Thursday, August 7, 2008

History of Music Education in the Philippines

by Leticia G. del Valle

Music education is the dissemination of music knowledge, skills and appreciation. The process may occur in the structured setting of a school or in a more informal manner.

Music permeates the daily lives of indigenous culture groups. it is used in connection with life-cycle events such as birth, courtship, marriage and death. Occupational activities such as planting, harvesting, hunting and fishing and functions such as peace pacts and victory celebrations are occasions for music making. Lullabies are sung to put babies to sleep, instruments are played to drive away evil spirits and songs and chants accompany the playing of children. In these communities, singing of songs and playing of instruments are naturally learned through participation. Formal ways of learning are however practiced among many culture groups.

A Maranao lad who wishes to specialize in singing certain types of the extensive Maranao vocal repertoire studies with a professional singer in a kasombak (apprenticeship) system. He stays with the goro (teacher) and does daily chores for free instruction, board and lodging. The training of the morit (student) begin with the learning of songs by rote, gradually progressing to creating improvisations and variations and ends with the student singing in his own style songs prepared by the teacher. Training includes learning the vocabulary and grammar of specific song languages, and other aspects of performance (Cadar, 1981). Among the Tausug highly formalized systems of instruction are practiced in the study of the purely vocal tradition, mixed vocal-instrumental genres such as the paggabang, and solo instruments such as the tata gabbang (solo gabbang) and tata biyula (solo biyula. Trimillos, 1972).

The Spanish colonizers who arrived in the 1500's brought with them missionaries who established churches, convents and schools in different parts of the islands. Among them were church musicians and music teachers who composed and performed liturgical music, wrote books on music and taught young Filipino boys to sing the Gregorian chant and play instruments for church services. Among the schools established was a Franciscan seminary in Lumban, Laguna in 1606 where 400 boys were trained in singing and playing of instruments. Many years later, the Colegio de los Niños Tiples de la Santa Iglesia Cathedral, a school noted for its excellent training of boy's, choirs, offered classes in solfeggio, vocalization, composition and the playing of organ and other stringed instruments. Graduates of the school included musicians such as Salvador Pinon, Fulgencio Tolentino, Antonio Garcia, and Simplicio Solis. Founded in 1742, the Colegio existed until the outbreak of the Second World War (Banas, 1969). In the 1800's a rich musical life developed in the urban areas particularly in Manila and the more affluent provinces. This was brought about by a large number of visiting foreign musicians, singers and opera companies who performed in the theaters and concert halls of Manila and in some cities in the South. These musical events contributed greatly to the music education of the Filipinos along secular forms of Western music. (Guevara, 1971).

The American colonial government established public schools all over the islands. The first teachers were American soldiers who were later replaced by the Thomasites. Curricula of these schools included music in the elementary level. Music instruction concentrated based on the Progressive Music Series, a graded foreign collection of songs, and a Philippine edition of the same series by Norberto Romualdez. Similar materials which were used much later were the 6 volumes of the Bureau of Public School Series which consisted of basic songs (the Philippine National Anthem and other patriotic songs) folk songs of the Philippines and other countries, works of Filipino and foreign composers and suggestions for the teaching of rondalla and rhythm band. (Yamson, 1972).

In 1966, the Philippine Congress passed Republic Act No. 4723 popularly known as the Music Law which provided for the teaching of music and art as a separate subject in the elementary level and the teaching of music once a week for one hour in the secondary level (Yamzon, 1972). The New Elementary School Curriculum of 1982 however, required the teaching of music as a separate subject only from grades III to VI and its integration with other subjects in Grades I & II. In the high school, music was made a part of a subject area, PEHM, which includes Physical Education and Health. Content of instruction consists of a study of Philippine, Asian and Western music. The Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA) is a special secondary school established by the government in 1977 which provides training in music, dance and the visual arts. Here, music scholars are given instruction in performance, theory and literature as well as academic subjects. In the tertiary level, schools of education offer PEHM specialization and 6 units of music for students studying for a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree. Colleges and universities offer undergraduate and graduate courses in music. Various courses range from a Diploma in Music, Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in Performance (major in piano, voice, strings, winds, or percussion) Composition, Musicology, Conducting and Music Education, to a Diploma or Certificate in Performance.

The University of the Philippines (UP) College of Music is one of the leading schools of music in the country. Originally a conservatory patterned after European and American music schools, the College today has strong multicultural thrust reflected in the integration of non-western music courses of studies in the fabric of its over-all curriculum program. Other schools with strong departments offering music degrees are: the University of Sto Tomas (UST), St. Scholastica's College, Philippine Women's University, St. Paul's College, Sta. Isabel College, Centro Escolar University, Asian Institute of Liturgy and Silliman University. Music instruction are also being provided by tutors, numerous private studios teaching art and popular music, and music organizations that hold seminars and workshops to improve the quality of instruction in their specific fields of specialization.

The Philippines Society for Music Education (PSME) founded in 1971 is the main organization in the country actively engaged in upgrading the standards of classroom music teaching in the elementary and secondary schools today. It took over the work begun by the Philippine National Society of Music Education (PNSME), which was founded in the early 1960's and was active until 1970. Other music organizations are the Piano Teachers Guild of the Philippines, Kodaly Society of the Philippines, Aschero Society of the Philippines, the Philippine Federation of Choral Music, and the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) Foundation.


Alzona, Encarnacion. A History of Education in the Philippines from 1565 to 1930. Manila. University of the Philippines Press, 1932

Banas, Raymundo C. Filipino Music and Theater. Quezon City: Manlapaz Publishing Co., 1969

Cadar, Usopay. Handog. Context and Style in the Vocal Music of the Maranao in Mindanao, Philippines. Ph. D. dissertation. University of Washington, 1980

Dioquino, Corazon. Education. CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, Vol. VI. Manila: Cultural Center of the Phils. 1996

Guevara, Leticia L. References to Music in periodicals (1862-1918) at the Filipiniana, National Library. Master's Thesis. UP College of Music 1971

Parker, Horatio et al. The Progressive Music Series. New York: Silver Burlett Co. 1924

__________ The Progressive Music Series. Phil. Edition. Compiled by Norberto Romualdez. New York: Silver Burdett Co., 1925

Trimillis, Ricardo. Tradition and Repertoire in the Cultivated Music of the Tausug of Sulu, Philippines. University of Hawaii, 1972

About the Author:

Leticia G. del Valle is a professor of Music Education of the U.P. College of Music. She is the vice president for Planning and Implementation of the Philippine Society for Music Education (PSME) and is a member of the Technical Panel for the Humanities of the Commission for Higher Education (CHED). She is also a consultant for DECS' Office of Culture and Arts.

Asiatic Musical Traditions in the Philippines

by Jonas Baes

A Southeast Asian Musical Tradition is practiced by those who resisted Spanish—and later American—Colonial Rule, comprising roughly 10% of the Philippine population. These musical traditions relate to the social, political and economic life of the people, and are connected to their spiritual beliefs and their relationship to the natural environment.

Generally, two "types" of Southeast Asian music could be found in the archipelago. A "northern tradition" found in the Cordillera Mountains in northern Luzon and a "southern tradition" found in the islands of Mindoro, Palawan, and in Mindanao and the Sulu group of islands in the extreme south. Northern traditions relate to various music cultures in continental Southeast Asia while southern traditions relate to the immediate islands in insular Southeast Asia.

Some of the language groups in the north are the Kalinga, Bontok, Kankana-ey, Ifugao, Isneg, Ibaloi, Ilonggot, Karao, Isneg and the Tingguian. In Mindanao in the south, Islamic groups consist of the Maguindanao, Maranao, Yakan, Sangil, Tausug, Sama, Badjao, and the Jama Mapun. Non-Moslem groups, sometimes referred to collectively by outsiders as Lumads, consist of the Manobo, Bagobo, Subanun, Tiruray, Tagabili, Mandaya, Mansaka, the T’boli and the B’laan. The Pala-wan, Tagbanwa and Cuyunin are located in the island of Palawan, while various groups like the Hanunoo-Mangyan, the Alangan and the Iraya are collectively called the Mangyan and are located in the island of Mindoro, south of Luzon.

Gong types clearly distinguish between northern and southern traditions. Peoples of the Cordillera highlands utilize graduated flat gongs (gangsa) that are played in ensembles of six to eight—or in other cases with other musical instruments like the drum or a pair of iron bars—utilizing a particular musical structure of interlocking patterns. In the island of Mindanao, however, bossed gongs of various profiles are played in ensembles, usually led by a row of gongs (kulintang) and supported or accompanied by other gongs such as, among the Maguindanao, and the Maranao, the agung, the gandingan and the babandil and a drum, the dabakan. Among the Tiruray, the agung ensemble is made up of five individual gongs, each played by one person. Among the Bagobo, these gongs of the agung type called tagunggo are suspended with ropes and played by two, three or more persons. Smaller suspended gongs, on the other hand, are sometimes called kulintang. Bossed gongs are also found in Palawan and in Mindoro.

The flat gong traditions in the north relate to similar traditions found among, for instance, the Mnong Gar of North Vietnam while just the same, similar traditions of bossed gong ensembles in Mindanao are found in the islands of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Sumatra, and elsewhere in the southern archipelago. In both the northern and southern traditions, however, gongs are associated with important community celebrations such as harvests and rituals.

Aside from gongs, other musical instruments in the north such as nose flutes, bamboo buzzers, clappers, quill-shaped percussion tubes and brass jew’s harps relate to continental Southeast Asia, while ring flutes log drums, xylophones, suspended beams, two-stringed boat lutes and bamboo jew’s harps relate to insular Southeast Asia.

Another feature that delineates between musical traditions is the rhythmic, speech-like enunciation that characterizes the singing style of the north, as contrasted by a more melismatic, long-phrased style in the south. Vocal genres in the north include epics such as the ullalim among the Kalinga and other songs for various occasions and celebrations as the ading and the oggayam. The alisiq is sung for curing the sick while the ibil laments the death of a person. Leader-chorus singing among councils of elders relates to the leadership structure of northern communities. The ayyeng among the Bontok and the Liwliwa among the Kankana-ey exemplify leader-chorus type of singing.

In the south, the use of a tense, high-pitched style with complex melismas characterizes solo singing among the Moslem groups. This style is used in the singing of epics such as the Radya Indara Patra and the Diwata Kasalipan among the Maguindanao, the bayok a love song among the Maguindanao and the Maranao, and the Tausug lugu, a solo song sung in Arabic, mostly by women, for important Islamic ceremonies. A more "relaxed" style in the natural speaking range with less melisma is used by non-Moslem groups. Among the Manobo, for instance, singing is accompanied by a two-stringed boat lute and/or a bamboo polychordal zither.

Aside from the northern and southern linguistic groups, the Ayta is found in many parts in the entire archipelago. Having been traditionally mobile, these groups of Filipino appear to have syncretized their culture with proximal cultures. For instance, Ayta groups in northern Luzon utilize a flat gong they refer to as gangha.

While the music of these peoples relate very much to their social and natural environment, their continuous absorption into the mainstream Philippine culture seems to pose a threat to their survival and the cultivation of their culture.

About the Author:

Jonas Baes has done research on the Iraya-Mangyan music of Mindoro which has been published in journals such as "Ethnomusicology" and the "International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music". He teaches at the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music, the Philippine High School for the Arts, and the University of the Philippines.

Philippine Liturgical Music

by Manuel P. Maramba, OSB

When the first Spanish missionaries came to the Philippines in the 16th century, the Catholic faith they preached to the natives was expressed in a liturgy that was in Latin and the music that went with it was Western. They celebrated the liturgy using Gregorian chant, polyphonic Masses and motets, and hymns, all in Latin. Gradually they instructed the natives not only in singing but also in playing various instruments like guitar, violin, flute, harp and later on, the organ. In 1857 a boys choir was formed in the Dominican convent of Sto. Domingo which evolved into a music school. Later a fine organ was installed in the church. The first orchestra was formed in the Augustinian Convent of Guadalupe in 1601. In 1643, Fray Juan de Torres established the Manila Orchestra. In 1742, the Colegio de Niños Tiples de la Iglesia Cathedral was founded. Between 1816-1824, Fr. Diego de Cerra built a unique instrument, the famous Las Piñas Bamboo Organ which is still being used for liturgical services in the Parish Church of St. Joseph. It contains 950 bamboo pipes with 22 stops, 43 pipes for each register and 12 pedals. In 1870 the Augustinian Fray Toribio organized an orchestra at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros. The orchestra was led by Marcelo Adonay, the first native Filipino to compose a Mass. Other Filipino musicians were Pantaleon Lopez and Ladislao Bonus.

The Christianized natives did not find the Latin liturgical celebrations in church adequate enough to express their faith. so there evolved extra liturgical services in which they could perform music that was more to their taste: they sang songs in Spanish and gradually included songs in their own vernacular language. Thus, during the Advent-Christmas season, aside from the Simbang Gabi (or Misa de Aguinaldo) they held the Panunuluyan and the Pamamasko where Spanish, Mexican and local villancicos were sung. During the Lenten season, in their homes they held the Pabasa, or public chanting of the Pasyon. On Easter Sunday, the Salubong was held early in the morning in the plaza before the dawn Mass. For the celebrations of All Saints' Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls' Day (Nov. 2), aside from going to Mass and to the cemetery to give honor to the departed, singing groups called pangangaluluwa pretending to be the wandering souls of the dead, would go from house to house begging for prayers and alms. In the month of May, devotion to Mary took the form of the "Flores de Mayo". Also in May, to commemorate the finding of the Cross by Empress Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, there is the Santacruzan. In all these extra-liturgical celebrations Spanish and vernacular hymns were sung with music which was not like the Gregorian chant or classical polyphony or Latin hymns that were sang in the Church. In October, the Rosary with the litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary were chanted or sung in the vernacular. During Novenas especially to patron saints, Spanish and vernacular songs as well as prayers were the rule. Gradually, non-Latin songs entered into the Simbang Gabi celebrations (with castanets and tambourine and even bird whistles). other extra-liturgical celebrations were more theatrical, like the Senakulo and the Moriones (Marinduque) during Holy Week. Others were dances in honor of the local patron saints like the Ati-atihan (Aklan) in honor of Santo Niño and the dancing during the procession in honor of Santa Clara (Obando) and other celebrations in honor of Santo Niño in Cebu, Pandacan, Tondo, etc. Up to the end of the Spanish rule, the Christianized Filipinos attended the religious services in church mostly as audience while music was sung by trained choirs in the Parish Churches accompanied by the organ and some instruments, even an orchestra. After these celebrations, they had their own extra-liturgical celebrations with their own sacred and religious songs and dances.

At the beginning of the 20th century the situation begun to change. On November 22, 1903 Pope Pius X issued his motu propio, "Tra le Sollicitudine" to reform the liturgy. He encouraged the participation of the congregation in the liturgical celebrations. The liturgy was still in Latin but bishops and pastors were instructed to teach the faithful to sing the ordinary of the Mass at least in Gregorian chant. As the faithful were taught to sing the Latin Mass, gradually vernacular songs were introduced side by side. Several German & French dioceses had special concessions to sing parts of the ordinary of the Mass in the vernacular (the German singmesse). In other places, especially in the missions, where such concessions were not given, vernacular songs with religious texts (though not,liturgical texts) were introduced.

At the start of the American rule in the Philippines, the new missionaries, this time coming from the United States of America, introduced English hymns and songs in English. Missionaries from Europe taught English translations of their own vernacular hymns, such as the German hymns: Grosser Got Wir Loben Dich (Holy God, We Praise thy Name), Lobe den Herren (Praise to the Lord) & Stille Nacht (Silent Night); the French Lourdes hymn (Immaculate Mother), Cantique de Noel (O Holy Night); even the Latin hymn: Veni Veni Emmanuel (O Come, O Come Emmanuel). A four-hymn pattern for Mass started to evolve. The liturgy was still in Latin but the faithful would sing at the entrance, offertory, communion, and after the Mass using vernacular songs.

Although some Protestant missionaries like the Methodists started to arrive toward the end of the Spanish rule (last half of the 19th century), the advent of American rule signaled an influx of Protestant missionaries, mainly American. They brought with them a liturgy that emphasized the participation of the congregation in singing hymns not in Latin but in their vernacular (English). The Protestant liturgy was alive with congregational participation and in a language the congregation could understand. The Aglipayan Church which was also founded at this time separated itself from the main Catholic body and introduced the use of the vernacular in their liturgy. Local sects (like Iglesia ni Cristo) were being formed and the services were in the vernacular.

Catholic composers followed the example of Marcelo Adonay who composed Liberamus (1869), Benedictus (1895), Hosanna (1899), and Te Deum and a grand mass. Ave Marias were composed by Nicanor Abelardo, Francisco Santiago, Francisco Buencamino, Sr., and Manuel Veluz. The songs were usually sung by a soloist during the offertory or communion on Sundays, as well as during weddings and funerals. Masses were written by Antonio J. Molina, Juan Hernandez & Antonio Buenaventura, all in Latin. A few non-Latin hymns were written during the period (first half of the 20th century): Nomas Amor que el tuyo by Simeon Resurrecion and Gloria a Jesus en el Cielo which was composed for the International Eucharistic Congress in 1937. The Benedictine Jaime Bofill, OSB composed O Nino Dios in honor of the Sto. Niño de Prada enshrined in the Benedictine la Virgen in honor of the La Naval statue which had been venerated at the Dominican Convent of Santo Domingo since the 17th century.

On December 25, 1955, Pope Pius XII issued his encyclical letter "Musicae Sacrae Disciplina" on Sacred Music and on September 3, 1958, the Sacred Congregation of Rites issued an Instruction, "De Musica Sacra" which detailed new norms on sacred music. Among the norms was a universal concession to sing sacred vernacular songs during the Latin liturgy.

When the preparatory Commissions were preparing for the Vatican Council II after the announcement made by Pope John XXIII in 1958 that he will convene a General Council, there was a strong lobby to change the Tridentine decree that required Latin to be used in the liturgy. The Council convened in 1962 and on December 4, 1963 approved its first document, the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, "Sacrosanctum Concilium". The document permitted the translation of parts of the liturgy (especially the Mass) into the vernacular. Subsequent documents would eventually allow more parts to be translated until the whole liturgy was in the vernacular.

On January 1964, the bishops of the Philippines met in Cebu City and immediately approved the use of Philippine languages for the liturgy in addition to English and Spanish. The approved languages were: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Pangasinan, Pampango, Bicolano, Hiligaynon, & Waray. Ibanag and Chavacano were later approved and all were confirmed by Rome.

Filipino composers were at first in a quandary as to what music to use in the liturgy since there was no Filipino liturgical tradition to speak of. The Spanish colonial music that evolved during the more than three centuries of Spanish rule and which spilled over to the 20th century after the coming of the American rule was mostly secular in character, and at best used in extra-liturgical services. Some masses and other hymns and prayers like Ave Maria, Stabat Mater, Tantum Ergo, O Salutaris have been set to music in this style.

The first attempt was to translate the English text of hymns into the vernacular which proved to be a disaster for the most part. The Benedictine Abbey of Our lady of Monserrat in Manila introduced the Pilipino chant adopted from indigenous ethnic chants from the north: (Kalinga), from Mindoro (Mangyan) and from Mindanao (taken from the collection of Dr. Jose Maceda of UP). This was presented to the bishops in their meeting in Baguio City in January 1965. This chant was flexible enough to be sung in different languages and was published in English, Cebuano, & Bicol. One bishop commented: "Why use these pre-Hispanic chants when the Filipino Christians are more familiar with Spanish colonial music developed during the three centuries of Spanish rule?" Another approach was to adopt foreign songs especially American songs and music composed and compiled by the Taize Community in France.

At the forefront of the liturgical reform in the Archdiocese of Manila was a Belgian missionary, Fr. John Vanders Sten CICM, who was the director of the Manila Cathedral Choir as well as the San Carlos Major Seminary choir. With Sr. Graciana Raymundo, DC, dean of the College of Music of La Concordia and the Benedictine monks, Fr. Van de Steen, CICM organized concerts of Sacred Music in the Abbey Church of Our Lady of Monserrat and the Manila Cathedral and other venues. Seminars on Sacred Music, the forerunner of the Manila Archdiocesan Institute of Music in the Liturgy (now based in Sta. Isabel College).

In the 1970's the Jesuits spearheaded the introduction of Spanish colonial music into the liturgy. Fr. Eduardo Hontiveros, SJ was at the head of this movement with his confreres Fr. Nemy S. Que, SJ, Fr. Fruto Ramirez, SJ and later joined by the young Fr. Manuel Francisco, SJ. Most of the songs they composed were in Tagalog liturgy. In Davao City in Mindanao, Narcisa Fernandez, a music graduate wrote for the Cebuano liturgy. In Cebu, a musician educated in the USA, Msgr. Rudy Villanueva, enriched the music for the Cebuano liturgy. Lucio San Pedro & Edgardo Parungao made their own contributions in a more classical but traditional style. Ernani Cuenco used a more popular style; Lucresia Kasilag composed a mass with ethnic influences and Ryan Cayabyab, in his own personal idiom, rhythmic and melodious, composed a mass which was even choreographed and performed at the Manila Cathedral.

The Benedictine Missionary Sisters of Tutzing (St. Scholastica's College) helped in the reform, not only by composing new songs but, in addition, through a collection of hymns and songs for the liturgy: "PAX". They also conducted Summer Sessions on Liturgical Music with students coming from all over the country. Foremost among them is Sr. Mary Placid Abejo, OSB, the dean of the College of Music. Under her direction, the sisters put together music for the Liturgy of the Hours (the Roman Office) which is used widely among religious communities.

The Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Our Lady of Monserrat (San Beda College) set their monastic Liturgy of the Hours to music by composing new chant formulae. Pasyon chants were adapted for use in the Holy Week liturgical celebrations. Music for the All Soul's Day Mangangaluluwa were adapted for the funeral liturgical rites. Christmas carols and mass songs were composed for the Simbang Gabi liturgies including the midnight mass. Plain chant is still sung by the monks in their daily compline office, in the office of vigils,especially of Christmas, and on special occasions.

In the 1980's, the Benedictine monks conducted Seminars on Liturgy during Easter week. These later evolved into the Paul VI Institute of Liturgy when the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) requested the Philippine Benedictines who belong to the Subiaco Congregation to establish a liturgical institute not only for the Philippines, but also for Asia. Fr. Anscar Chupungco, OSB, a Filipino Benedictine who had been elected president of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy in Rome for four consecutive terms, was appointed the first director of Paul VI Institute of Liturgy. The Institute is located on the grounds of the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Malaybalay City, in Bukidnon, Mindanao. Among the liturgical subjects offered is liturgical music. The Institute also offers one week seminars for composers of liturgical music. The Institute attracts students from all over Asia and even some missionaries from the United States of America and Europe. The Institute is preparing for the publication of Misa ng Bayang Pilipino, the Roman Mass for the dioceses in the Philippines with music by Dom Benildus Ma. Maramba, OSB. The Misa was prepared under the direction of Dom Chupungco, OSB, an expert in liturgical inculturation, after extensive research, studies, and consultations on Filipino culture and values as well as language. The Misa has been approved by the CBCP and has been submitted to Rome for confirmation. Music for the new ICEL translation of the Liturgy of the Hours has also been composed.

The Conservatory of Music of the University of Sto Tomas offers a course towards a diploma in Sacred Music. The conservatory has two choirs in residence: the Coro Tomasino under Professor Ricardo Mazo and the Liturgikon under Dom Maramba, OSB and Fr. Nilo Mangusad. These choirs sing at important liturgical services at the university chapel with the UST symphony orchestra. Dom Maramba, OSB has composed several masses for these occasions: mass in honor of St. Lorenzo Ruiz on the occasion of his canonization, for two choirs, soloist, organ and orchestra; mass in honor of St. Joseph for choir, soloist, and orchestra; and mass for the novena in honor of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (La Naval) for choir, congregation and orchestra.

The UST Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Professor Herminigildo Ranera with musicians from St. Scholastica's College and other schools, performed at the Papal Mass during the World Youth Day in Manila on January 15, 1995. The choir consisted of more than 700 members organized and rehearsed under the leadership of Sr. Mary Placid Abejo, OSB. It was a Filipino liturgy with the Mass mainly in Filipino composed by Dom. Maramba, OSB. Pope John Paul II celebrated the Eucharistic liturgy with more than five million people.

The Asian Institute of Liturgy and Music (1977) admits students from different Christian communions from all over Asia and the Pacific even from Africa. It emphasizes inculturation of music in the liturgy and encourages the use of indigenous instruments in the liturgical celebrations. The head of the Institute is Dr. Francisco Feliciano.

Catholics seminaries and houses of formation (Immaculate Conception Seminary, Malolos; Our Lady of the Angels Seminary, Franciscans; Holy Rosary Major Seminary, Naga; John Paul I Biblical Institute, Vigan; St. Francis Regional Seminary, Davao; etc.) as well as Protestant Institutions (Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music, Quezon City; Adventists University of the Philippines, Silang; etc.) are active in producing and compiling new music. Other composers in the different regions are also contributing their talents: Damaso Panganiban, Lipa; Nilo Mangusad, Manila; Crispin Cadiang, San Fernando, Pampanga; Floro Bautista, Bangued; Lorenzo Jarcia, Naga; Nestor Alagbate, Daet; Ronaldo Samonte, Malolos; Nathaniel Cabanero, Kidapawan; Pablito Maghari, Antique; and Vicencio Neniel, Davao.

Liturgical Music in the Philippines is now in ferment trying to find its identity amidst so much diversity. Composers from different linguistic and subcultural groups have composed music for the liturgy in the vernacular. The music has become ecumenical. It is not surprising that Lutheran, Anglican and Methodist hymns and even Baptist gospel songs as well as charismatic songs find their way into Catholic liturgical celebrations. It is not also unusual to hear music by Hontiveros, Francisco or other Filipino Catholic composers in the liturgical celebrations of other Christian communions. Today, Sunday liturgies, Catholic or Protestant, are alive with active participation of the assembly in a liturgy that is gradually being inculturated and acquiring Filipino features. Filipino Christians of various communions can now pray and sing together with songs whose provenance really does not matter provided that it proclaims their same faith in Christ, their common Redeemer and Saving Lord.

About the Author:

Manuel P. Maramba, OSB graduated with a Master of Music and an Artist's Diploma in piano at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. An active member of the League of Filipino Composers, his major works include "Awakening", (1981) and a full-length ballet "Seven Mansions"; concerto for Piano (1982); "Transfiguration I" for Strings, Woodwinds, and Bass (1983; and "Transfiguration II", a sacred cantata on San Lorenzo Ruiz and is responsible for the highly-successful operas "Aba! Sto. Niño" and "La Naval". He is the Assistant Director of the Paul VI Institute of Liturgy in Malaybalay, Bukidnon and teaches at the UST Conservatory of Music and the Central Seminary.


by Jun Bautista

Prof. Renato Hebron is the newest addition to the Music Consultant team of the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA).

The announcement was made by Cecile Guidote Alvarez, NCCA Executive Director last August 4, 2008 in a courtesy call made with Dr. Vilma Labrador, NCCA Chairman. This led to an hour-long discussion about the commission’s thrust on cultural caregiving where Prof. Hebron will serve as principal lecturer and workshop moderator on the field of music.

Prof. Renato Hebron is a Musicologist and a Training and Development Specialist who has given lectures in local and international music and choral workshops. Under his tutelage, he developed the talents of indigent children like the Cercado Sisters from Santiago, Isabela to win the highest honor in the 2006 World Championship of the Performing Arts (WCoPA) in Hollywood, USA. The Cercado Sisters also won 16 gold medals in that competition which made them as the only performer that garnered the most number of golds in WCoPA’s history. Aside from this, Prof. Hebron also regularly contributes his arrangements and orchestrations of mass and other songs through the BukasPalad online community to help enhance the celebration of liturgical services.

Philippine Music Education

by Mauricia D. Borromeo

Education in Music, or the acquisition of musical knowledge, skills, and values, is shaped by its purpose and context. In the Philippines, it may variably mean: a) an avenue for the transmission of a culture or tradition; b) a curricular component in basic education; and c) a prescribed sequence of study in preparation for professional careers in music.

Oral Transmission

The principal aim in education among ethno-linguistic groups is to continue their tradition. These groups keep alive Southeast Asian indigenous music, the oldest type of Philippine Music. For example, the palook (use of stick beaters) and topayya (use of the hands) styles of playing the gangsa (flat gongs) in the Cordillera Highlands of Northern Luzon are learned by young Kalinga boys through keen observation and imitation of a customary circle of tutors- family, peers, or town elders. Able to practice only on bamboo instruments, (traditionally, gong playing in the absence of ritual or social event is frowned upon) actual playing on the gongs takes place at the social gatherings in which music-making is a participatory and communal experience. As adults, they will form a pool of musicians needed for non-stop strenuous gangsa playing during celebrations that last for days.

Unlike the gangsa, the kulintang (a row of knobbed gongs of graduated sizes) is taught directly on the instrument itself, and by a tutor. He/She employs the techniques of rote-learning (imitation and repetition of a pattern demonstrated by the teacher), the use of the kamblala, a set of patterns to be memorized, then played and sung simultaneously by the student; and kinesthetic guiding of the hands to teach muscular coordination. (Cadar, 1975). The Maranaos (and other Muslim communities of Southern Philippines) value the study and performance of kulintang for its social significance, serving as an occasion for community entertainment, social contacts, competitions, ethical learning and exercise of self-discipline.

In the context of guru-pupil relationship, the Tausug tata gabbang (a bamboo xylophone played alone) and tata biyula (a bowed string instrument played alone) are similarly taught. Male students living with a male guru render household services in return for free room and board while female students come to the house of a male guru for lessons. (Trimillos, 1972)

The highly specialized and multi-faceted apprenticeship of the Maranao princess, Sindao Banisil, a pabubayok and onor (artist) in the study of Bayok (Maranao vocal genre) was entrusted to a team of five women, all aunts of hers. Starting at age six, she learned from these tutors various aspects of Bayok artistry: memorization, and extemporizing on text models, chanting techniques, and proper application of vocal devices, improvisation, and other skills like dancing, playing on instruments, good manners, personal grooming- all relative to the art. Sindao, a prodigious pupil, reached professional status at age 15, when she easily won over established pabubayok in several competitions. (Santos, 1989).

Music in Basic Education

The New Elemetary School Curriculum (NESC) and the Secondary Education Development Program (SEDP) which were prescribed and instituted in 1982, and 1989 respectively by the then Department of Culture (DEC) and Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) constitute a continuum of academic preparation for college. The inclusion of the subject of music is premised aesthetic (musical) and utilitarian (extra-musical) contributions to general on its education and the national culture. Music instruction in both public and private elementary schools are of the general music type (as distinct from performance classes) commonly used in the United States. The overall aim is to develop basic music literacy. The graded learning outcomes are based on the elements of music- rhythm, melody, harmony, form timbre, texture dynamics and using the conceptual and spiral approaches which are hallmarks of western music education. The repertoire includes Spanish/European/American/ influenced Philippine Music and foreign songs. Accordingly, the skills of singing, music reading, responding to the elements receive much attention. In some schools, the general music classes are complemented by voluntary participation in performance groups (Rhythm Band, Child Choir, Ethnic Ensembles) organized outside of the regular class time.

In high school, the foundation of singing, music reading, responding and listening to music is further developed and applied to the study of various genres of Philippine Asian, and Western Music within the framework of the PEHM subject area (Physical Education, Health, and Music). The skills of improvising and creating are encouraged. Recently, the subject of art was added to the time allotted to music.

Specialized Training in Higher Education

Various undergraduate music programs are available at the University of the Philippines (UP), University of Sto. Tomas (UST), Philippine Women's University, Centro Escolar University, St. Scholastica's College, Sta. Isabel College, St. Paul College, the Asian Institute of Liturgical Music, all in Metro Manila, and Silliman University (Dumaguete City), University of San Agustin (Iloilo), Univesity of the Immaculate Concepcion (Davao). Depending upon the institution, certificates, diplomas, or degrees are earned in instrumental and vocal performance, composition, conducting, music education, musicology, Asian music, dance, music, theater, and church music. The content and methodology of courses reflect a heavy orientation towards repertoire and standards of Western music. Increased awareness of this imbalance has led to the gradual inclusion of non-Western, Asian, and Philippine music in the curricula over the past decades by the University of the Philippines and others. The use of technology in music is a recent trend. Distance education, if used judiciously, will usher in unexplored alternatives for certain aspects of music training.

The overall picture of Philippine Music Education is not without problems, i.e. full implementation of the Music Law, R.A. 4723, teacher quality and development, dearth of relevant materials, student assessment, funding, etc.. But with the continued support of government institutions like the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, Commission on Higher Education, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, educational institutions, and organizations like the National Music Competition for Young Artists, and Kodaly Society of the Philippines, Filipinos can look forward to Music Education in the twenty-first century that is global and truly Philippine in its use of indigenous learning, current pedagogical trends, non-Western and Western repertoire, and music technology.


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Trimillos, Ricardo. Traditions and Repertoire in the Cultivated Music of the Tausug of Sulu, Philippines. Ph.D. Dissertation. UCLA, 1972

About the Author:

Mauricia D. Borromeo obtained graduate degrees from the University of the Philippines and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where she was twice awarded the much-coveted Levi Harbour Scholarship for Asian Women. She chairs the UP Music Education Department and is a member of the Executive Committee on Music, National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Art Music Form

by Ramon P. Santos, Ph. D.

Art music forms in Philippine music consist of locally composed works that have used standard formats of Western music. These forms evolved through the introduction and assimilation of European classical music which includes both religious and secular compositions. Before the American colonial regime, Filipino musicians who received their musical training mostly from the clergy, produced masses, hymns and vespers for use in the liturgical services. Some of these works were quite elaborate, some with orchestral accompaniment.

Some of the Early secular forms of entertainment are the awit and kurido, which replaced some of the ancient epics of communities that had been converted to Christianity. These metrical romances written in octosyllabic and dodecasyllabic quatrains told of saintly and heroic tales in medieval Europe, and the crusades against the Moors. Local versions were written and performed by local playwrights and artists and flourished in the Tagalog, Ilokano, Pampango, Bikol and Ilongo.

The Spanish comedia was the early form of theater that was introduced to the people in the late 16th century. The first comedias were religious dramas. In the 18th century more and more comedias were about the lives of kings and nobles as well as their battle against the infidels. In the Philippines, the thematic plot of the conflict between Christians and the Moros gave birth to the comedias called moro-moro. In the 19th century, the komedya was totally adopted by the Filipinos, with the plots based on the printed "corridos". They spread to the different regions and became a popular form of entertainment until the advent of a much more sophisticated form of musical theater: the Spanish zarzuela. The zarzuela was introduced in the Philippines in the late 19th century with the arrival of foreign productions, until even local singers and conductors were trained and contracted to perform. The first Filipino sarswela were written in the 1890's. At the turn of the century, the regional sarswelas emerged in Northern Luzon, Bikol and the Visayas. During the American regime, the Filipino sarswela served as a medium of political protest and criticism of the colonial rule. At the same time, the form represented the high quality of music-literary creativity of the Filipinos in that their popularity was partly the result of collaborations between well-known playwrights and composers.

The Filipino opera is likewise an off-shoot of the introduction of the European opera., the first presentation being dated in the 1960's. Because of the availability of local singers, instrumentalists, and conductors, the opera did not take long to be adopted by the Filipinos. The first Filipino opera was composed in 1902 entitled "Sandugong Panaginip". Composers who wrote important works in this medium include Gavino Carluen, Felipe Padilla De Leon, Alfredo Buenaventura, and Eliseo Pajaro.

The establishment of formal music schools during the early American colonial regime produce highly trained musicians. Most of the composers began to write in the major western classical forms such as the concerto, symphony, the suite, the concertino, the rhapsody the concert overture, and the symphonic poem. The latter two were not only written for the symphony orchestra, but the symphonic band as well, since a number of Filipino composers received their initial musical training in local town musicians. The band literature also includes hymns and marches. Works for chamber ensembles (quintets, quartets, trios) and solo instruments were also written, especially character pieces for the piano. Santiago's String Quartet in G in 1924 is considered a forerunner, followed by Molina's String Quartet en D Mayor, and Trio in F.

A great deal of the major works are programmatic in nature and are of religious or nationalist in character. The first group of art music composers include Juan Hernandez, Nicanor Abelardo, Francisco Buencamino and Antoni Molina. Some of these major works are Abelardo's Piano Concerto of 1923, Santiago's "Tagailog" Symphony, Molina's "Batingaw" "Choral Symphony", "Mayon", "Piano Concerto" by Francisco Buencamino.

The following generation of composers consists of Antonio Buenaventura who composed the famous tone poems By the Hillside and Youth and Hilarion Rubio who wrote "Pilipinas Kong Mahal" Symphonic Overture and Symphony for Greatness. Rodolfo Cornejo, who is also highly proficient on the keyboard, composed Symphony- "The Allies" and "Dedication" Symphony. Ramon Tapales, a violinist of note, contributed some major works like Philippine Suite and Ave Liberator to honor the liberation of the Philippines at the end of the 2nd World War. Another contemporary Lucino Sacramento wrote the highly romantic twin piano concertos "Maharlika" and "Bituin". This generation was followed by Felipe Padilla De Leon who wrote the monumental operas Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, and Lucio San Pedro with his symphonic poems Lahing Kayumanggi and Concerto for Violin and Orchestra.

In the field of vocal music, the Tagalog kundiman, a song of unrequitted love was developed by these composers as an art song genre, composing pieces on texts of high poetic value. The character and structural elements of the kundiman is derived from an earlier Tagalog tune called comintang. The kundiman starts in the minor key and ends in the parallel major. It is in moderate 3/4 time. The immortal kundimans include Abelardo's Nasaan Ka Irog and Kundiman ng Luha and Santiago's Madaling Araw. Other song forms which were used by the composers are the balitaw which is of lighter character and the danza, a dance form in duple time which is similar to a tango.

The idiom of the early art music works was very much influenced by the music of the European romantic composers, such as Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, Peter Tchaikowshy, Guiseppe Verdi, Giacchomo Puccini, and Gaetano Donizetti.

Works that show the influence of early twentieth century European idiom were written by Eliseo Pajaro, Lucresia Kasilag, Rosendo Santos, Amada Santos-Ocampo, Alfredo Buenaventura, and Jerry Dadap. This group of composers may be considered as neo-classicists, fusing Filipino musical elements, mostly folk melodies, with the harmonies, rhythms and textures found in the works of the European and American neo-classic composers.


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Fernandez, Doreen. The Iloilo Zarzuela 1903-1930. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila, University Press, 1978

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Abdon, Bonifacio. "Outstanding Filipino Composers" Encyclopedia of the Philippines. Galang (ed.), 1950

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Maceda, Jose. "Music in the Philippines in the 19th Century", Musikkulturen Asiens und Afrikas im. 19. Hunderts. Robert Gunther (ed.) Regensburg: Gustav Bosse, 1973

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Panganiban, Bienvenido S.P. "The 'Juenesses Musicales' - Its Role in the Philippines", Unitas 35, University of Sto. Tomas, 1962

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About the Author:

Ramon P. Santos, Ph.D. is a composer and musicologist, having received training at the University of the Philippines, Indiana University and the State University of New York at Buffalo. He was a full fellow at the Summer Courses in New Music at Darmstadt and undertook post-graduate work in Ethnomusicology at the University of Illinois with grants from the Asian Cultural Council and the Ford Foundation. His works have been featured in major festivals in Europe and in Asia. Recently, he has been awarded residency fellowships at the Bellagio Study Center and the Civitella Ranieri Center in Italy. In the field of musicology, he has undertaken researches not only in Philippine and Asian contemporary music, but also studied Javanese gamelan music and dance and Nan Kuan, and engaged in continuing field studies of Philippine traditional music such as the Ibaloi badiw, the Maranao bayok, and the musical repertoires of the Mansaka, Bontoc, Yakan, and Boholano. He has contributed major articles on Philippine music to various encyclopedias and anthologies such as The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, the Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, the Compendium of the Humanities in the Philippines. He was chief editor and writer of the book Musics of the ASEAN, and has produced CD’s on Mindanao Highland Music, Mansaka Music and Music of the Bontoc from the Mountain Province. He is currently serving as University Professor of the UP, Commissioner for the Arts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and 2nd Vice President of the International Music Council.

Music in the Philippines Since 1898

by Corazon Canave-Dioquino

Philippine Music underwent another transformation with the coming of the Americans. The three mainstreams of music during this post-colonial period include classical music, semi-classical music and popular music.

Classical Music

In the newly established public school system, music was included in the curriculum at the elementary and later at the high school levels. At the tertiary level, music conservatories and colleges were established. The earliest such schools were St. Scholastica's College (1906) and the University of the Philippines Conservatory of Music (1916). In the 1930's, two private music schools were established in Manila: The Academy of Music (1930) under Alexander Lippay and the Manila Conservatory of Music (1934) under Rodolfo Cornejo. Both these schools however did not last beyond a few years. Subsequently, other schools with strong music departments emerged at the University of Sto. Tomas, Silliman University, Centro Escolar Univesity, Santa Isabel, St. Paul College and the Philippine Women's University.

The graduates from these institutions included present-day composers and performers. Composers produced works utilizing the western idiom and forms: symphonies, chamber works, concertos, solo instrumental works, choral works, solo vocal works. The leading figures of the first generation of composers were Nicanor Abelardo, Francisco Santiago, Antonio Molina, and Juan Hernandez. Classical works written from the 1940's to the 1970's were mostly contributed by the first members of the League of Filipino Composers founded in 1955. The majority of these compositions were written in the style of the late 19th century European classical music. These included works by Rosalina Abejo, Alfredo Buenaventura, Antonio Buenaventura, Rodolfo Cornejo, Felipe Padilla de Leon, Hilarion Rubio, Lucino Sacramento, Lucio San Pedro, Rosendo Santos, Amada Santos-Ocampo, and Ramon Tapales.

After studies abroad, modern methods of composition were employed by Eliseo Pajaro and Lucresia Kasilag. Both were strongly influenced by American neoclassicism. Jose Maceda is considered the first legitimate Filipino avant-garde composer. He was the first Filipino composer to succeed in liberating Philippine musical expression from the colonial European mould of symphonies, sonatas, and concertos. Among the younger generation of composers, the first to respond to the challenges of new music were Francisco Feliciano and Ramon Santos. A still younger set of composers, all students of Ramon P. Santos includes Josefino Toledo, Ruben Federizon, Verne de la Pena, Arlene Chongson, and Jonas Baes. Since the 1950's to the present, the trend of serious musical compositions in the Philippines has been towards a synthesis of traditional concepts of structure, of time, of space, of melody, of performance medium with the new and experimental techniques.

In the performance field , some notable Filipino artists include Jovita Fuentes, Isang Tapales, Ramon Tapales, Dalisay Aldaba, Conchita Gaston, Mercedes Matias, Federico Elizalde, Luis Valencia, Oscar Yatco, Benjamin Tupas, Nena del Rosario Villanueva, Jose Contreras, Fides Asencio Cuyugan, Reynaldo Reyes, Jose Maceda, Ernesto Vallejo, Sergio Esmilla, Carmencita Lozada, Basilio Manalo, Evelyn Mandac, Aurelio Estanislao and Cecile Licad.

Outstanding groups include the Manila Symphony Orchestra, the Filipino Youth Symphony Orchestra, the U.P. Symphony Orchestra, the Manila Concert Orchestra, the Quezon City Philharmonic Orchestra, the Artists' Guild of the Philippines, the Philippine Choral Society, the U.P. Madrigal Singers, the U.P. Concert Chorus among others.

Semi-Classical Music

The semi-classical repertoire includes stylized folk songs, music for theater, songs and ballads, and various types of instrumental music. An awakened interest in field work produced a body of folk songs from the different regions of the Philippines. These were written in Western notation, often utilizing western harmonies. Instrumental and vocal arrangements of the songs were published and used as educational materials in schools.

The native sarswela in the vernacular, an outgrowth of the Spanish zarzuela introduced in1879, appeared by 1900. Composers who wrote music for these dramas included Bonifacio Abdon, Alejo Carluen, Gavino Carluen, Jose Estella, Fulgencio Tolentino, Juan Hernandez, Francisco Buencamino, Leon Ignacio, and Francisco Santiago. As a general rule sarswela composers functioned as conductors of the orchestra. Often they were instrumental performers of note in their own right. Many taught in schools or gave private lessons in homes. They also appeared in large public music concerts as well as in smaller gatherings where music programs formed the main attraction of informal and semi-formal occasions.

The sarswela solo songs became models for the classical kundiman and the lighter type of love songs and ballads used in radio and in the cinema. These songs were further popularized in the 1950's with the advent of the recording industry, particularly the Villar Recording Company. It gave rise to the unprecedented popularity , not only of the music, but also of the performers. Outstanding instrumental groups included the Juan Silos Rondalla, the Leopoldo Silos Orchestra, and the Mabuhay Recording band. Top artists were Sylvia La Torre, Ruben Tagalog, Cely Bautista, Raye Lucero, Diomedes Maturan, Pilita Corales, Cenon Lagman, Ric Manrique, and Nora Aunor. Initially the songs were written by Abelardo, Santiago, Buencamino, later joined by Mike Velarde, Constancio de Guzman, Josefino Cenizal, Juan Silos, Manuel Velez, Leopoldo Silos, Simplicio Suarez, Minggoy Lopez, Santiago Suarez, Restie Umali, Antonio Maiquez, and Ernani Cuenco. A favorite lyricist of these major songwriters was Levi Celerio.

In the field of semi-classical instrumental music, the band stands out. The tradition of village and town bands that proliferated during the Spanish times continued. By the turn of the century, band performances in Manila which took place at the Luneta, the Plaza Mayor, and the Calzada were highly praised for their impeccable performances. Travelogues written at this time echo the same sentiment- that nowhere had they heard such fine performances. Until today, the band tradition goes on. Marches, concert overtures, concertant pieces, tone poems, and even symphonies have been written for band. Composers of band music include Alfredo Buenaventura, Antonio Buenaventura, Francisco Feliciano, Felipe Padilla de Leon, Eliseo Pajaro, Hilarion Rubio, Lucino Sacramento, Lucio San Pedro and Rosendo Santos.

A popular medium for light classical muse is the rondalla. Its repertoire consists mainly of native folk tunes, ballroom music as well as arrangements of classical pieces such as opera overtures. Bayani de Leon and Jerry Dadap have written more serious music for the rondalla.

Popular Music

The third mainstream of music during the 20th century is popular music. This genre includes Pinoy Ballads, Pinoy Rock, Manila Sound, Pinoy Disco, Pinoy Folk, Mainstream Jazz, Pinoy Jazz Fusion, Pinoy Rap, Ethnic Pop, and novelty songs.


Banas, Raymundo. Filipino Music and Theater. Quezon City: Manlapaz Publishing Company, 1969, 1975.

Dioquino, Corazon C. Education in The CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art. Edited by Nicanor G. Tiongson. Manila: Cultural Center of the Philippines.1994

_________. Lowland Christian Philippines in The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Edited by Terry E. Miller and Sean Williams. New York and London: Garland Publishing Inc. 1998

_________. An Overview of Phippine Music with Special Focus on the Music of the Maguindanao. Paper read at The Third Asean Composers Forum on Traditional Music, Bangkok, Thailand, 1997

Santos, Ramon P. The American Colonial and Contemporary Traditions in CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art. Volume VI. Edited by Nicanor G. Tiongson. Manila: Cultural Center of the Philippines, 1994

About the Author:

Corazon Canave-Dioquino musicologist, is a professor at the University of the Philippines, College of Music where she has taught for the past 42 years.She is actively involved in the collection and archiving of musical Filipiniana at the UP Center for Ethnomusicology at Diliman, Quezon City.

National Museum Declares Maranao Torogan as National Cultural Treasure; Torogan Needs Immediate Rehabilitation

The National Museum has declared the Maranao torogan, specifically the Kawayan torogan as National Cultural Treasure through Museum Declaration No. 4-2008, announces Museum Director Corazon S. Alvina.

The National Museum is the agency of government that is tasked to declare national cultural treasures by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 374, which amends certain sections of R.A. 4846, otherwise known as "The Cultural Properties Preservation and Protection Act." National cultural treasures are defined as "unique objects found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value, which is significant and important to the country."
One of the panel of experts who signed the Declaration is Dr. Jesus T. Peralta, an anthropologist, and is also a consultant for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Dr. Peralta explains that a torogan is the "imposing stately house of the Maranao elite found in the province of Lanao del Sur in Mindanao, Philippines." He describes the torogan further as composed of a single cavernous hall under a widely flaring ridged, bonnet type roof.
What characterizes the torogan, he says, are the floor end beams (panolongs) that project frontally into butterfly shapes that are ornately carved and painted, alternately into the niaga/naga (serpent/dragon) and pako rabong armalis (assymetrical growing fern) with the facade panels and interior posts and sidings painted and carved.

The Declaration upholds that the Maranao torogan is the "last standing example of the finest of traditional vernacular architecture of the Philippines." Dr. Peralta further argues that the torogan is pre-Islamic, noting that its features have influences that trace back to India.
The only remaining habitable torogan is identified in the declaration as the one located in Bubung Malanding, Marantao, Lanao del Sur. The said torogan was built during the American period by Sultan sa Kawayan Makaantal. Many such torogans are said to have succumbed to decay and wear. The finest example of the torogan, cites Dr. Peralta, is the one in the municipality of Ganasi but has since been dismantled, hence he sees the rehabilitation of the Kawayan torogan of utmost urgency as parts of the house have already been reported to have collapsed.

The Museum itself has, through a funding from the NCCA, conducted an architectural documentation of the Kawayan torogan in 2006 to determine the amount needed to rehabilitate the Kawayan torogan. Engr. Orlando Abinion who headed the said documentation, placed the amount at P2.5 million to complete the rehabilitation of the said torogan.

Director Alvina said that Senator Angara has already pledged P1 million for the torogan. Dr. Peralta himself has written NCCA Executive Director Cecile Guidote-Alvarez on July 16, 2008 to update the latter on the status of the said situation. Dr. Peralta welcomes the declaration of the Kawayan torogan as a national cultural treasure as a big help in securing fund allocation from the NCCA.

For a targeted duration of one year, the scope of work to be done on the said structure would cover the following: conservation/restoration of wood; repair of roofing (using treated bamboo); replacement of termite infested wood; interior finishing and wood carving; re-touching of panolong pigment; repair of existing panolong and fabrication of the missing or deterioated ones; provision of a drainage system; perimeter fencing; and construction of a living quarter for a caretaker.

About the Author:

Reinerio A. Alba is a writer who hails from Gumaca, Quezon. He was a fellow for poetry at the Silliman National Writers Workshop in Dumaguete City in 1993 and Iyas National Writers Workshop in 2002.

Download Museum Declaration No.4-2008