DOST promotes bamboo development through music

Locally-made bamboo musical instruments (BMIs) took the spotlight in a recent virtual concert through the efforts of the Department of Science and Technology - Forest Products Research and Development Institute’s (DOST-FPRDI).

Gamely performing to the delight of the audience were DOST Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña (right) and DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara (left). Sec. dela Peña used “kawagong” (bamboo tube), while Usec. Guevara used marimba. (Photo from DOST / MANILA BULLETIN)

Called “Musika ng Kawayan, Yaman ng Bayan”, the concert featured ethnic music and was featured in the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) showcasing Filipino talents from across the country.  

It was organized by DOST-FPRDI’s BMI Innovation R&D Program.
The performers from Luzon were Mr. Joey Ayala; Prof. Armando V. Salarza who played the Las Pinas Bamboo Organ; Kalinga’s Dr. Beniccio Sokkong who used his own version of the nose flute (tonggali) and kolitong; Philippine Normal University’s Himig Kawayan; Pangkat Kawayan; and DOST-FPRDI’s Himig Agham Kawayan.
From the Visayas, the musicians were Huni Ukulele and Mr. Joseph Gara, 40th Cebu Pop Festival Grand Winner, and Leyte’s Dulag Karatong Festival Performers who gave a rousing number showing their symbolic recovery from Typhoon Yolanda’s devastation in 2013.
The Dulag performers used karatong (bamboo slit drum), karatuktok (bamboo lyre), hagubhob (open tube drum), pagakpak (bamboo clapper) and marimba.
Meanwhile, Zamboanga del Norte’s pride— the Dipolog Community Rondalla— with BMI maker Mr. Jay Sarita, represented Mindanao.
“The concert was a celebration of science, the creative arts, and Philippine culture,” said DOST-FPRDI Director Romulo T. Aggangan. “Thru the event, we were able to show the versatility of bamboo as a superior raw material for musical instruments.”
“The DOST-FPRDI’s BMI Innovation R&D Program aims to apply science in developing and improving BMIs. With locally developed technologies, we hope to improve the processing and hasten the production of these instruments,” explained Program Leader For. Aralyn L. Quintos.
Aside from developing technologies, the initiative also “seeks to awaken our people’s appreciation for BMIs and how these are closely interwoven with the lives of indigenous groups, and therefore, our own.”
“With the hard work of the BMI Team and the help of all our partners, we have good reason to look forward to an invigorated BMI sector in the future,” said DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara.
“We will continue to help our local artisans by finding ways to extend the service life of these bamboo instruments while improving their aesthetics and playability at the same time. In the meantime, I hope all of us will count ourselves avid supporters to the cause of promoting and preserving this priceless legacy of Filipino music.”
The BMI R&D Program is a collaboration of DOST-FPRDI, UP Center for Ethnomusicology, UP Electronics and Electrical Engineering Institute and Philippine Normal University. It is also under DOST’s recently launched Science and Creative Arts Program.