I had the privilege of visiting the Las Pinas bamboo organ. After my horrible experience with a crooked tour company in Oslob I decided to use Viator to book this tour since they are a well known trusted company.
The tour was broken up into thirds. A jeepney factory, the las piñas bamboo organ, and Tagaytay itself. This article is just about the Jeepny factory & Las Pinas Bamboo organ portions.
The Jeepney Factory
Anyone who’s ever been to or knows about the Philippines knows Jeepnies are an integral part of the Philippine cultural landscape. They started off as left over American army jeeps that the Filipinos used for transportation.
Now it is a big industry in the Philippines. We got to see the rebuilding of the jeepneys as well as the different style of Jeeps. In the photo I am standing next to a 1960’s model jeepney.
Like everything they change and they just don’t make them like they used to. Sadly the high cost of artwork to make these particular Jeepney’s just make it undesirable to potential jeepney buyers. *sigh* After that we continued on to the organ.
The Las Piñas Bamboo Organ
The Las Piñas Bamboo Organ in St. Joseph Parish Church in Las Piñas City, Philippines, is a 19th-century church organ with unique organ pipes; they are made almost entirely of bamboo.
It was completed in 1824 by Father Diego Cera, the builder of the town’s stone church and its first resident Catholic parish priest.
After age and numerous disasters had rendered the musical instrument unplayable for a long time, in 1972, the national government and the local community joined together to have the organ shipped to Germany for restoration.
For its anticipated return in 1975, the home church of the bamboo organ and the surrounding buildings were restored to their 19th-century state by Architect Francisco Mañosa and partner Ludwig Alvarez in time for its scheduled return.The annual International Bamboo Organ Festival, a music festival of classical music, was started to celebrate the music of the reborn instrument and its unique sound.
This organ is a jetsetter. It has spent some of its life in Europe and the Philippines!
First they let us plus a sample of the organ. Here’s me and some other tourists playing. I really think I will be the next Liberache!
Next we got to see a professional artist play. She’s not as good as I was though…
Interesting bamboo organ facts:
It was completed in 1824 after numerous failed attempts by father Diego Cera
In April of 1932 the old human powered bellows were swapped out as they were highly labor intensive and didn’t provide enough air for the masterpiece organ to reach its full potential
In February of 1975 it was shipped to Bonn Germany for repairs after extensive damage due to typhoons and neglect
On March 16th 1975 it returned home to the Philippines with much fanfare. A Bamboo Organ Inaugural Concert was held to mark its return to the Philippines. Wolfgang Oehms was the featured performer, complemented by the Las Piñas Boys’ Choir
2003-2004 saw another major overhall of the bamboo organ. The bellows were updated and several pipes were replaced and/or swapped out
Check Manila out!
I really feel like Manila doesn’t get enough credit for all the interesting sites it has to see. I found the organ to be interesting and as a history and music lover this was definitely worth the trip! There are a ton of great tours so you can see all that Manila has to offer!