An Interpretation on Embossed and Embedded Symbols in Lanao Traditional and Historic Implements of War (The Sundang and the Kampilan)



Sundang, Kampilan, Lanao Weapons


 The research was an attempt to put into writing a detailed interpretation or inspection on two of Lanao traditional and historic implements of war, the Sundang and the Kampilan. Visiting museums was an experience that left the writer with hunger for more information on what was visibly seen on the exteriors of these swords and what possible memories it carried. The Meranaws boasts of traditional weapons and they also have extravagant practice of its production and manufacture.

 Hence, this paper includes a detailed documentation of the different parts of the Sundang and Kampilan. The Sundang is perhaps the most popular of all Meranaw weapons and it was a weapon of war and peace. Neither too long, like the Kampilan, nor too short, like the Kris. It had a lavishly decorated handle, a blade with a symbolic cross guard, and a meaningful wavy curved blade complete with a magnificent sword sheath. The same attention was also given to the Kampilan, which was a weapon of war and of the warriors. And a distinguished traditional weapon in Mindanao.

Findings showed that these Lanao traditional weapons have played a role in the making of Moro history and that every details were made with art and purpose. It was a way of life to be armed with weapons and so with the coming of the conquerors, it was not a surprise that the Moros in general were able to defend and make offensive moves against their enemies. And made Lanao, among the last to be conquered or defeated by conquerors. It can be said that the Meranaws were the most well-armed group among the Moros at the time of Western conquests and the production of these weapons is one of the enduring contributions of the Meranaws to Moro history and culture.

Author Biography

Noralia Ibrahim, Mindanao State University Marawi

Noralia Usman Ibrahim is a graduate of Mindanao State University, Main Campus, Marawi. She is currently a PhD in Philippine Studies student and a member of the History Department of MSU, Marawi. She is a resident of Marawi, Lanao del Sur and her research interests include Mindanao Studies, and Philippine Culture and Arts. She has presented a research paper and has published worked in an international publication house and in an international conference for culture and arts.




How to Cite

Ibrahim, N. “An Interpretation on Embossed and Embedded Symbols in Lanao Traditional and Historic Implements of War (The Sundang and the Kampilan)”. TALA: An Online Journal of History, vol. 5, no. 1, June 2022,