Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Ben Zubiri's piano another addition to Kinaiyang Sugbuanon Museum


CEBU, Philippines - THE piano used by the late composer Ben Zubiri to create such timeless Cebuano songs as Matud Nila, Ikaduhang Bathala, and Pahaluka Ko Day is now going to be part of the Tipiganan sa mga Handumanan sa mga Kinaiyang Sugbuanon Museum.

Donated by the late composer’s daughters, Edwina Zubiri Samson and Elnora Zubiri Almendras, the prized possession was received by no less than the Chairman of the said soon-to-open museum, Jose “Dodong” R. Gullas, and his wife Nena Bagcat-Gullas. The Tipiganan Museum, whose completion is still ongoing, is located at the J and J Building in corner V. Gullas and D. Jakosalem Streets, Cebu City.

In addition to the piano, the guitar used by another Cebuano composer Minggoy Lopez will also be displayed in the museum. It was Minggoy Lopez who penned and composed the Cebuano carol Ani-a Kami, the ballad Kamingaw sa Payag, and the folk song Kagahapon ug Karon. But he’s more known as the composer of Rosas Pandan, which has now become a favorite choral piece even among foreign choirs. (Check Youtube.com.)

According to Dodong Gullas, the museum is “trying its very best to acquire the guitar of Noy Inting Rubi who composed Kasadya Ning Taknaa.” 

He added, “We are also trying to secure the piano or maybe the guitar of the late Dr. Francisco (Dodong) Maningo.”

Among the compositions of Dr. Maningo, who was a cardiologist, are Luyo sa Dag-um, Handumon Ko, Nangita Sa Pasaylo, among others. Luyo sa Dag-um has seen a revival of sorts after Gullas, who calls the song a favorite, made sure that it’s one of the regularly-featured Cebuano songs in the repertoire of the University of the Visayas Chorale, an internationally-awarded choir that he also founded in 1999. (Incidentally, the UV Chorale will soon release an all-Cebuano album.)

Ang Tipiganan museum will be inaugurated on January 12, 2010 to coincide with the birthday of his father, the late Don Vicente Gullas.   

He further said the museum will house various representations of Cebuano customs, tradition and culture, which are largely musically-oriented.

A top Cebuano visual artist has been commissioned to depict five dying, if not long-forgotten “Kinaiyang Sugbuanon” such as the harana, kulilising hari, among others. 

The museum will also stand as a concrete tribute to outstanding Cebuano composers who have had brought music and meaning to the lives of many Cebuanos through the years.

The idea of putting a museum was hatched after the staging of the Kinaiyang Sugbuanong tribute concerts-cum-cultural presentations that Gullas himself organized. The inspiration behind these Kinaiyang Sugbuanon shows first came when he was then serving as a congressman. He was shocked to learn that in Manila, the origins of the very popular Cebuano Christmas carol, Kasadya Ning Taknaa, was not widely known and acknowledged. In fact, it was credited to a Tagalog composer. But he had always known it was of Inting Rubi, whom Gullas personally met when he was a young boy.

In 2007, the first Kinaiyang Sugbuanon was mounted, with posthumous awards being given to Rubi as well as Ben Zubiri. The second was held in March 2008, honoring more composers, and the third one will take place this 2010.

The museum is set to further the cause of Kinaiyang Sugbuanon. All these efforts, he said, are largely meant for the younger generation that they may continuously learn to appreciate and care for Cebuano heritage. Gullas said, “As my old man would always tell me, ‘A country or even a place without any heritage is without history.’ We may now all be clothed in the trappings of modernity, but let us not forget who we are.”












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