This is also a note of million thanks to the Ayalas, specifically Bea Zobel Jr and the Ayala Foundation for the great things they have done to make Bohol even prouder of its cultural heritage. We salute you Ma'am for being a Boholano by heart.
By Pablo TarimanPhilippine Daily InquirerFirst Posted 02:39:00 12/15/2008THREE years ago in Bohol, actor Cesar Montano showed me the interiors of the Baclayon town church, built in 1727 by the Jesuits using coral-stone blocks from the sea and egg white and plaster to glue the blocks together.With it gilded altars, Baroque and Classical inner façade and its retablos highlighted by images of saints, I told the award-winning actor, “What a beautiful venue for concert!” Later, I would test the acoustics and found it excellent.Earlier, I learned that film scorer Nonong Buencamino recorded the choir music used in the Marilou Diaz-Abaya film “Muro-Ami” in this church and the award-winning film was actually shot on Bohol Bay.Later, Montano also told me about the church’s historic pipe organ, which was installed in the choir loft in 1824 and years later found itself in a state of disrepair.Experts say the Baclayon pipe organ has the character of Spanish Baroque organs and its parts could mimic the sound of birds through the little pajarillo pipes. It can also enhance melodies with the tinkling of the cascabeles, an ornamental stop with bells on a wheel drum and campanillas.Through the assistance of Patricia Zobel de Ayala and the Ayala Foundation Inc., the organ’s pipes, wind chests, manual keyboard, pedal and other accessories were repaired extensively and restored to their original form.Saturday morning last week, I saw Montano at the Tagbilaran airport and told him about the Baclayon concert, which would officially herald the coming to life of the newly restored Baclayon pipe organ.In the evening, I found myself on the church choir loft with Montano and wife Sunshine Cruz, watching a concert featuring composer-conductor Cristobal Halffter and pianist Maria Manuela Caro on the pipe organ.In the audience were Jaime Augusto Zobel, Sofia Zobel, Patricia Zobel and Bea Zobel Jr., who isbehind a renewed restoration program involving Bohol’s cultural heritage.So fragilePianist Maria Manuela Caro opened the concert with Antonio de Cabezon’s (1510-1566) Tiento del Primer Tono, followed by a Handel largo solo arranged by AR Parsons.As the first two numbers unfolded, one realized the musical instrument was so fragile. It needed a focused assistant to keep it in tune and go through its complicated parts, like its ornamental stop and its tambor (big wood pipes) used to create rumbling sound similar to a drum.Bach’s Aria and the 7th Variation of the Goldberg Variation had a fairly good reading, and I suppose this piece is better off played on the piano to preserve its original nuances.One got to finally hear the uses of the big wood pipes and the reed stops with Juan Bautista Cabanilles’s “Batalla Imperial.”The piece is a musical replica of a military battle and was properly the most virtuosic piece played on the program.The evening was highlighted with Halffter playing Christmas carols from different countries. He concluded with a contemporary piece that ended with the use of the organ’s pajarillo pipes echoing the sound of birds, and we thought that was the most charming and compelling number from the concert.The significance of this concert is that the Zobel family helped bring back to life the remaining musical symbol of the town’s cultural heritage while also assisting the town embark on a massive restoration campaign to preserve its historical, cultural and natural sites, including local traditions in craftsmanship.Late in the night after the concert, Lani Schoof (wife of Hans Schoof, owner of Baclayon’s Peacock Garden Resort and Spa) treated Montano and company to a late-night cap.Schoof, who is German but very Boholano (and Filipino) at heart, earlier showed us his Rizal collections in his cigar room, including furniture from Heidelberg where Rizal stayed in Germany.It was an uncanny coincidence Montano had played Rizal in Abaya’s “Rizal.”Montano remarked before the night cap ended: “It would be nice to hear Cecile Licad play in Bohol next year after this historic pipe organ concert in our historic town.”
Pic of Montano and fellow Boholano Rebecca Lusterio (Panaghoy sa Suba) grabbed from getinvolved.wordpress.com