The Filipino’s love for food is perhaps only challenged by our love for music, as evident in our penchant for karaoke and dancing (no matter the occasion). Here, we delve into our musical roots and take a look at some traditional Filipino instruments you need to know about, from the kalaleng in the northern Philippines to the kubing in the south.
Also common in other Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei, the kulintang is a traditional Filipino instrument composed of eight bronze gongs sitting in a row, each with different pitches. Each gong is knobbed at the centre and is perched across two cords, allowing them to resonate freely when struck.
Related instruments include the saronay or kulintang a putao, which has eight knobbed but otherwise flat and rectangular metal plates in a row, strung together by two cords; the babendil, a large gong with a narrow rim; and the agung, a pair of two large gongs with wide rims that taper towards the bottom, suspended vertically on one bar. These gong-based instruments are typically used together in a kulintang ensemble in Maguindanaoan celebrations.
Tatler Trivia: A kulintang ensemble will typically feature a dabakan, a traditional Filipino drum, and the only non-gong instrument of the group.