Moros of Mindanao occasionally used the panabas, a fairly rare and large heavy chopping weapon that ranges from 60 to 120 centimeters in length (13-16). It can deliver horrible cleaving blows and was sometimes used for executions. As a weapon of execution, the panabas also came to symbolize the power and prestige of the chieftain (datu) in his ability to control violence. It was used as a combat weapon and as a display of power. Sometimes on the battlefield warriors wielding the panabas would follow the main group of warriors, mopping up any survivors after the first wave of attack.
Panabas blades are curved, being wider at the tip than at the hilt, and made of laminated steel. A rare form of panabas has an “S” shaped blade sharpened partially along the backside. File work in the form of talismanic “X” are found on some of the spines. Hilts are made of hardwood often wrapped in braided rattan, although some are wrapped in metal bands. Scabbards for this weapon were made of plain wood and are rare. Warriors frequently discarded the scabbards prior to battle, contributing to their scarcity today. Sometimes panabas were carried into battle wrapped in cloth and slung across the back.