The Sound of Las Piñas Bamboo Organ

Las Piñas Bamboo Organ
If I am not mistaken, this Bamboo Organ was our topic when I was a fourth grader, in Sibika at Kultura. Since I found this topic interesting, this organ is still fresh in my mind, even I am now in my 20-ish years. So, when Claire, of Travelling Light, invited me for her birthday celebration, I said YES, since this organ is part of the itinerary, I am sorry Claire, but the Bamboo Organ was subject, just kidding! Now, I finally made it, here’s an additional historical knowledge that you should know about this Las Piñas Bamboo Organ.

Las Pinas Bamboo Organ
Fray Diego Cera Dela Vergin del Carmen, a Spanish missionary born on July 26, 1762 and was the first parish priest in Las Piñas during the Spanish era. He is the man behind this majestic national treasure - Las Piñas Bamboo Organ. He actually came from Graus, now Huesca, a town in Spain, but still his heart loves the Philippines. F. Diego Cera is also a man of titles; he is a Musician, Architect, Organ Builder, Botanist, Physician, Painter and Geologist.

Bamboo Musical Instruments
Bamboos spread out in the town of Las Piñas, so F. Diego Cera made it as the medium of his artistic mind. Since bamboos can produce different sounds thru air, he created an idea of building an organ. But how did he do that? It's a long story, but here’s the life of bamboo organ: cutting of the bamboos and selection of wood started in 1816 and was completed sometimes in 1821, except for the reed stops. In 1824, the 122 horizontal reed-pipes were successfully completed. Same as what happened to some century old churches in the Philippines, the church and the Bamboo Organ were both damaged by three earthquakes in 1880, so the pipes were dis-assembled and were placed in the old sacristy. 

Bamboo Organ
Two years after, another typhoon blows up the roof, so the chest of the Bamboo Organ was partially damaged. In 1888, the church was rebuilt, but due to severe damage, the Bamboo Organ remains unplayable for the next decades until it was rediscovered by tourist in 1911. The tourist brought this concern into public, so it was repaired several times and an electric motor is installed to supply the wind.


 Play the video above and you will hear the majestic sound of the Bamboo Organ.

Who built the bamboo Organ
The Organ is made up of 902 bamboo pipes and 129 metal pipes with the 1,031 pipes in total. Not all the people who know how to play organ can operate this Bamboo Organ, but the selected choir members only. The local parish as well as the local government of Las Piñas with the help of National Commission of Culture and the Arts created different programs to maintain its original appearance and sound.

Las Pinas Bamboo Organ
It was 1972 when the Bamboo Organ was brought to Bonn, Germany for a full restoration. The contract was awarded to Jahannes Klais Orgelbau KG. While the Organ was in Germany, the church was restored to its original state through help of the Filipinos. After the Bamboo Organ’s restoration in Germany, it was played for the first time in Klais Factory, Bonn, Germany. With the help of Sabena Airlines, the restored organ was brought back to the Philippines in March, 1975. Same year, an Inaugural concert was held at the house of the Bamboo Organ which is St. Joseph Parish Church.

St. Joseph Parish Church
 St. Joseph Parish Church

How to Get Here:
From EDSA, you can ride in a bus to Coastal Mall. Cross the Footbridge. Then, take a ride to Tambo in Zapote, then alight at Las Piñas bayan.  If you still can’t find it, you can ask the residents in bayan.
MRT stations, you can travel to Taft Station, then take a jeep going to SM Mall of Asia, then take a bus going to Coastal Mall then take a ride to Tambo in Zapote, then alight at Las Piñas bayan.  If you still can’t find it, you can ask the residents in bayan.