Las Piñas Bamboo Organ

CLASSICAL MUSIC. My mother is my first piano teacher. She taught me piano basics like the proper positioning of the fingers on the keyboard and keys that make up each chord. As a child, I became familiar with the music of Bach, Mozart, Chopin, and Beethoven from the piano pieces she played.

This nostalgia of my mom playing classical music was roused when we visited St. Joseph Parish church to see the iconic Las Piñas Bamboo Organ.

BAMBOO ORGAN MUSEUM. Before getting near the bamboo organ, we had to pass through the old convent which houses the Bamboo Organ Museum. The artifacts inside the museum tell the history of the bamboo organ and its maker, and the church that houses this Philippine National Treasure.

The Recollect friar who built both church and the organ was Fray Diego Cera dela Virgen del Carmen, an Argonese from Huesca. Cera was the first parish priest assigned to what was then undeveloped Las Piñas. By 1816, he began work on the bamboo organ which took eight years to complete. A strong typhoon in 1880 that was followed by an earthquake damaged the bamboo organ. The pipes were kept in the old sacristy until 1917. The unique instrument was fully restored in 1975 by Johann Klais Orgelbau.

INSIDE THE ORGAN. Displayed inside the museum are the original parts of the organ like the keyboard and some of its first bamboo pipes.

We learned that from the 1,031 pipes, 902 are made of bamboo. Interesting features of the baroque bamboo organ are the seven short metal pipes called parajitos because when filled with water they make bird sounds, as well as three long bamboo pipes known as tambor because they imitate kettle-drum rumbling.

MECHANISM. There is miniature version of the organ that allows visitors to view the mechanism of the bamboo organ. Labels are provided to inform visitors of certain parts such as the tiklado or keyboard, the registros or stops and the cancela or channel.

EPILOGUE. But the most exciting part of the museum tour was when we were led to climb up the choir loft. While admiring at the bamboo organ’s antiquity and grandness in scale, 12-year old Jude Aram performed Mozarts and Bachs under the 19th century pipes. Jude is a member of the internationally-acclaimed Las Piñas Boys Choir. This all-boys choir performs regularly during the annual Bamboo Organ Festival.

-Mother’s Day 2012

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