Originally Posted by Battara
Here's the difficulty: Moros more than a century ago (and anyone else then for that matter) are different than their descendants today in a different culture and usage of tools. Much has been lost even in Western generations.
Thus I would not be surprised if there is some truth in both of these views.
Although I have to point out that, due to the isolation of the BangsaMoro from most outside influences and the rest of the Philippines (Luzon, Visayas), they have much better cascading of oral and written tradition regarding their culture, fighting arts, and weaponry. My BangsaMoro friends are able to differentiate the features and nuances of antique and modern weaponry, especially since they have century-old weapons in their keeping (usually family heirlooms). There is also a trend that isolated areas in the Philippines- especially those under military contention- incidentally have the most number of traditional smiths who are able to build traditional blades that are not influenced by modern trends, and are very close in design and function to their antique counterparts.
I would be willing to concede that the panabas can be considered a mop-up weapon IF the survivors were brought to the panabas (situated at camp, inside city walls, or a corner of the battlefield) for summary public execution (yet another intimidation tactic), rather than the panabas be lugged and used against the writhing survivors in the battlefield itself. It's redundant and unnecessary to use a heavy weapon as a mop-up tool, when the warriors who had just survived the battlefield can do the job more efficiently with their lighter weapons.