The Las Piñas Church and its Bamboo Organ

90205laspinasw-1070“He came to the Philippines to build organs, and when he arrived, there was neither metal, nor suitable wood, nor tanned leather, nor wire, nor pipes, nor keys, nor anything else with which organs were usually made; but with a genius worthy of an eighteenth century Edison, he rose to the occasion and built an organ of bamboo.” – George Miller, 1912

George Miller was referring to the builder of both the Parish Church of St Joseph in Las Piñas City and its historically famous 19th century Bamboo Organ – Fr. Diego Cera de la Virgen del Carmen, a priest under the Augustinian Recollects.

A native of Spain, Fray Diego Cera served as parish priest in Las Piñas through many endeavors. Historians portray him as a gifted man – a natural scientist, chemist, architect, community leader, organist and organ builder.

The Las Piñas Bamboo Organ is a nineteenth-century church organ made almost entirely from bamboo – only the trumpet stops are made from metal. It is known as the only pipe organ in the world whose pipes are made of bamboo. Most of its pipes, anyway – of the total number of 1,031 pipes, 902 are made of bamboo and the remaining pipes are made of metal.

The church is of “earthquake-ready” baroque style made of adobe (volcanic) stones and was constructed between 1797 and 1819.

Over the years, the church and the organ have undergone various restorations. A major total restoration was done in 1972 where a contract was awarded to Johannes Klais Orgelbau KG in Bonn, Germany and it was shipped there in 1973.  The organ was brought back to the Philippines restored in 1975. While the restoration of the organ was taking place in Germany, a massive restoration project of the church and its surroundings was likewise undertaken at its hometown in Las Piñas.

On November 24, 2003, the National Museum of the Philippines officially declared the Las Piñas Bamboo Organ a ‘National Cultural Treasure.’

The Las Piñas Parish Church with its Bamboo Organ has always been among the popular excursion destinations in Metro-Manila for Filipinos and foreign visitors alike. It has become the scene of many concerts and the annual Bamboo Organ Music Festival held every February.

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~ by gerryruiz on 12 March 2009.

5 Responses to “The Las Piñas Church and its Bamboo Organ”

  1. very nice photos. my family will visit the church & bamboo organ on 8 may. on my daughter’s 18th bday, she decided to go on a pilgrimage to the church instead of having a cotillion. god bless

  2. pano po ba pumunta sa bamboo organ coming from baclaran? ano po ang sasakyan?

    • Sorry, I’m no longer familiar with the current jeepney/bus routes in Metro-Manila. Your objective is to get to Las Piñas city proper.

  3. gud pm..im michelle ebanes donez..im member of church of bamboo organ..pwdi po ako mag kuha ng baptismal..kasi kailangan po dito sa sa simbahan..kasi mag pakasal po kasi ako sa husband ko..pwedi ipa fox nyu nlng ang baptismal ko..kailangan kasi sa simbahan..before ako ma kasal..pwedi rin po ibigay nyu sa mama ko ang baptismal ko..ibigay ko nalang ang name ng mama ko..Elenor Donez..

    thank you..

    • Hi Michelle. Thanks for writing! Unfortunately you wrote to the wrong person.

      I am a photoblogger and I am not connected in any way to the Las Pinas Church. You have to ask your mother to go personally to the church or to the City Registrar’s Office for a copy of your Baptismal Certificate. This would need further authentication at your local National Statistics Office. Good luck!

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