C E Smith Museum home page Previous page Information page Philippines home
Music is an integral part of Filipino life; it is used in courtship, as entertainment, and in every sort of life ritual and religious ceremony.
A Tinggian woman plays on the Diwdiwas, a type of pan flute
Bamboo nose flutes from the C. E. Smith collection. All of these are probably of Bontok manufacture.
Tinggians playing nose flutes

Flute etching patterns employed by Bontok craftsmen Source: de los Reyes (1975)

Ifugao ceremonial drum

Another instrument found almost everywhere is the bamboo guitar. Several strands of surface fiber are pried away from the body while remaining loose at the ends; bridges are then attached to provide tension and a tuning mechanism.

A sort of jew's harp is found throughout the Philippines. It is used mostly by young men in courting.

The Bontok kalaleng, or nose flute, is made of a smallish variety of bamboo called anes. It is usually about two feet long, which length is determined by that between the nodes of the bamboo, one of which is removed and the other left on. A half-centimeter hole is then made in the remaining node for the air to be forced through; a hole about midway on the bottom is for the thumb, while three more are usually made on the top for the right hand fingers. As you can see, the third flute is much more elaborate, perhaps having been produced for commercial purposes.
Nose flutes are found everywhere in the Philippines. In truth, they are as commonly played with the mouth as with the nose.
The instruments most prized by Filipinos are the bronze gongs acquired in trade with China. These are often regarded as precious family heirlooms, and are universally employed in religious rites and dances. While usually only a pair of gongs are used in alternation, sometimes a complete set of graded gongs will be played.
Bontoks employing the khangsa in a ritual.
Bontok flautist
Set of Moslem gongs