The Rondalla in the Philippine School System

Schools and universities have also contributed to the development and sustenance of the rondalla in terms of broadening the musical repertoire, codifying and systematizing rondalla practices.Rondalla scholars and musician-mentors such as Francisco Santiago, Nicanor Abelardo, Antonio Molina, Felipe De Leon, Antonio Buenaventura, Alfredo Buenaventura, Hilarion Rubio, Jose Santos and Ramon Tapales, among others, served as judges for the various rondalla competitions. 

The Centro Escolar University (CEU) Rondalla (1926) was one of the oldest school-based  rondalla groups on record. Founded by Dr. Conception Aguila and Lourdes Guzman, the members are high school students of CEU, they were often invited to perform in recitals of the CEU Conservatory of Music. The University of Santo Tomas Pharmacy Rondalla was also founded in 1927, headed by Juan Silos and composed of female students of Pharmacy.

Other groups include the Philippine Normal University (PNU) Rondalla(1954) composed of faculty and staff of PNU, headed by Corazon S. Maceda and the University of the Philippines (UP) Rondalla, founded by Edna Culig in 1995 and revived in 2009 under Elaine Espejo-Cajucom, the same year that the UP included the bandurria as a major course in the College of Music.

The Division of City Schools of Manila was supportive of rondalla organizations through yearly competitions. A consistent winner was the Ramon Magsaysay High School conducted by Angelito C. Pasamaba.

In 2000, Rondalla  was taught as part of the curriculum in music through the Special Program for the Arts (SPA) of the Department of Education (DepEd). Seeking to improve the skills and teaching techniques of music teachers, the DepEd organized training every summer for art teachers that handle the courses.

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  • Colonel Antonio Buenaventura, Dr. Antonio J. Molina and Felipe de Leon judging of a Rondalla contest, December 2, 1967

  • Rondalla of the Centro Escolar University

  • Rondalla of St. Paul College Manila, November 22, 1963

  • “Only 5 of 23 members of Padre Burgos Elementary School Rondalla are men (From left Emiliano Salvador, Antonio Galang, Mirardo Cristobal, Victoriano Pacariem, Bernardo Antonio).” Weekly Women’s Magazine. July 29, 1955

  • Legarda Elementary School Rondalla