Come and Visit
If you are a music enthusiast and want to go on tour at St. Joseph Parish Church, a BOFI Tourist Assistant can accompany you and enjoy a comprehensive series of displays at the museum where artifacts and old photographs of the Church and the Bamboo Organ can be found. It will give you the history of the Church, how it was built and the important contributions on how it came to its present existence.
The Bamboo Organ Museum and the Souvenir Shop are both open to the public from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 NN / 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Mondays to Sundays.
The Bamboo Organ was built by FR. Diego Cera, parish priest of Las Piñas in the years between 1817 and 1824. It is essentially a Spanish instrument of the 18th century, his family having been organ-builders in Graus, Hauesca of Several generations. However, the pipes that would have been of wood in Spain were here made of bamboo, the best material at hand. In 1975, the organ was restored by Johannes Klais in his shop in Trier, Germany, and its return to Las Piñas gave rise to the beginning of this Festival. It is currently watched over by the Diego Cera Organ Builders of Las Piñas.
Fr. Diego Cera & The Bamboo Organ
The unique and historic instrument is rightly called “the only Bamboo Organ in the World” since most of its pipes are made of bamboo. The total number of pipes is 1,031; 902 are made of bamboo and the remaining pipes are made of metal. It took Fr. Diego Cera 8 years to finish the organ (1816-1824).
The genius who adapted this European instrument to the Filipino climate using the native material, was a Spanish missionary from Graus (Huesca, Spain) FRAY DIEGO CERA DELA VIRGEN DEL CARMEN (1762-1834). He was the first parish priest in Las Piñas and lived here between 1795 and 1830. A typhoon followed by an earthquake destroyed the roof of the church in 1880’s so that stones and water fell inside the organ case which made it unplayable for several years. The pipes were kept in the old sacristy until 1917 when tourist rediscovered its unique allure.
In 1972, a contract for total restoration was awarded to Johannes Klais Orgelbau in Bonn, Germany where the organ was shipped in 1973. The restored organ returned home March 1975 to a joyous welcome by the Filipino people. Since then, the yearly International Bamboo Organ Festival is held in February attracting both local and international tourists and music enthusiasts.
On November 24, 2003, after a panel of experts evaluated the merits of this famous instrument, the National Museum of the Philippines officially declared the Las Piñas Bamboo Organ as National Cultural Treasure since “it is the only 19th century Bamboo Organ in the Philippines that has survived and is still functioning.”