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Conference Paper Abstracts for the Encuentro Fillipino

Subli: On the use of Multi-disciplinary methods in Musicology

Dr. Elena Rivera Mirano
Chair, Department of Art Studies
University of the Philippines

In the Philippines, the subli is part of a repertoire of simple folk dances that has been taught in elementary and high schools since the 1930’s, as part of the physical education curriculum. Working in Bauan, a town in the province of Batangas in the Southern Tagalog region of Luzon, this researcher discovered that subli, situated in its proper context, was much more — a long and complex sequence of devotions to the Mahal na Poong Santa Krus (Precious Lord Holy Cross), patron of the town, in ritual, dance, song, poetry and prayer. Consisting of dense, archaic texts, referring to the finding of the icon in the early years of Christian colonization, the devotions are set to music consisting of instrumental drones and ostinatos above which vocal punto (skeletal melodies) suddenly flower and just as suddenly vanish. The research, as well as an annual subli festival organized by the City of Batangas in the 1980’s brought this form to local and national attention and led to its revival. This living, vital form is seen today as a metaphor of the resilience and tenacity of Batangueño faith and culture.


Reconstructing the Music of Marcelo Adonay: A Case Study

Dr. Elena Rivera Mirano

Marcelo Adonay, the 19th century maestro de capilla of the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila, is considered the prince of Philippine church musicians. Unfortunately, except for a single work, the “Pequeña Misa Solemne sobre Motivos de la Missa Regia del Canto Gregoriano” his music has not been heard since the 1950’s. In 2000, a research team consisting of musicologists from the University of the Philippines, led by this researcher,  embarked on a project involving the search, retrieval and reconstruction of music by this 19th century master. Thus far, the research has resulted in a manuscript for a first volume of essays and 11 reconstructed scores of sacred music, now in the final stages of publication by the University of the Philippines Press. A second volume consisting of band music and works for violin and piano is now being prepared. The paper describes the processes involved in the search, retrieval and reconstruction. Heretofore unknown works will be discussed and presented as brief musical examples.


Reading Choir books and Translating Musical Traditions:
Explorations on the Musical Montage of 19th century Bohol, Philippines

Maria Alexandra Iñigo-Chua, Assistant Professor
University of Santo Tomas Conservatory  of Music
and the Centre for Intercultural Studies

The annexation and incorporation of the Philippine Islands into the Spanish Empire, lasting for more than three hundred years (1565-1898), brought about the subsequent reshaping of Philippine society into the western social and cultural ideals. More than the conquistadores, it was the missionaries that were commissioned to accomplish the difficult task of converting the natives to Christianity and bringing them as well under the control of the Spanish crown. Missionaries’ success led not only to the widespread propagation of the Catholic faith but also the eventual transplantation of European culture bringing into this part of the globe the Renaissance and Baroque tradition of the dominant Western World. This was, subsequently, to take root in most part of the archipelago and eventually took on a new form in the various areas of the occupied region. Music was the missionaries’ most successful tool in this process of evangelization. Hence, music provides a fissure where such process as cultural appropriation and acculturation can be categorically explored.

The rich Hispanic musical heritage of the province of Bohol, a small turtle-shaped island in the central part of this archipelagic region, provides a good venue for such a musicological discussion. In Bohol, with its long history of conversion and hispanization, survives a wealth of artistic musical vestiges that links and connects us to this international web of Hispanic music culture. Numerous pipe organs found in decrepit choir lofts of baroque inspired churches, large-format parchment choirbooks preserved in various ecclesiastical repositories, a profusion of music sheets (handwritten and printed) dating back to the early part of the 1800’s, are clear manifestations of the flowering of a  dynamic and vibrant Hispanic music culture.

The two major towns of Bohol, i.e. Baclayon and Loboc, provided ideal sites to locate such musical exploration. The research study on the Baclayon cantorales offered a glimpse of the musico-cultural milieu of the island during this period of Spanish conquest. Furthermore, the examination and analysis of its repertory proved to be a most worthwhile undertaking that directed the way to the reconstruction of this long forgotten tradition of sacred music. Loboc, on the other hand, presents a stunning testament to the dynamism and richness of this cultural reality. At present, the numerous religious rituals and celebratory fiestas are still tied with the singing of Latin masses, gozos, Salve reginas, villancicos and motetes. Cantoras, cantores and tiples continue to participate in musically rich traditions such as the suroy, altares, flores de mayo and the bolibongkingking. Such traditions, although deeply laden with Spanish artistic influence have evolved into distinct Lobocanon cultural practices.

The paper, therefore, explores the unique musical heritage/traditions of the province of Bohol, in particular, the musically affluent towns of Baclayon and Loboc as representative cultures in this fascinating aspect in Philippine music history.


The Monasterio de Santa Clara Music Books:
Women and Music at the Heart of 19th century Manila

Ma. Alexandra Iñigo-Chua

The massive destruction brought about by the liberation of Manila in 1945 left the heart of the Philippine archipelago practically nothing of its rich artistic and cultural legacy. It is this reason that the archival rediscovery of the five-volume Manual Cantoral para el uso de las religiosas de Santa Clara de la Ciudad de Manila, from various repositories in the country has hitherto been the most important development in Philippine music scholarship. This huge anthology of religious music, printed in Manila by the Litografia de Oppel from the year 1871 to 1874, presents an extensive collection of 19th century sacred works, preserving the exquisite melodies and harmonies of the old city’s venerable religious traditions. This five-volume set contains a wide array of compositions covering a variety of musical genres such as masses, gozos, villancicos, motets, Salve Reginas, Misereres, et. al. The collection was published for the utilization of the Clarisas or Poor Clares, the first religious women congregation to establish a mission in the Philippines (circa 1621).

The paper focuses on the importance of this body of music into the retrieval of Manila’s Hispanic musical legacy. It seeks to explore, as well, perspective of female spirituality and representations of women in music posting interrogations as to the role and contribution of the voiceless women in the highly patriarchal 19th century society in Manila, Philippines.


Reliving the Music in the Journeys of Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje

Ma. Patricia Brillantes-Silvestre
Dept. of Musicology, College of  Music
University of the Philippines, Diliman, QC

Our Lady of Antipolo, one of the most popular images of the Blessed Virgin in the Philippines arrived from Mexico in 1626 aboard the galleon El Almirante in the hands of Gov.-Gen. Don Juan Niño de Tabora. She was first installed in Intramuros under the Jesuit order amid the ringing of churchbells and the firing of cannons. The town of Antipolo in Rizal province eventually became her homeshrine when the Jesuits took charge of the mission there. After several miraculous incidents, the image was enthroned on the naos de Manila, the galleons plying the long and perilous Manila-Acapulco route.

For a little over a hundred years (1641-1748), she kept danger at bay, thus being bestowed the title Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje.  After the galleon trips of 1651 and 1746, the image was escorted in a grand fluvial parade on the Pasig River and land trails back to her hilltop shrine. Music, dance, ritual and spectacle unfolded along these journeys, culminating in a colorful program in the churchyard in Antipolo.

Through a re-translation into English of these 2 journeys contained in the chronicles of Fr. Pedro Murillo-Velarde, SJ (Historia de la Provincia de Philipinas, 1749), the extravagant musical and devotional life of 18th-century Manila and its environs are recreated and interpreted through a musicological vantage point. Further archival research would allow us to follow the continuous unfolding of the drama and music of Our Lady’s journeys in the 20th-century: in 1904, her next Manila visit, for the 50th jubilee of the Immaculate Conception; in 1926 for her canonical coronation; in 1945 for her return to Antipolo from Manila at war’s end after seeking refuge from Japanese forces in Antipolo; and in 1954 for the Marian Congress in Manila.

This paper seeks to recreate the concomitant musical life in the journeys and visits of Our Lady, evaluate their place in the richly varied musical fabric of Manila, while explaining these in the context of Filipino celebratory religious life. It also seeks to underscore the singularly invaluable contribution of early primary sources and archival materials in Spanish in the writing of Philippine music history, in the process addressing the need for knowledge of the Spanish language in dealing with musicological-historical studies in Spanish Philippines.   



Music in the Heart of Manila: Quiapo from the Colonial Period
to Contemporary Times—Tradition, Change and Continuity

Ma. Patricia Brillantes-Silvestre
Dept. of Musicology, College of  Music
University of the Philippines, Diliman, QC

The Quiapo music scene, as chronicled from the earliest available materials to present-day sources, is a prime example of a cultural heritage that has metamorphosed in diverse ways. The district grew to be a major merger zone of culture in Manila, an urban melting pot with its distinct identity yet embracing all identities. Today’s Quiapo, lost in twenty first-century cacophony, may seem but a worn-out, decrepit shadow of the grand old days of genteel music-making among the ilustrado (educated, elite) families emergent in the area around the 1850s.  But lest we forget: here sprouted many of Manila’s earliest theaters: European opera and the Tagalog zarzuela flourished here; Quiapo’s sacred music was at par with the splendid repertoires of the great Intramuros cathedral and churches; vocal and instrumental groups performed all over town. Indeed, Quiapo was home to a vast and dynamic network of composers, singers, band and orchestra players, organists, pianists, music teachers, conductors, impresarios, instrument makers and repairers, music merchants, music publishers, music associations, even opera costume designers and opera make-up artists—all these as magnificent background to the raucously global musical eclecticism of today’s Quiapo. 

This paper surveys music in Quiapo through the following segments: Early References to Quiapo Music, The Theaters, A Musical Beehive, Music Making in the Private Home and Music in the Places of Worship. The last section examines the changes and continuities in the musical landscape of the district and recommends future relevant  areas of musicological explorations, studies that may address the current lack of appreciation or regard for urban heritage in the Philippines.


Nuestra Señora del Rosario de la Naval

Regalado Trota José
Assistant Professor, Graduate School
Department of Cultrual Heritage Studies
University of Santo Tomas

The image of Our Lady of the Rosary 'de la Naval' is considered the oldest dated ivory carved in the Philippines. It was commissioned in the 1590s by the Governor General of the Philippines, and was carved by a pagan Chinese in Manila under the direction of a Spanish official. The image is thus listed as a benchmark in Philippine art history. However, the 'La Naval', as she is popularly known, suffered some damage during the 1762 pillage of Manila by British troops. In 1907, she was canonically crowned by the Papal Nuncio, the first Marian image in the country to be so honored. She narrowly missed destruction during the bombing of Manila in 1942, and had to be evacuated to a safer locale. In 1954, she was finally brought to her present home in the Dominican church in Quezon City. Some scholars have wondered how authentic to the 1593 original is the present statue. To be sure, other images of Our Lady of the Rosary were commissioned for the same Dominican convent in Manila from the early 17th century to the present day. In order to approach this art historical problem, a number of investigations have been carried out.   This paper will report on the following.

Sources: The earliest published account is that by Diego Aduarte, Dominican historian, whose work first appeared in 1640. This work is supported by microfilm copies of archival documents kept at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila (the originals were brought to Avila, Spain sometime in the 1970s.) Chief among these documents is the first Libro de Cabildos (Book of Meetings) of the Confraternity of Our Lady of the Rosary, whose first entry dates from 1592. Other Dominican accounts will be looked into, including a number prepared for the 1907 coronation. A special source is the image of the La Naval itself, which this writer was privileged to briefly examine in 2006.

Lines of investigation: Types of clothes the La Naval would have worn in the 1590s; Types of Marian images, especially those of Our Lady of the Rosary, popular in the 16th century, that could have provided inspiration for the La Naval; The state of carving Christian images, especially of ivory, in 16th century Philippines; The character of those involved in the commissioning of the La Naval: the Governor General (Luis Pérez Dasmariñas), the Spanish official (Hernando de los Ríos Coronel), and the anonymous Chinese artist; The appearance of other early images of Our Lady of the Rosary in the Philippines, such as those in Manaoag, Orani, Binondo, and Piat.


In Search of Bell-Casters and Foundries in Spanish Colonial Philippines

Regalado Trota José

The settlement of Spaniards in the Philippines since 1565 saw the start of an active evangelization campaign among the Filipinos. Churches were built and outfitted, books printed, statues carved, singers trained, and other similar activities carried out. The dominant missionary plan was to gather the Filipinos bajo las campanas, within hearing of the church bells. Although contemporary studies have tackled church architecture and imagery, there is still much to be done, given the wealth, variety, and spread of colonial churches all over the islands. One aspect that merits investigation is the introduction, use and manufacture of church bells.

The present paper seeks to 'weld' together loose references to church bells in order to construct a concise history of these artifacts in the Spanish colonial Philippines, with particular reference to identification of bell-casters or their foundries. Published and archival material on the topic is abundant. In addition, this writer will cull from extensive field data collected from bells extant in the Batanes Islands in the far north to Zamboanga in the south of the country. In the course of the writer's 30-year documentation of church art, a methodology in recording inscriptions and religious symbols was developed.  Bringing the subject of bells, their production, use and history directly into the larger discussion of church architecture and the way of life of th historic Christian communities in the Philippines will provide a unique vantage point to expand our understanding ofour rich cultural heritage.


Christian Theology and Cultural Heritage: Preserving the Past to Liberate the Future.

Fr. Milán Ted D. TORRALBA
Office of the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, Manila

Cultural heritage awareness emerged in the Philippines only in the past two decades or so.  Scholarly individuals can take credit for fomenting, although rather slowly due to a number of factors, a grain of sensitivity to what constitutes the Filipino Nation’s collective cultural patrimony.  These individuals – anthropologists, archaeologists, media practitioners, museum curators, architects, and a host of others working in their respective academic fields – encouraged the setting up of institutions that became the primary dynamo for the preservation, promotion, and perpetuation of the Nation’s cultural heritage.

At the National Government level in the Philippine bureaucracy, then President Corazon C. Aguino initiated the movement towards cultural heritage recovery by creating the Presidential Commission for Culture and the Arts (PCCA) in 1987, to oversee the pioneering efforts of artists and culture and heritage workers, and convoke their individual efforts into a common retrieval of the Nation’s cultural patrimony.  This body later on became the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) when the Philippine Congress enacted in 1992 a law establishing it, subjecting the same under the Office of the President, to serve as the catalyst and superintendent of the Nation’s heritage.  During the presidency of Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the National Government cultural agencies, such as the National Historical Institute, National Museum, Cultural Center of the Philippines, National Library, Commission on the Filipino Language, and the National Archives, were placed under the administrative supervision of the NCCA by virtue of Executive Order 80.

Not to be remiss in its obligation, at the institutional level of the local Church in the Philippines, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) created the Permanent Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the Church its midyear Plenary Assembly 8 July 1996 to serve the Conference and the individual bishops as a consultative and monitoring arm of the Church in the area of cultural heritage conservation and research.  To undertake a scientific approach to the conservation of the different typology of cultural heritage, the University of Santo Tomas, in Manila, for its part, instituted a graduate programme on cultural heritage studies in 2000 leading to a master’s degree, to cater to individuals who have interests or are working, or planning to work, in this promising field of scientific endeavour.

Other bodies, agencies, and organizations were also founded in different localities in response to felt needs and in answer to encouragement to make palpable the recovery of the cultural patrimony of the Filipino Nation.  Prominent among the handful of organizations is the non-stock, non-profit Heritage Conservation Society founded to advocate the preservation of the Philippine built heritage.  Among the diocesan commissions for church heritage that have made significant stride as to be considered trailblazing in this emergent pastoral ministry is that of the Diocese of Tagbilaran, Bohol, whose Diocesan Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church was canonically established by His Excellency, Most Rev. Leopoldo S. Tumulak, then Bishop of Tagbilaran, in July 1995.

The philosophy behind the general movement towards heritage management is the proactive retention of the identified core value or inherent significance of the object or ensemble.  This is the fundamental reason for the scientific conservation of the cultural heritage manifestation.  As regards the cultural heritage of the Church, the basic purpose for heritage awareness and conservation is the finality for which these ensemble are destined, viz., as privileged means of the renewed evangelization, and as legitimate expressions of the Community’s shared faith-experience.  One can certainly speak of the theology of cultural heritage through which all enterprises intended for and in behalf of the ecclesiastical cultural goods are rededicated and find their proper locus.

Where all these to be properly understood by the Church Authorities as well as by the Lay Faithful, the steady destruction, unsympathetic remodeling, and the gradual loss of the cultural heritage of the Church would have been retarded and immobilized.  Heritage will then be seen for what it is: a necessary reflecting extension of the Community that created it, owns it, and makes full use of it.  Heritage becomes us.