Most souvenirs have a certain character, story, and swag to it. These souvenirs not only remind you of the places you visit but also give you a glimpse of the rich culture and history that made it such a visit-worthy place.
E for Espada
Our fifth installment for the A Ba Ka of Philippine Souvenirs series is a showcase of Espadas (swords) forged to protect the city it represents. No, locals are not selling swords willy-nilly! These are representations of the real deal.
Espada is the Tagalog word for “sword”. It is one of the many Portuguese words that the nation has embedded in their language. The use of espadas in the Philippines as a weapon has long been shelved. However, some use espadas in their ceremonies as a symbolic element.
As with ceremonies, espadas playing the role of souvenirs also stand as a reminder or representation for what has been. (I was so tempted to write, “representation of what went down.”)
Whenever you visit Mindanao, head on over to their handicraft stores and marketplaces for souvenirs. There you will find plaques in the shape of The Coat of Arms of the Philippines.
On these usually wooden plaques are representations of various kinds of swords that the Filipino ancestors wielded in the protection of their town. This showcase of espadas is called Weapons of Moroland.
Yes, there are different types. These espadas vary in (actual) length, shape, and use. Perhaps the notable thing about this showcase of espadas is how informative it is for a decorative souvenir.
Depending on the craftsman or the artist of the souvenir, the Weapons of Moroland souvenir usually has 20 espadas but it doesn’t stop there. The Weapons of Moroland also carry a few shields and spears.
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The names of the espadas usually featured in the Weapons of Moroland are Balasiong, Bangkung, Banjal, Barong, Budjak, Gunong, Janad, Kalis, Kambang, Kampilan, Kapa, Kris, Lahot, Laring, Gayang, Panabas, Pirah, Punyal, Susuwat, and Utak.