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Cebuano Music. Part 1. Demographics, Brief history of locale, Culture, Music and Influences to today’s music. Cebu Province  is located at the center of the Visayan Islands.

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cebuano music

Cebuano Music

Part 1

Demographics, Brief history of locale, Culture, Music and Influences to today’s music


CebuProvince is located at the center of the Visayan Islands.

  • It lies to the east of Negros Island; to the west of Leyte and Bohol Islands. Cebu is a long narrow island stretching 225 kilometers from north to south, surrounded by 167 neighboring, smaller islands, which include Mactan, Bantayan, Malapascua, Olango and the Camotes Islands. 
brief history of locale

 At the time of the global scramble for exotic spices in the East, Portuguese navigator sailing for Spain, Ferdinand Magellan, came upon Cebu on April 7, 1521.

  • The island is known as the site of Ferdinand Magellan's death in the Battle of Mactan. Magellan had joined forces with Spanish soldiers and was leading them against Lapu-Lapu, a Visayan chieftain. There are memorials to both men on the island in Lapu-Lapu City.
Brief History of Locale

Cebuano culture is traditionally characterized as a blend of Japanese people, Malay and tradition with influences from Asian culture and the United States. The majority of its population are Roman Catholic and there are also some followers of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and among others.

  • The patron of Cebu is the Santo Niño de Cebu. According to historical accounts, the Santo Niño was given by the Portuguese sea captain and explorer Ferdinand Magellan to the wife of the chief, Rajah Humabon as a gift to celebrate their alliance. That act is depicted in Cebu’s largest, most popular cultural event, the Sinulog where street-dancing and loud drum beats preceded by a holy Mass is the main attraction.
culture literature

Cebuano literature, as much as most literature of the Philippines, started with fables and legends of the early people in the Philippines and colonial period, right down to the Mexican (Viceroyalty of New Spain) and Spanish influences. Although existence of a pre-hispanic writing system in Luzon is attested, there is proof that baybayin was widespread in the Visayas. Most of the literature produced during that period was oral. They were documented by the Spanish Jesuit Fr. Ignatio Francisco Alzinal. During the Spanish colonial period, the religious theme was predominant. Novenas and gozos, most notably the BatoBalani for the Santo Niño.

Culture (literature)

Off-theater, there were open-air plays staged in Visayan villages as well as neighborhood performances of the Cebuano balitao. Then, one must also consider that, beginning with the Spanish period, the social calendar was filled with religious festivities that created occasions for musical performances. Hence, it was a standard for a town, and even many barrios, to have a local orchestra or band. In later years, Cebuano movies and radio programs also stimulated the creativity of composers and performers.