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Old 26th February 2024, 10:36 AM   #1
Rafngard
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Default Origin of the term "Garab."

Hello all,

Do we know how the term "Garab" got applied to the nicer older blades from Leyte and Samar?

I ask because I was just in Leyte and Samar, and we talked to Pandayan in both Leyte and Samar, both of whom came from a long line of Pandayan, Federico, who was with me, has also asked some of his cousins and uncles who are Waray-Waray, and all of them say that "Garab" refers to a sickle like blade used to harvest coconuts. The smith in Leyte (Aling Gloria in Carigara) had some for sale; they look like a Sangot.

Oh, and don't worry. We took lots of pics. They'll be in a future post.

Thanks,
Leif
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Old 26th February 2024, 02:43 PM   #2
xasterix
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Originally Posted by Rafngard View Post
Hello all,

Do we know how the term "Garab" got applied to the nicer older blades from Leyte and Samar?

I ask because I was just in Leyte and Samar, and we talked to Pandayan in both Leyte and Samar, both of whom came from a long line of Pandayan, Federico, who was with me, has also asked some of his cousins and uncles who are Waray-Waray, and all of them say that "Garab" refers to a sickle like blade used to harvest coconuts. The smith in Leyte (Aling Gloria in Carigara) had some for sale; they look like a Sangot.

Oh, and don't worry. We took lots of pics. They'll be in a future post.

Thanks,
Leif
Halloo Leif. More than two decades ago, a previous forum member was taught by a Waray elder who used that term for extinct, crescent-shaped Waray battle blades. I use the term "extinct" to refer that they aren't made any more in modern time; diminished versions of these battle blades were last seen in WW2, most of them becoming bringback/souvenir items.

A little less than two decades ago, another previous forum member confirmed the terminology of 'garab' as a war blade with a Waray historian.

Spanish- and American-era documentation commonly described the war blade as 'sundang' and 'talibon' and noted its exemplary ability in chopping off body parts and heads. I've personally used the term 'sundang' because it's technically correct in the Visayan context.

Just recently, I've come across material that defines 'garab' not as a noun (commonly attributed in modern time to a sickle), but rather a verb- "to cut."

With these nuances in mind- many blade researchers have accepted the fact that modern Waray pandays and artisans have long forgotten the 'garab' war blade, and only know the 'sickle' term. I've assessed many modern 'garab' builds, but as far as I can tell, they're all reproductions / attempted copies based on pictures in the Internet, especially from this forum.

The same phenomenon can be seen with other war blades in different PH locations. For example, no one knows anymore how to properly build the WW2-era 'talunasan' from Pangasinan. Nor the 'dahong bolo' in Tagalog areas. Only reproductions or custom versions exist, lacking the proper measurements, streamlining features, and other minute but very important features of the original.

PH war blades are all but extinct as of modern time, and their 'last hurrah' was either turn-of-century 1900, or WW2. While the blade profiles for some may still exist, they're diminished into any of the ff: utility, smaller and/or lighter fighting blades, reproduction/tourist blades.

Last edited by xasterix; 26th February 2024 at 03:07 PM.
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