Authors: Ben Ruhe, Orly Ongkingco
Date Submitted: August 31, 2003
Article Type: Journal

Continuing his study of kites in the Philippines, Orly Ongkingco has just issued a revised, expanded booklet titled The Philippine Kite. Covering the basics——the invention of the kite, origin of the indigenous Philippine Gurion (swallow) kite, flying traditions in the Philippines, the role of monsoon winds and the rice harvest in the sport, kite fishing and bat catching with leaf kites, and so forth——–Ongkingco breaks some new ground. He shows how the Gurion links in with other similarly shaped Asian kites, the Tombi and Yakko of Japan, the Chula of Thailand, the Janggan of Indonesia, the Wau of Malaysia, the Tukkal of India, the Riu Vang of Vietnam, and the Swallow of China. Illustrations of these various types makes his point convincingly.

In a short section, he touches on the Gurion as a fighter kite, both using ground glass-coated line to slice others out of the sky, but in a unique tradition, the outfitting of the Gurion with protruding bamboo spikes meant to pierce and destroy the other kite in mid-air combat. This Visayan Islands fighting style, he says, is an absolutely unique form of aerial kite combat. (The Visayans are a large island group in the center of the country.)

Nicely and clearly written, the booklet runs 55 pages. To obtain a copy, contact Ongkingco at

PDF Link: Journal Issue