Filipino Bolo Knife

Survival the J.E.S.T. Way

The bolo knife is the cornerstone of jungle survival in…

The bolo knife is the cornerstone of jungle survival in the Philippines, not to mention the fields, and market places. It serves as their multi-tool.

About three years ago, before my first trip to the Philippines, I heard about a survival training course that was taught to the U.S. soldiers. I was uncertain if it was still around or if it was even available to civilians. Supposedly, skills were taught that included cooking rice in bamboo as well as how to make just about everything a person needed in the jungle out of the same material. I don’t know about you, but that sounds cool, right? Where do I sign up?

A few months ago I took a return trip back to one of my favorite places on earth, Asia. I spent about two months traveling around Southeast Asia, with a great deal of time spent in the Philippines. Whenever I visit another country I always make it a point to get out and see the local landmarks and all the local sights. I guess I am a professional tourist in that way. If time allows, I also try to get out and experience the wilderness of any country I’m in. In this case it would be the jungle in Subic Bay, Philippines.

When chopping bamboo for shelter poles, the cuts must be done cleanly with a single stroke at a steep angle or else the bamboo will split.

Having spent some time in South America and the South Pacific, the jungles of Southeast Asia have always been fascinating to me. Besides, that’s where so many action movies that I grew up with take place, and the jungles there have always been synonymous with survival in some way.

A quick jungle platform bed made by splitting bamboo and laying them down on the rocky uneven ground would have to suffice.

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  • George W. I.

    I ran the 3rd Marine Division Naval Gunfire School which was across the road from the J.E.S.T. School,seems like everyone who went there enjoyed the training but they all snuck in candy bars or jerky to subliment them.


    I did JEST with the Marines back in the 80’s. It was a really educational course. The Negritos new their shit and loved to teach us and laugh at us when we did it wrong.