(Re)Opening a Cultural Memory: The Bamboo Instruments of the Panay Bukidnon

Maria Christine M. Muyco


Various communal issues and narratives emerge when the Panay Bukidnon express themselves in traditional songs, dances, epics, and the playing of musical instruments. In the use of bamboo instruments, particularly, Panay Bukidnons recall their experiences of pains and joys. They share these experiences through sugid (telling), singing, and music-making via the tulali (flute), suganggang (buzzer), tikumbo (zither-percussion), subing (jaw’s harp), and litgit (bowed instrument). There are specific pieces in these bamboo instruments that trigger their feeling of resentment and shame as they have been criticized by lowlanders or the people in their nearest town areas. They are tagged as buki, which means “outmoded” or having ways of mountain people. On the other hand, the playing of instruments brings to mind folk stories, humor, and other interesting tales that enliven community members. Researching the Panay Bukidnon’s knowledge of music is not merely about collecting data but also immersing in the experience of re-opening a memory. My study has applied the local research method of pakikiramdam (sensing) espoused by Enriquez, Santiago, and other Filipino scholars (1975). This method has assisted me to know the right timing and process to approach my research participants. The quality and quantity of data in this study are dependent on the research participants’ recall as well as to their confidence to articulate within the communal bounds of trust. Cultural memory is open-ended and yet selective to process a wide range of experiences. The former reinforces the study’s understanding of the Panay Bukidnon culture, further broadening the discussion of musical instruments aside from the usual focus on music’s elements – pitch, rhythm, timbre, intensity, and texture.


musical instruments, memory, culture, Panay, indigenous,bamboo

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ISSN: 2012-0788