An antique gunong from Mindanao.

The gunong or punyal (also known as puñal de kris or kris knife) is a knife from Mindanao, the Philippines. It is essentially a diminutive form of the larger kalis or kris. The gunong serves both as a utility knife and as a thrusting weapon used for close quarter fighting - usually as a last defense. It is most often associated with the Maranao, among whom the gunong was traditionally carried by both sexes. The weapon is generally tucked into the back of a waist sash.

The gunong is one of many bladed weapons portrayed in the "Weapons of Moroland" plaque that has become a common souvenir item and pop culture icon in the Philippines.


The gunong was originally based on the kris (or kalis in Tagalog), a larger dagger created in Indonesia. The kris spread into neighbouring countries including what are now Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand. In the Philippines, the kris and gunong were most common in the Malay-dominant southern province of Mindanao. The tribes carried blades as part of their regular attire, both as a precaution for self-defense and for accomplishing daily tasks.

While the gunong dates back centuries before colonial times, it became more prevalent in 1915 when General John J. Pershing issued an order outlawing the wearing of swords. Now unable to carry traditional machetes or broadswords, people turned to the gunong to fill the gap without arousing the fears of the American colonial authorities. Around this time, the gunong became larger and was crafted with a pistol-grip handle rather than the old straight hilts. More extravagant fittings with chased bands on scabbards, belt clips, guards, and bulbous ferrules also became common. After World War II, thinner-bladed gunong were made from newer materials like nickel and aluminium.

The name punyal may be traced to puñal, the Spanish word for "dagger".[1]


As with its larger relative, the kris or kalis, gunong can be either straight or wavy-bladed. The blade may be single or double-edged[2] and broadens towards the hilt to protect the bearer's fingers. The sheath and the handle can be made from either wood or metal. The style of the hilt can be used to differentiate modern pieces from those made before the American occupation.

See also


  1. "Translate Puñal to English". Retrieved 2008-12-26.
  2. "Punyal". Retrieved 2008-12-26.


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