Episode 1 follows the day to day life challenges and struggles of
Diosdado Ona, one of the last remaining Balisong shopkeepers in Batangas, Philippines as he faces the difficult reality of a dying industry.
An iconic figure amongst his people, he is the owner and operator of the world famous 'Ona's Batangas Blades' in the Batangas region of the Philippines. One of the last remaining sources of the much sought after authentic filipino hand made Balisong. Mr. Ona has been producing and selling his native blades in the Philippines for decades and is renowned for being the most vocal advocate of Balisong preservation. He has a stellar reputation of having the best products in the land and his customer base is worldwide.
Despite his elevated status he is compelled daily to keep the dying balisong industry alive.
WOTB follows Diosdado Ona as he goes about his daily activities and struggles to keep his business alive. The struggle is further complicated by his wife’s sickness and the economic challenge of putting his granddaughter through college.
During the annual Taal Town Festival, the organizers choose to omit the Balisong industrys representation from it’s yearly parade. A very disappointing gesture for the local people who rely on the Balisongs promotion for their livelihood.
Not settling for the lack of representation Mr. Ona, with the help of other Balisong makers, team up to hijack a festival float and erect a 30 foot balisong upon it to ensure that the cottage industry is still very much represented in the festival and remains a part of the town’s identity.
This simple act inspires a sequence of events that brighten the Balisong industry's future.
Sparked by the social media virilaty of Mr.Ona’s actions, his story is picked up and reported by local media which then snowballs to national and international coverage, subsequently being profiled by the History Channel and CNN, leading to an increase in the awareness of his efforts to save the Balisong.
The rise in social media coverage drives a surge in the town’s popularity which rekindled the much needed tourist traffic to revitalize the industry.
Seeing this, the local government proposes, passes and builds the first ever ‘Balisong University’ to promote, educate and save the craft of Balisong Making for future generations.
With the industry on an upswing Mr. Ona celebrates his most cherished personal achievement, funding his granddaughter through college via his hard work and then getting to attend her graduation.
Gathering the necessary materials to construct balisongs is a long and arduous process with lengthy travel times, tested temperament and shear luck.
Mr.Ona’s top craftsman Victor Bautista must make the difficult decision to forego his family’s generational craft and pursue better paying work as an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) in the Middle East. He leaves behind his wife and three children for two to three years despite the reality that OFW work is often hazardous, difficult and uncertain.
The children of Batangas, dazzled by mobile phones and video games are unlikely to continue the cultural industry of their parents.
A 30ft long Balisong is constructed in hopes to inspire and promote the declining industry.
The history of the Balisongs origins are shrouded in mystery. WOTB explores the possible European roots and how the products of the Balisong Industry became popular in the Philippines and spread throughout the world.
The martial arts of the Philippines have grown in popularity and are recognized for it’s adept use of weapons both blunted and bladed with the Balisong being one of the most iconic representatives of FMA’s weaponry.