Philippine Island Times Adventures of an American expat in the Philippines

December 18, 2008


Filed under: siquijor — Donald @ 4:08 pm


The Visayan region of the Philippines is famous for music, and Christmas involves a lot of caroling. Every day people come to my front porch to sing. Sometimes its just a couple of kids, sometimes a family, sometimes an entire band. These photos are of the premier caroling group in the barangay (neighborhood).

Siquijor carolers

The lady in front with the wire rimmed glasses is my “helper”. Every Thursday she cleans my house, rakes my yard, and washes my clothes. The gentleman in the white tank in back lives next door. He’s the brother of my landlady and a great cook.

Caroling instruments

These guys catch a lot of fish for the village. Their ensemble included a stand-up bass that was held like a guitar, two actual guitars, and two banjos.

Carolers banjo bass

The banjos were the oldest I’ve ever seen, probably from the American colonial era.

Banjo caroler

They did a truly beautiful old Visayan song. I’m told that just twenty years ago people got together to play and sing them regularly. Evening entertainment now is mostly TV (one channel) and highly-amplified American pop karaoke. One of my neighbors even treats us to Kenny Rogers songs in the morning. Every morning. Not much middle ground here.


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