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MUSIC OF PALAWAN

I.

SOCIO-HISTORICAL CONTEXT
Lalawigan ng Palawan, is an island province of the Philippines located in the Region 4. Its capital
is Puerto Princesa City, and it is the largest province in the country in terms of total area of jurisdiction.
Geography of Palawan
Palawan is composed of the long and narrow Palawan Island, plus a number of other smaller islands
surrounding the main island. The Calamianes Group of Islands to the Northeast consists of Coron Island,
Busuanga Island and Culion Island. In addition, Palawan covers the Cuyo Islands in the Sulu Sea. The
disputed Spratly Islands, located a few hundred kilometers to the west, are considered part of Palawan by
the Philippines, and is locally called the Kalayaan Group of Islands.
Peoples of Palawan
Palawan, the largest province in the Philippines, is home to several indigenous ethnolinguistic groups:
1. Batak
- which means "mountain people" in Cuyonon is a group of indigenous Filipino people that resides in the
northeast portion of Palawan. They live in the rugged interiors of northeastern Palawan. Living close to
nature, they are a peaceful and shy people. These people believe in nature spirits, with whom they
communicate through a babaylan or medium.
2. Palaweos
- Native-born lowland dwellers
- They are religious, disciplined and have a highly developed community spirit
- Language : Cuyonon & Agutaynen
3. Palawano
- also known as Pala'wan, is one of the unique indigenous peoples of Palawan. They are part of the large
Manobo-based linguistic groups of southern Philippines. They traditionally hunt using soars and bamboo
blowguns.
- The Taaw't Bato means "people of the rock". They are not actually a separate language or ethnic group,
but rather a small community of traditional southwestern Palawanos .
4. Tagbanwa
- or "people of the world," are found in central and northern Palawan. They practice shifting cultivation of
upland rice, which is considered a divine gift, and are known for their rice wine ritual called pagdiwata.
Central Tagbanwas are found in the western and eastern coastal areas of central Palawan. They are
concentrated in the municipalities of Aborlan, Quezon, and Puerto Princesa.
II.
ISSUES
The struggle to save Palawan (known as the Philippines Last Frontier) is not only about saving
trees and rare species. It is also about nourishing the Filipino cultural heritage, so powerfully represented
by those indigenous communities that - after escaping Spanish and American colonization (while resisting
the new mining imperialism now) - continue to represent the 'living roots' from which all Filipinos
originate. Therefore, environmental plundering by mining companies is not only a crime against nature but
it is also a crime against culture, a sort of genocide that annihilates the most profound roots of the Filipino's
history and ultimately plunders the cultural heritage of the whole nation!

III.

MUSICAL FORMS

Vocal Music:
1.
Bagit,
2.
Kulial (Songs),
3.
Tultul (Epic chant),
4.
Ulit (Shamanic chant)
Bird songs, Kulial songs, Epics (i.e. Kudaman)
The Kudaman epic starts with a long narrated prelude in a tale pattern (50 typewritten pages)
before the six to seven nights can develop. The nights repeat the span of seven years that frames the ritual
of commemoration of the Master of Rice, Tmwy t Ampuq t Pary.
Instrumental music:
aruding (Jews harp),
babarak (ring flute),
suling (banded flute),
basal (gong),
kusyapiq (lute),
pagang (bamboo zither)

IV.
MUSICAL CONTEXT
The subtle threads between Mankind and Nature involve all our senses and more particularly our auditive
sensitivity. Capturing tonalities, rhythms, and melodies, we can like a bird fly down from the celestial vault
to the Earth, dwelling-place of Highlander-islanders known as the Palawan who live in the southern part of
the island by the same name. This aural voyage will take us to the realm of words, poetry, and music as
human creations which the Palawan uses to communicate in order to live harmoniously in this world.
Music in Ritual
Ulit (Shamanic chant)
The shaman sings the difficult experience of the voyage of his double, kuruduwa, by a specific
chant, the lumbaga, whose melody is in all points assimilable to any epic melodic line. And it is precisely
the ordeals that the soul of the shaman overcomes in the course of his voyagethe encounters with the
Evil Doers, Lnggam or Sqitan, the discussions, the bargaining engaged in with the Invisible Beingsthat
constitute the shamanic chant.
Tultul (Epic chant),

to sing tultul is to be possessed by a Tw Tultultuln. These Epic Heroes are a type of


humanity who live in the median space and intercede between people on this earth and mpuq.
They are a Benevolent Humanity protecting the Real Men. The act of chanting thus doubles with
the embodiment, in the very person of the bard, of these heroic and semi-divine Beings. One can
interpret this relationship as an act of possession in which the bard becomes a medium.

Epics are always chanted at night, ending at daybreak; it is forbidden to sing when the sun
shines and during the day. This prohibition links the epic to the night and a sacred world. Moreover,
one would never chant for amusement in a light joking manner.
In the Central West highlands, is the Palawan Island. One of the tribes in Palawan are the
TAGBANUAS. The Tagbanuas has retained their ancient culture. The Calamianes Group of Islands
who elaborate funeral celebrations. Five days after interment, the relatives goes to the homes of the
deceased to perform funeral rites.

Then the participants chant the Batac, a lengthy song recounting the significant adventures
of a mythical person named DUMARACOL. Thesinging goes on for three successive nights for
evening till dawn.
Comparative Glossary of Mindoro and Palawan Music.

MUSIC OF MINDORO
Indigenous Group of Mindoro
Hanunuo Mangyan or the true Mangyan or Tao-Buhid are the indigenous group who occupy the
central Mindoro. other indigenous groups includes;
Ratagnon occupy the southermost tip of Mindoro
Alangan known as people whose culture are awkwards. The group occupies the northern part of both
Oriental and Occidental Mindoro
Iraya occupy the northwest part of Mindoro. They are also called people from the upstream river or
upland.
Mangyans live in loose clusters of up to 20 bamboo huts with thatched roofs and raised floors. They
sometimes are away from their families for many weeks in search of food.
Men wear a loincloth of pounded bark while the women have a coil of woven nito, a sturdy black vine,
and rattan around their hips. Mangyans practice animism and are superstitious.
Music is an important part in the everyday activities of the indigenous group of Mindoro. the following
are some of the functions of their folk songs;
To celebrate festive occasions.
To entertain visitors.
To court a woman / maiden.
Serve to use in religious rituals.
MUSICAL FORMS
VOCAL MUSIC OF MINDORO
One of Mindoros indigenous music is called Ambahan. It is a poetic song which consists of seven
syllables which is similar to the Sanskrit of India. The Hanunuo Mangyans were able to preserve their
song ambahan in bamboo tubes called luka
They usually perform it in several occasions like entertaining visitors as a sign of friendship and
hospitality.
With a pointed knife, Hanunuo Mangyans inscribe notes and poems on bamboo trees in the forests or
on bamboo slats. These ambahanswritten or recited in poetic languagesymbolically express
situations or characteristics.
Musical Elements used in Ambahan
Rhythmic poetic lines
Chanted verse
Distinct melody
Meter with seven syllables
OTHER VOCAL MUSIC OF MINDORO
Igway (song),
Marayaw (spirit song),
Pamuybuyen (legend) - it means fear of water
INDIGENOUS MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS OF MINDORO
Chordophones
Gitgit
Kudlong / kutyapi
/ kudyapi
Aerophones
Lantoy
Baleleng
Bangsi

Idiophones
Kinaban
Batiwtiw
Buray-dipay

Membranophones
Agong
Gimbal
Tugo

MUSIC of VISAYAS
RONDALLA
A rondalla is an ensemble of stringed instruments that are played with a plectrum or pick. They originated
in Spain but became most popular in Philippine folk music after their introduction to the islands during the
19th century. Philippine instruments are made of native wood and played with a tortoise-shell plectrum.
The word "rondalla" is from the Spanish ronda, meaning "serenade." The core instruments of Spanish
ensembles are the guitar, the mandolin, and the lute. Rondallas usually are accompanied by at least one
singer and sometimes by percussionists playing handheld instruments. Though ensembles of stringed
instruments have existed in some form in Spain since at least the 16th century, this form dates from the
early 19th century, and it soon thereafter traveled to the Philippines, which was a Spanish colony at the
time.
In the Philippines
Early Philippine rondallas played Western European songs, mostly operatic arias and symphonic overtures.
Although they still play such songs, the repertoire has become much more diverse. Modern ensembles
might play more contemporary music, such as show tunes and Latin American dance music, in addition to
Philippine folk songs and European classical music. It is a socially important form of folk art seen at
community events such as weddings and fiestas.
The Instruments
The major Philippine rondalla instruments are the banduria, the guitar, the octavina, the laud, and the bass
guitar or double bass. The banduria is the central instrument of the ensemble and, along with the octavina
and laud, is unique to the Philippines. The guitar and double bass each have six strings, but the other
instruments have 14 strings grouped into six tuning units to produce a richer sound.
Eight-piece Philippine ensembles typically have four bandurias, one guitar, an octavina, a laud and a
double bass. Many groups are quite large, with 30 or 40 members, especially for important social events. A
30-piece ensemble usually has 16 bandurias, three piccolo bandurias, three guitars, three octavinas, three
lauds and two double basses. Of course, the number and type of percussion instruments can vary for any
size of rondalla.

Balitaw
The Balitaw is a song-and-dance debate between a man and woman. More often sung than danced,
it is a Visayan artform which existed in the region long before Spaniards came. The early natives called the
song "oyayi" and the dance "boya-i".
The music of Balitaw usually written in 3/4 in time. It can also perform in dance, although it originally was
something that was merely sung. This folk air has developed form called "Balitao Romansada" The
Spaniards called the dance waltz.The natives adapted the word valse to bal and added tawo(the visayan
word for 'people').The term balitaw means "dance of the people".
The balitaw is a debate or dialogue song in which a young woman and a young man compete to see who is
better at improvising romantic verses. These verses are sometimes memorized in advance. Using song to
disguise the intimate sentiments of courtship reduces the embarrassment involved in meeting potential
mates. These witty exchanges of balitaw used to be a prelude to courtship and marriage, but this tradition
had faded away by the 1930's and is no longer observed in contemporary Visayan society, although the
songs are still performed for the sake of performance.The traditional instrument used to accompany the
balitaw was a three-string-coconut-shell guitar; later, a harp adopted as the instrument of choice because
more chords could be played on it.The Visayan balitaw is usually in the minor key, while the Tagalog is in
the major.

Balitaw sa Paghangyo sa Gugma


(Balitaw of Courtship)
Day, ang pagsubang sa adlaw sa kabuntagon,
Ang kangitngit nga tanan mihayag,
Sa imong kaambong
Ang kasingkasing ko nabihag.
'Dong, kining akong kaanyag,
Ako ra kining kaugalingon;
Ug pananglit ikaw nabihag,
Unsay labut ko sa imong dangaton?
'Day, tinuod wala kay kalabutan,
Tinuod nga wala mo ako sugo-a;
Kay ang kaibog ko kanimo gikan,
Kanimo ko gayud usab panilnga.
'Dong, ngano nga ako'y imong panilngan,
Unsa may utang ko kanimo?
Ngano nga ako'y imong pasanginlan,
Nga imo ra man kanang gusto?
'Day, dili man utang ang giingon ko kanimo,
Ug dili sinugo lang ako sa akong kaibog;
Panimpalad lang kini ug kaluy-an mo
Kay usahay dili ako mahikatulog.
'Dong, aron mo gayud hisayran,
Timan-i aron dili ka malimot:
Bisan unsay imong dangatan,
Para kanako wala kay mapa-abut.

Translation
'Day, when the sun rises in the morn,
All the darkness around is lit up;
With your womanly beauty and grace,
My heart is captivated.
'Dong, this loveliness in me that you see
Is mine alone to cherish;
If you are captivated,
What have I to do with your fate?
'Day, it's true you have nothing to do with
my fate,
Nor did you ask to be part of it;
Yet you are the reason for my affliction,
So from you I seek my due.
'Dong, why will you come to me?
What do I owe you?
Why will you blame me,
When no one is to blame but yourself?
'Day, I speak not of any debt,
But my love makes me do what I do;
I am taking a chance you will yield to me,
For sometimes I cannot sleep.
'Dong, so that you may well know,
Mark this so you will not forget:
Happen what may with you,
From me you have nothing to expect.