Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bamboo Organ in Las Piñas, The Unplanned Visit that became worthwhile...

What I am supposed to do now? 

The first question that I've uttered when we completed our tasks assigned to us in appraising two (2) properties in Las Piñas City last July 2014 and when the heavy down pour were on our way out from one of the subdivisions we visited for appraisal activities. A question  accompanied with apprehension on not to be able to visit one of the heritage sites that I longed for because of the heavy downpour.
But despite of that heavy down pour, my desire of visiting one of the heritage sites in the Philippines became so intense that I have and need to do it. And that is visiting the Bamboo Organ in this fine City, the Las Piñas City. 

Why I gave much weight in visiting this Bamboo Organ? Because it was the only chance and schedule I had while still in Metro Manila. 

All I thought that visiting this bamboo organ will just be by yourself. But I was surprised that students had a chance to serve as a tour guide which was then a very much helpful to a tourist like me. Narrating how the church was started and how and who invented the Bamboo Organ are just among the stories that we will encounter.
It was not my first time in Las Piñas City, but it was my first time seeing this wonderful manmade creation that made the City very unique.
Spending much of my free time after work is a great pleasure to my eyes seeing the national treasure right in front of my very own eyes, that Las Piñas became famous for. Together with my colleague, we toured around. Attentive to the narration. Took some photos inside which they allowed us to do.
 Saint Ezekiel Moreno....
The old chandelier.... 

The bit of history: Courtesy of Las Piñas Website:

On November 24, 2003, Las Piñas City was given a recognition by the National Museum of the Philippines, being the Philippines' National Treasure, since “it is the only 19th century Bamboo Organ in the Philippines that has survived and is still functioning to date.”  This unique man-made musical instrument is composed of 1,031 pipes, and 902 of which are made out of bamboo while the rest are metal.
The man behind of this masterpiece was a Spanish missionary called Fray Diego Cera Dela Virgen Del Carmel, and was in fact, the first parish priest in Las Piñas during the Spanish time.  Fr. Diego came from the town of Graus (Huesca, Spain), and settled in this part of the Philippines from 1795 to 1830.

Fr. Diego Cera started with the construction of the bamboo organ in 1816 and was finished eight years after in 1824.  

During the 1880s, there was a natural calamity that destroyed the roof of the church, that left the bamboo organ open to nature.  The rainwater and stones were poured inside the organ case, caused damage the instrument and made it not functional for years.  Then the pipes were stored in the old sacristy and were left behind about until around 1917 when a tourist rediscovered its beauty and functionality.

It was only in 1972 when the bamboo organ restoration project began.  Johannes Klais Orgelbau was the one who was awarded with the contract for the restoration, and he had the organ shipped all the way to Bonn, Germany in 1973.  After a couple of years, the bamboo organ came home in 1975.  

A short visit with a lifetime satisfaction in seeing this National Treasure which I longed to see since grade school, that made this unplanned visit became worthwhile.

Location

The St. Joseph Parish Church in Las Piñas housed the Bamboo Organ, and it is about ten kilometers South from the heart of Metro Manila.  Built between 1797 and 1819, the church has an Baroque architectural style and is mainly made out of adobe stones and crushed corals.  It had to undergo renovation with the assistance of the local community and the neighboring area.
Architects Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa and Ludwig Alvarez effectively spearheaded the renovation from 1971 to 1975, in order to restore the structure and the grounds to its original state. 

For tourist fee, just pay P100 pesos after the tour.  

To read more on my Visita Iglesia series, visit here

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