Cebu News

Rama vows to help preserve Cebuano music, culture

Marigold Lebumfacil - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Mayor Michael Rama has vowed to support and push moves to institutionalize the preservation of Cebuano music and culture.

The city mayor made the promise during a tribute for Cebuano musical greats organized by The Freeman chairman and JRG Halad Museum founder Jose "Dodong" Gullas and his wife Nena at the JRG Halad Museum yesterday.

The tribute, dubbed "Paghinumdum" was a musical tribute for Maestro Mil Villareal and Queen of Visayan Songs Ms. Susan Fuentes.

It was The Freeman columnist and ABS-CBN anchor Leo Lastimosa who challenged Rama and Vice Mayor Edgar Labella to involve the city government in efforts to preserve Cebuano music and culture.

"To Mayor Rama and Vice Mayor Labella, please, you are in the right position to institutionalize what sir Dodong has started," Lastimosa said before the JRG Halad Museum's theme song "Awit ni Dodong" was sung. Lastimosa wrote the lyrics of the song while Villareal provided the music. The song was Villareal's last composition before he died.

 "I will request my vice mayor (Labella) to come up with a legislation through an ordinance that will institutionalize the preservation of Cebuano culture and music," Rama said.

The mayor said that being a music lover himself, he will surely support efforts to preserve Cebuano music.

"Kay hinganta man ang mayor. Maung angayan ra pod nga maghimo kami ug lakang para sa kaayohan ug ikalambo sa kantang Binisaya," Rama said.

He added that Cebu "needs more Dodong Gullas" so that Cebuano songs and culture will really be preserved

"We have to accept the challenge. It is not just a social obligation but also a moral obligation, especially to the younger generations. We have to preserve and promote Cebuano culture and music. I thank Leo (Lastimosa) for reminding me," Labella told The Freeman.

One of the ways to promote Cebuano songs, Lastimosa said, is to play these over the radio. He added that the Broadcasters' Code provides that radio stations should play four original Filipino songs every hour. This, he said, is no longer practiced by most radio stations.

 "We will look into the possibility of requiring FM stations to play Visayan songs in accordance with the Broadcasters' Code. I believe that Cebuano is the richest dialect so to speak. This needs to be enriched and preserved for the next generations to come," Labella said, adding that it is time for the City Council to do its part so that the efforts of Gullas to preserve Cebuano music and culture through the JRG Halad Museum will not be wasted.

Labella said that one of the things that the council can do is to require public elementary and high school students to have a study tour at the JRG Halad Museum so that they will have an overview of Cebuano culture and music.

The JRG Halad Museum is the only museum of music in the country.

"Nalipay kaayo ko sa positive feedback ni Mayor Rama ug ni Vice Mayor Labella sa pag-institutionalize sa preservation of Cebuano music and culture, especially the songs, composers and artists. Kay kung dili pod ni mabuhat, mangawala ra gyud ni tanan," Gullas said.

Meanwhile, patrons of music, arts and culture who attended the musical tribute were treated to timeless Cebuano songs performed by Girlie Lapinid-Laspiñas and the multi-awarded and internationally-renowned University of the Visayas Chorale.

Laspiñas, accompanied by the Mutya Band, sang "Nahisulat sa Hangin", "Ikaw" and "Hain na ang Saad," all composed by Villareal and performed by Fuentes.

Laspiñas said that she will be forever thankful to Villareal for being her mentor when she started performing in 1983. She is also at the same time grateful to Fuentes who taught her how to sing from the heart.

The UV Chorale, meanwhile, performed Villareal compositions "Bisan sa Damgo Lang," which was sang by Pilita Corales; "Langit ug Yuta," which was the grand prize winner of the 5th Cebu Pop Music Festival; and "Ikaw ang Langit Ko."

As a finale, the UV Chorale sang "Awit ni Dodong."

Mayor Rama, upon the request of Gullas also sang a Cebuano favorite, "Kausa Nabasa ang Tubig."

JRG Halad Museum co-founder Nena Gullas said that Villareal, Fuentes and all the other Cebuano artists who have already passed away should still be remembered.

"Even if they left us, we still have to celebrate. This is a tribute to the composers and Cebuano artists. Bahala ug nangawala na sila but kinahanglan nga ato gihapon silang hinumduman," she said. — /QSB (FREEMAN)

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