BAMBOO ORGAN

The Bamboo Organ Of Las Piñas City Philippines, known as the only "bamboo organ in the world."

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"Bamboos" by Christine Recht and Max Wetterwald

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"The Bamboos" by F.A. McClure

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The Bamboo Organ, housed at St. Joseph Parish Church, Las Piñas City is located some 10 kms., south of the center of Manila in the Philippines. It is only 10 minutes away from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). If you are in Manila and riding a taxi, just ask for "the Bamboo Organ" and the driver will bring you to your destination in Las Pinas City.

Diego Cerra The Organ Builder

The Bamboo Organ is known as the first pipe organ in the world, whose pipes are made of bamboo. The genius who adapted this European instrument to the Filipino climate and using the native material, was a Spanish missionary from Graus (Huesca, Spain), FRAY DIEGO CERA DELA VIRGEN DEL CARMEN ( 1762-1834 ). He was the first parish priest in Las Pñas and lived here between 1795 and 1830.

The Church

The church, made of adobe (volcanic) stones, was constructed between 1797 and 1819. It was built in the so called "earthquake" baroque architectural style.

With the help of the Las Pñas community and the neighboring area, the church and the grounds were returned to its original state. The renovation was effectively carried out through the expertise of Architecs Francisco "Bobby" Mañosa & Ludwig Alvarez between 1971 and 1975.

Adjacent to the church, on the right side when facing the front, used to be the old Spanish Convention,which now serves as entrance for a visit and clearer view of the bamboo organ.



Bamboo organ
The Bamboo Organ

This historic instrument is called "the Bamboo Organ" since most of its pipes are made of bamboo. The total number of pipes is 1,031; 902 are made of bamboo and the remaining pipes are made of metal. It took Fr. Diego Cera 8 years to finish the organ (1816 - 1824 ). A typhoon followed by an earthquake destroyed the roof of the church in 1880's so that stones and water fell inside the organ case which made it unplayable for several years. The pipes were kept in the old sacristy until 1917 when tourists rediscovered its unique allure. Several concerted attempts were made to save the instrument. In 1972, a contract for total restoration was awarded to Johannes Klais Orgelbau in Bonn, Germany where the organ was shipped in 1973. The restored organ returned home March 1975 to a joyous welcome by the Filipino people. Since then, a yearly festival is held in February attracting both local and international tourist and music enthusiasts.

Bamboo Organ Pictures | Bamboo Organ Festival | Listen to sample music
Short History of the Bamboo Organ

1816 - Cutting of the bamboo and selection of wood
1821 - Completion of the Bamboo Organ, except for the reed stops.
1824 - Completion adding of the 122 horizontal reed pipes.
1880 - Bamboo Organ and Church severely damaged by three earthquakes. The Bamboo Organ was dis-assembled and the pipes were placed in the old sacristy.
1882 - A typhoon blows up the roof, the chest of the Bamboo Organ suffers additional damages.
1888 - The church was rebuilt. However, the Bamboo Organ remains unplayable for the next decades.
1911 -The Bamboo Organ was rediscovered by tourist.
1917 - Only two stops of the Bamboo Organ were repaired.
1932 - An electric motor was installed to supply the wind.
1943 - Partial repairs were made.
1961 - Another partial repair made.
1972 - Award of the contract for restoration of the Bamboo Organ to Johannes Klais Orgelbau KG in Bonn, Germany.
1973 - June 29, The complete Bamboo Organ was shipped to Bonn Germany.
1975 - Feb 17,The restored Bamboo Organ was played again for the first time at the Klais factory in Bonn, Germany.
1975 - March 13, The complete Bamboo Organ was flown back to the Philippines via Sabena Airlines.
1975 - May 9, Inaugural concert of the Bamboo Organ by Wolfgang Oehms/Trier, Germany.

Diego Cera Organbuilders, Inc.

To maintain its excellent functionality, a company maintains and preserves this bamboo organ. The Diego Cera Organbuilders, Inc. which was spearheaded by organ-building experts Edgar Montiano and Cealwyn Tagle, DCOB was succesfully put up and rightly tagged as "the First Filipino Pipe organ building company." The unquestionable competence of Mr. Tagle and Mr. Montiano is the product of their intensive training in "organ-building" in various European communities.

DCOB offers designs, construction, restoration and maintenance of pipe organs, (e.g. Construction of Lipa Cathedral Organ in Batangas Philippines; Construction of organ for Lithuania and Austria; not to mention restorations, constructions and re-installation of historic pipe organs allover the Philippines.)

The Bamboo Organ Foundation, Inc.

The Bamboo organ Foundation, Inc., is a non stock, non profit organization founded to preserve and maintain the historic Bamboo Organ. It also engages in the spiritual, educatonal and social enrichment of the people of Las Pinas.

This foundation has sent scholars to Austria to study organ performance and church music, choir conducting, and organ-building. All of the scholars of this foundation have carved their name in their respective fields.

The foundation also organizes the annual International Bamboo Organ Festival being held at the Las Pinas Church. Because of its uniqueness, the Bamboo Organ has earned its prestige and mark in the international cultural scene enough for many foreign artists and musicians to participate in this annual musical event.
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For membership and support for the non profit organization maintaining this historical bamboo organ you can direct your inquiries to:

The Bamboo Organ Foundation, Inc.
St. Joseph Parish, Bamboo Organ Church,
Padre Diego Cera Avenue, Brgy. Daniel Fajardo,
1744 Las Pinas City, Philippines.
Phone:(63)(2) 825-7190
(63)(2)826-1856
Email:boflp@info.com.ph
bambooorganfoundation@yahoo.com

 

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