(March 17, 2007 to June 15, 2007)

Knives of Ilocos Norte.

Blacksmithing is a craft where all the elements in nature – earth, air, wind and fire – are used. Iron ore mined from the earth is extracted through a process where air blown through forge, produces the fire necessary in smelting the metal. Water is used to cool and temper the material.

In most parts of the Philippines, a person skilled in blacksmithing is called panday. San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, is one of the few places in the country where you can still observe pandays at work, painstakingly crafting a variety of implements, including buneng (knife), bolo (long-bladed weapon), kumpay (sickle), arado (plow) and even “Rambo” knife (jungle knife). On market days, you can see an array of beautifully hammered knives, in all sizes and shapes in their leather kallobans (sheaths), crafted also in the same town.

Modern technology may have state-of-the-art implements but the panday-crafted knives are irreplaceable. Every Ilocano housewife will agree that a kitchen is not complete without a panday knife. How else can one get a good slice of lechon without a sharp imuko (carving knife)?

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