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Filipino Instruments

Posted by FAN Admin in Back To Our Roots, Home on 06 16th, 2011

This is a great overview of Filipino instruments that are still used by Indigenous groups throughout the country.


Name Image Description Video
Agung The agung is a Philippine set of two, wide-rimmed, vertically-suspended gongs used by the Maguindanao, Maranao and Tausug as a supportive instrument in their kulintang ensemble. The agung is also ubiquitous among other groups found in Mindanao, Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan as an integral part of their agung orchestra.
Agung a Tamlang The Agung a Tamlang is a type of Philippine slit drum made of hollowed out bamboo in imitation of the real agung. Pitch is determined by the length and depth of the slit. The agung a tamlang is used as practice for the real agung: players either use either one agung a tamlang (hold it with one hand and using the other to strike it with a beater) or using two agung a tamlangs where the other agung is held with one’s feet.
Babendil The babendil is a single, narrow-rimmed Philippine gong used primary as the “timekeeper” of the Maguindanao kulintang ensemble.
The babendil usually has a diameter of roughly one foot making it larger than the largest kulintang gong and comparable to the diameter of the agung or gandingan.
The babendil could be played while standing or when seated with the babendil hung half a foot from the floor.
Dabakan The dabakan is a single-headed Philippine drum, primarily used as a supportive instrument in the kulintang ensembles, which have been playing for centuries in regions of the Eastern Malay Archipelago.
The dabakan is frequently described as either hour-glass, conical, tubular, or goblet in shape. Normally, the dabakan is found having a length of more than two feet and a diameter of more than a foot.
Gandingan The gandingan (talking gongs) is a set of four large Philippine brass hanging-gongs used specifically by the Maguindanao as part of their kulintang ensemble. When integrated into the ensemble, it functions as a secondary melodic instrument after the main melodic instrument, the kulintang. When played solo, the gandingan allows fellow Maguindanao to communicate with each other, allowing them to send messages or warnings via long distances.
Traditionally, women were the only ones allowed to play the gandingan.
Kagul The kagul is a type of Philippine bamboo scraper gong/slit drum of the Maguindanaon with a jagged edge on one side, played with two beaters, one scarping the jagged edge and the other one making a beat. The Maguindanaon and the Banuwaen use it in the rice paddies to guard against voracious birds, using the sound it produces to scare them away. The Maguindanaon and the Bukidnon also use it for simple dance rhythms during social occasions.
Kubing The kubing is a type of Philippine Jew’s harp of bamboo found among the Maguindanaon and other Muslim and non-Muslim tribes in the Philippines and Indonesia. It is also called kobing (Maranao), kolibau (Tingguian), aru-ding (Tagbanua)), aroding (Palawan), kulaing (Yakan), karombi (Toraja), yori (Kailinese). Ones made of sugar palm-leaf are called karinta (Munanese), ore-ore mbondu or ore Ngkale (Butonese.)
The kubing is traditionally considered an intimate instrument, usually used as communication between family members in close quarters.
Kulintang Kulintang is a row of small, horizontally-laid gongs that function melodically, accompanied by larger, suspended gongs and drums. As part of the larger gong-chime culture of Southeast Asia, kulintang music ensembles have been playing for centuries in regions of the Eastern Malay Archipelago — the Southern Philippines, Eastern Indonesia, Eastern Malaysia, Brunei and Timor.
The kulintang is played by striking the bosses of the gongs with two wooden beaters.
The image shows a kulintang ensemble performance in Daly City.
Kulintang A Kayo The kulintang a kayo (literally, “wooden kulintang”) is a Philippine xylophone of the Maguindanaon people with eight tuned slabs arranged horizontally atop a wooden antangan (rack). Made of soft wood such as bayug, the kulintang a kayo is a common found among Maguindanaon households with a musical background.
Kulintang A Tiniok The kulintang a tiniok is a type of Philippine metallophone with eight tuned knobbed metal plates strung together via string atop a wooden antangan (rack). Kulintang a tiniok is a Maguindanaon term meaning “kulintang with string” but they also could call them kulintang a putao, meaning “kulintang of metal.” The Maranao refer to this instrument as a sarunay (or salunay, salonay, saronay, saronai, sarunai), terminology which has become popular for this instrument in America.
Kutiyapi The kutiyapi, also called faglong, fegereng or fuglung, is a Philippine two-stringed, fretted boat-lute. It is the only stringed instrument among the Maguindanaon (a province of the Philippines). It is four to six feet long with nine frets made of hardened beeswax. The instrument is carved out of solid soft wood such as from the jackfruit tree.
Palendag The palendag (also called pulalu, palandag, pulala or lumundeg) is a Philippine bamboo flute, the largest one used by the Maguindanaon (a province of the Philippines.) A lip-valley flute, it is considered the hardest of the three bamboo flutes (the others being the tumpong and the suling) to use because of the way one must shape one’s lips against its end to make a sound. The construction of the mouthpiece is such that the lower end is cut diagonally to accommodate the lower lip and the second diagonal cut is made for the blowing edge. Among the Bukidnon, a similar instrument with the same construction except that it is three-fourths the length of the palendag, is called the hulakteb.
For the Maguindanaon, the palendag was used for intimate gatherings for families in the evening.
Tumpong The tumpong is a type of Philippine bamboo flute used by the Maguindanaon, half the size of the largest bamboo flute, the palendag. A lip-valley flute like the palendag, the tumpong makes a sound when players blow through a bamboo reed placed on top of the instrument and the air stream produced is passed over an airhole atop the instrument.
This masculine instrument is usually played during family gatherings in the evening and is presently the most common flute played by the Maguindanaon.

NY’s Deep Foundation and PAWAINC: Philippine Forum Start Hip-Hop Writer’s Workshop June 10

Posted by FAN Admin in Events, Home on 06 8th, 2011

NY’s Deep Foundation and Philippine Forum

Start Hip-Hop Writer’s Workshop June 10

Posted on Friday, May 20, 2011 by Barbara Jane Reyes

From Bakit Why:

WOODSIDE, NEW YORK – In a collaborative effort between a community-based outreach group and a collective of MC’s bound by their love for music, a celebration of the innate cooperative spirit fostered by grassroots movements springs to life in Queens, New York. Deep Foundation, a long time staple in New York’s underground hip hop scene has banded with the Philippine Forum, a well respected not-for-profit organization that offers direct services to both the Filipino and the larger immigrant community.

In a consolidation of resources, the two are proud to announce the launch of The Hip Hop Writer’s Workshop, housed in the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center of Woodside Queens, to be instructed by Woodside’s own M.U.G. Shot and ILL Poetik, both members of Deep Foundation. The two hour workshop will be open to teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 on Fridays at 7PM starting June 10th, 2011. A requested fee of $25 will cover one-year membership of the youth participants to Philippine Forum and contribution to the use of space and maintenance of the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center, which has become a home to community organizations and different youth, workers’, and many other programs.

With respect to the Philippine Forum’s mission of social assistance and their endeavors to better the community through enacting positive and meaningful social change, Deep Foundation has taken up the parallel cause of educating, enlightening and motivating local youth through the use of creative expression. With the two entities tackling issues of poverty, social inequality and discrimination through their respective mediums, undertaking the creation of a workshop geared specifically towards the propagation of cultural, social and self awareness for the stalwart yet sometimes forgotten younger generation, can only be seen as a marriage between the spiritual and practical,” says Rosendo Pili a.k.a. M.U.G. Shot.

The workshop also aims to prepare the participants for upcoming open-mics and the Sumisigaw Youth Festival, one of the festivals organized by the Philippine Forum and SANDIWA National Alliance of Filipino-American Youth, which will be held in October 22.

Through the poetic discourse of two home grown musicians and the stern awareness of an organization entrenched in the day to day community struggle, The Hip Hop Writer’s Workshop serves as a rally point, a beacon and a podium for those whom our future relies upon.

For more information on the Hip Hop Writer’s Workshop, please email Anne Beryl Corotan, Philippine Forum Youth Coordinator, at or or call (718) 5658862. (Written by: Rosendo Pili) ###

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