I was in Manila over the weekend and got talking to a Tausug couple. I told them I was interested in Moro culture and weapons, and we ended up talking about barungs and krises. The man above told me he had an heirloom barung he might be interested in selling. He was hesitant to show it to me at first, but then he went and got it from where he had it hidden. His wife and kids had never seen it before, and he told me he didn’t like handling it or owning it—he wanted to take it back to Jolo, Sulu.
According to the owner, the barung had been in his family for several generations. From the handle, I believe it was made in Basilan. The story was that when his family decided to build a new home, they had to move one of their ancestor’s graves, and this barung was found buried in the grave. In it’s present condition, it is severely rusted and the scabbard had been wrapped in black tape to hold it together. The man above told me he was plagued with dreams after handling the barung because of its long (and possibly bloody) history. I was fascinated by his story and grateful for having a chance to handle an older barung, which he had never shown anyone else. It was surprisingly light. I was lead to believe the older barungs were massive and heavy, but this one was fairly standard as far as barungs go.