The Rondalla as National Icon

The role of the government, from the national to the local level, have been crucial in the directions rondalla music has traversed throughout the years, thereby constructing and affirming its status as a symbol of Philippine culture.

The National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) was formally organized in 1973 as a response to the “imperative need to preserve, develop and promote Philippine music as an art and as handmaid of cultural development; and in recognition of the Filipino’s innate love for music.” Bandurria was included in the solo instrument category, and the family rondalla in the ensemble category. In 1996, under the guidance of Dr. Ramon P. Santos as Secretary General, the rondalla was included as a regular category in the competition.

In the 1980s, the Pambansang Samahan ng Rondalla (PASARON), a national organization of rondalla groups was organized by Celso Espejo, Benjamin Lucas and Teodorico Cosejo. The organization became one of the avenues in sharing new knowledge in the rondalla through its festivals, informal gatherings, training, and performances.

The local government also plays a big part in the development of the rondalla by supporting  performances in community events. In Negros Oriental, the Dauin Rondalla, the Canlaon Senior Citizens Rondalla, and the Tanjay Rondalla are being supported by their local government. One of the government-supported rondalla groups is the Rondalla Marikina (organized 1960’s), one of the Philippine representatives in the  Smithsonian Folkways exhibition held in Washington , D.C in 1998.

Finally, the strong support of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts for  three The Strings of Unity: International Rondalla Festival  (2004-2018) has been significant in gathering plucked string musicians from all over the world to gather together to witness and share their musical traditions.

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  • Logo of the National Music Competitions for Young Artists or NAMCYA

  • Logo of the Strings of Unity: International Rondalla Competition