and has been wielded in many a Red Horse-fueled karaoke bar fight) recently purchased a new bolo.

My spouse, a dedicated bargain hunter, made a trip to our “New Site” market. She spied a man selling new bolos and asked the price. “300 pesos,” was the reply. “I’ll give you P250,” was my wife’s counter offer.

“280 Ma’am” said the knife merchant. It was a done deal. My frugal fraulien had saved 20 pesos, 44 cents.

But asawa desired a knife sharpening stone to go with her new bolo purchase. She asked the merchant the price of one.

“P150 is the price, Ma’am,” he replied, “but since you bought the bolo I’ll let you have it for P130.” Another 44 cents saved, 88 cents in total. My wife, the haggler, had just purchase a genuine Carborundum 109 “S” combination sharpening stone, shown in the picture below.Bolo and Sharpening Stone

The new bolo had to be prepared before putting it to use. The handle is not firmly attached to the blade. My wife had to slip small pieces of plastic into the blade handle and heat up the knife blade in a fire that she started in our outdoor trash heap.

After I dumped the contents of the garbage can from our basement CR, Comfort Room, and I emptied the executive plastic trash container from the headquarters of “Philippines Plus,” the fire began burning even hotter.

My wife thrust the hot blade into the handle filled with the plastic bits from a cut up Coke 1.5 Liter bottle and pounded the bolo onto the ground. The blade stuck.

My spouse proceeded to hack of some dead branches of a nearby tree to give the new bolo the ultimate test.

“It’s sharp!” she gleefully announced as I backed a few meters away, remembering “the look” she gave me one time as I snapped her picture when  she was toiling away in our dirty kitchen at “The Compound.” The Compound in Guimaras1Yeah, she doesn’t look happy, does she? And that bolo was nearby. As the picture caption states: “The Bolo! Keep Out of Reach from an Angry Asawa.” Good advice, my friends.

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