The History & Practical Uses of Filipino Machetes

The Filipino machete, also later known as the bolo knife, or bolo machete, is a versatile survival tool that has a rich and engaging history. Originating from the dense jungles of the Philippines, the bolo machete’s distinctive shape and ability to slice through thick vegetation with ease set this blade in a class all its own. Various forms of this machete are still in use today among the diverse cultures throughout the Philippine island chain.

Instruments like the Filipino machete are also commonly used in the practice of the country’s official martial arts known as Eskrima or Arnis. In peacetime, Filipino machetes found regular use in daily agricultural applications and to aid in navigating through dense jungle overgrowth. During wars, bolo machetes played a pivotal role in helping the Filipino people ward off hostile forces, raising this blade to almost mythic status.

If you’re looking for the best machete to assist you on your next adventure, look no further than the bolo machete. Read on to learn what makes the Filipino machete such a valuable companion during excursions through nature’s roughest terrain.

The Filipino Machete Design & Benefits

Traditional bolo machetes feature a straight blade that tapers into a broader, rounded tip. Typically constructed from high carbon steel, this blade touts exceptional durability in the most challenging conditions. Filipino machetes come in a wide range of sizes, but most are somewhat short and stocky with a blade length between 13 and 15 inches. 

Authentic bolo machetes are also relatively lightweight thanks to their discreet design, and many models available on the market hit the scales at just over one pound. The handles of many bolo machetes are often made from natural wood, secured to the blade with full tang rivets.

These machetes provide excellent control when slashing or chopping due to their relatively short blade length and balanced profile. Aside from its many uses in farming and land clearing, the bolo machete can also help with skinning wild game, preparing food, or chopping firewood. Perfect for survivalists, land surveyors, or archaeologists, Filipino machetes can make extended excursions in the wild a much easier task to manage.

Filipino Machetes to Check Out

With so many versions of the Filipino machetes available on the market today, it may help to narrow down your choices to a few premium options. 

Various iterations of the bolo machete offer unique advantages well worth exploring, so you’ll want to take your time to find the perfect blade to fit your needs. Here are three popular bolo machetes that any outdoorsman can appreciate.


This Brazilian take on the bolo machete features a 14-inch blade set into a beautiful, quillon-style natural wood handle. The blade itself consists of rugged 1070 high-carbon steel that can easily stand up to the rigors of daily use, especially in unforgiving dense environments. 

The blade’s tapered end measures 2.75 inches in width and gives the machete excellent chopping power as well, ideal for making short work of thick branches, vines, and any brush impeding your path. While the Tramontina bolo requires sharpening before it’s ready for the field, its affordable price tag and sturdy design make this machete one of the best survival tools money can buy.

This machete also weighs in at only 15 ounces, ensuring you won’t become exhausted as you carve a path through brush and vegetation. If packing light is a priority for you, the Tramontina bolo machete is an investment you won’t regret. Sheathes for these machetes are sold separately.


Manufactured in Thailand using top-tier British carbon steel, the Martindale bolo cleaver is another machete turning heads today. This blade is 15 inches long and features a wide, tapered end nearly 3 inches in width. The most attractive feature of this machete is its beautiful, Crocodile handle made from high-performance, cross-sewn German beechwood secured by steel rivets and washers.

Although the blade receives a primary grind in the factory, it will require sharpening before it’s ready for use. You can keep the machete protected from the elements with a sleek nylon sheath that’s sold separately. The sheath also features a belt loop for convenient transportation during your excursions in the wild. 

Overall, this Martindale bolo is a reliable, simplistic machete that focuses on performance and function instead of unnecessary frills or aesthetics. For the most dedicated survivalists, this bolo can prove indispensable in a wide array of applications.


Easily the most unique and sophisticated machete on the list is the 15-inch engineer bolo by Condor. Made from 4.9 mm thick high-carbon steel, the crescent blade of this machete functions similar to an ax or tomahawk, delivering unparalleled chopping power perfect for heavy-duty work in virtually any natural environment. 

The unusual shape of the blade also provides excellent balance to the machete for unprecedented control and precision. Meanwhile, its two-pound weight ensures optimal, long-lasting performance ideal for chopping thicker pieces of wood or the most stubborn jungle vegetation. 

Manufactured in El Salvador, this bolo arrives razor sharp and includes an attractive leather sheath with a swiveling belt loop. The full-tang, natural wood handle of this machete comes with a lanyard hole as well, adding extra stability when in use. The engineer bolo exudes craftsmanship from tip to hilt, representing the cumulative wisdom of Condor’s 225-year reign in the machete industry. If you’re interested in buying a machete that will stand the test of time, this machete may be exactly what you need.

 The Best Quality Filipino Machetes Available

Are you looking for the best machete available to tackle the most demanding jobs? Browse our wide selection of top-quality Filipino machetes at  Machete Specialists today. We offer a broad array of top-tier machetes from all over the world, not to mention many handy accessories like sheaths, sharpening stones, and various blade maintenance accessories. Contact us today to find the perfect Filipino machete for your needs.