Posted by: neblinoso | November 25, 2009

Bamboo Organ

Before i embarked on this overseas journey, my grandma recommended i visit the Bamboo Organ in Las Piñas.  I was finally able to do this on Sunday when  Rico accompanied Jen and i to the parish of St. Joseph, home of the bamboo organ.

We arrived just as the tower bell sounded the start of mass.  We found an open bench off to the side and sat down.  Oscillating fans were mounted to the stone walls, spreading a warm breeze through the church.  Using the small leaflet that was handed out, i did my best to follow along. 

With Rico translating, i was able to understand a parable the priest was telling of a king who’d given seeds to a group of children, asking them to harvest the seeds.  One boy came back to the king and told him he could not grow anything, while another group brought the king the fruits of their labor.  The king knew that the boy who’d told him he was unable to grow anything was being honest while the other group tried to deceive the king.  What the children didn’t know was that the king had soaked the seeds in something to make them unable to grow, and was thus able to discern the truth. 

The singing was my favorite part of mass.  Though i could not understand all the words, you could still feel the message through the song.  At one point, i closed my eyes and it felt like i was floating through the air with each note.  I actually preferred hearing the mass in Tagalog.  It somehow made the scripture readings more real, like i’d traveled back through time and was amongst the crowd, straining to hear the teachings of a prophet. 

As we sat there, a little girl in the pew behind me stroked and pulled on my hair.  At first i thought i was catching it between my back and the pew, but when i turned i saw her looking at me.  She was so cute.  It wasn’t bothersome, but reminded me of when i had to sit in what i called “Big Church”, a.k.a. church for grown ups.  I wonder if i ever passed the time by playing with someone’s hair?

After the mass we were able to get a closer look at the organ up on the balcony and tour the small museum of artifacts relating to the bamboo organ and it’s restoration journey.  It spent some time in Germany for repairs before being shipped back home.  I would hate to be the one loading that cargo.  I’d probably slip and send the whole relic crashing to pieces.

My grandparents were in this very same place in 1962.  Many of my travels have been in the company of my grandma, so it was quite unique and special to be in this place, knowing that almost 50 years ago, my own family walked these grounds.  It was especially beautiful hearing the bamboo organ being played throughout the mass, as my grandpa was also an organ player and i have many fond memories of sitting on the bench with him while he played.


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