The Itak

The itak, also referred to as a bolo knife, is a common household tool in the Philippines especially in the countryside. It is typically used for clearing vegetation, chopping firewood, animal butchery, and trail blazing.

The typical household itak design sees the blade swell just before the tip which makes it more efficient for chopping wood or beheading zombies. A variation of the standard design exists featuring a longer and more pointed blade, intended for combat and it has indeed seen action. The itak was used prominently during the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish colonial authorities and later becoming a signature weapon of guerrillas in the Philippine-American War.

Andres Bonifacio, probably it’s most famous user, is often depicted in sculptures and paintings holding an itak in one hand and a flag in the other.

Ease of Handling

You don’t really need special training in handling an itak (though it definitely will help) since it is very straightforward in its use. It’s also quite versatile, effective both as a slashing and a stabbing weapon when the occasion calls for it (which it most probably will). A certain level of awareness is required however as it is a single edge blade and one must make sure that the sharp side and the business end (i.e., the pointy end) must be facing outwards and away from you at all times. Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) schools frequently trains its practitioners in its use (along with other indigenous weapons) both as a defensive and offensive weapon.


The itak is widely available since most Filipino families still use it for daily household chores as well as for home defense. While its use is more widespread in the provinces, it is not at all uncommon to find one in the kitchen of a city dwelling Filipino family. Itaks are sold not only in hardware stores but also in local wet markets and are usually reasonably priced, adding to their popularity.


The itak is a no nonsense tool and doesn’t need a lot of ritual to keep it in fine working order. Most of the time all it needs is to be washed, wiped, and kept dry when not in use. Having said that, most of the household variety version of the itak will need constant and regular sharpening as it does not hold an edge very well, having been made from sub-standard materials which will explain its relative affordability. Those made specifically for combat purposes however, will be made of sterner stuff and will stay sharp longer.


The itak is primarily a cutting tool and is often used to butcher pigs and chickens during preparations for Filipino festivities making it the ideal tool for decapitating the undead. With its particular design it makes the work of chopping easier to accomplish.

The itak is a definite must have in your arsenal because it is both a weapon and a tool, thereby lessening the amount of equipment you’ll need to carry with you to survive in a post zombie apocalypse world. Unlike other exotic weapons however, the itak is pretty conventional as far as blades goes, making it significantly easier to use – very important in a post zombie apocalyptic world where there’s not a whole lot of room for trial and error.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. The itak is truly a weapon and a tool. But some old folks in my province said that they use that too for circumcising boys in the old days. That’s not right. 🙂


    1. jonasdiego says:

      Ack! That’s horrible!


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