The Bamboo Organ
While the City of Manila has the lion’s share of historical sites in Metro Manila, some of the other cities have historical landmarks, too. The southern city of Las Piñas, for example, also has a Historical Corridor. Diego Cera Avenue in Las Piñas is dotted with structures that date back to the Spanish Era. The highlight of Las Piñas’ Historical Corridor is without the doubt the Bamboo Organ.
The Bamboo Organ is described by many international organ masters as one of the finest old organs in the world. Its construction of bamboo is noted as being one of the major factors that gives it a truly unique and lively sound.
Located inside St. Joseph Parish Church, the Bamboo Organ is a nineteenth-century church organ with organ pipes made almost entirely of bamboo (only the trumpet stops are made of metal). It was completed in 1824 by Father Diego Cera, the first resident parish priest of Las Piñas. Eventually, age and damage due to various natural disasters made the organ unplayable. In 1972, the national government and some concerned local units pooled their resources to send the Bamboo Organ to Bonn, Germany for repairs. The restored organ returned home in March 1975 to much fanfare. In fact, the restoration of the Bamboo organ may very well be the one act that preserved Las Piñas’ Historical Corridor, as widespread renovations and rehabilitations were done to the historical structures of Las Piñas in anticipation of the organ’s return.
If you want to see the Bamboo Organ for yourself, head on to St Joseph’s Parish. After paying 50 pesos per person, you will be first taken to a quaint but interesting museum. After a few minutes, the guide will take you to see the Bamboo Organ itself. According to sources, it’s best to visit the Bamboo Organ from 8am-12pm, and from 2pm-6pm, while someone is playing the said organ.
Take the LRT1 (Green Lane) to the Baclaran station. From there, walk towards the Baclaran Church area, where there will be a gaggle of Jeepneys waiting for passengers. Look for a Jeepney that has an “ALABANG ” signboard in the windshield. Avoid the Jeepneys that say “ALABANG via Coastal” as you would have to take another ride from Zapote to the Bamboo Organ. When in doubt, ask the Driver if he’s passing by the Bamboo Organ (He’ll know enough English, don’t worry). Just ask to be dropped off St Joseph’s.
Or if you’re not feeling adventurous, take a taxi.