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Manila, Philippines

Fifty Years After the

Report on the Enquiry to the
Philippine Episcopal
Manila, Philippines

Fifty Years after the Council
Report on the Enquiry to Episcopal Conferences
and Major Religious Institutes and Faculties of Theology



The Philippines is an archipelago in Southeast Asia. It is bounded by the

Formosa Sea in the north; the Pacific Ocean in the East; the Celebes Sea in the South;
and, the West Philippine Sea in the West.

Three major island groups compose the Philippines. Luzon is the largest: the
province of Batanes (Prelature of Batanes) is its northernmost point, while the province
of Sorsogon (Diocese of Sorsogon) is its southernmost point; the island of Palawan is also
part of Luzon. Mindanao is the second largest in terms of land area, consisting of
mainland Mindanao, and several island groups. Visayas is the third, composed of the
Panay and Negros peninsulas (the Ecclesiastical provinces of Jaro and Capiz), the Samar-
Leyte (Ecclesiastical province of Palo), Bohol and Cebu islands (Ecclesiastical province of
Cebu), and several smaller islands.


The Philippines is composed of a myriad of ethnic groups and languages. It is one

of the ten most linguistically diverse countries in the world, and second most diverse in
South East Asia after Indonesia (Lewis, Simons, & Fennig, 2013). It is noted as being
one of 44 nations where no single language group exceeds 50% of the total population
(Robinson, 1993). While the exact number of native Philippine languages is difficult to
count, estimates range from 110 (Constantino, 1998) to 185 (Lewis, Simons, & Fennig,
2013). Different estimates arise from ambiguities in classification, whereby similar speech
varieties may be classified as separate languages, dialects of the same language, a
macrolanguage, or a dialect continuum (McFarland, 1983). New research can improve
the classification and enumeration of languages, and also identify languages that are no
longer used.

The Roman Missal and other rites are translated into several Philippine languages
after the Second Vatican Council, namely: Ilocano (for use in Northern Luzon), Ibanag
(for use in Cagayan Valley), Pangasinense (for use in Pangasinan), Kapampangan (for use
in Pampanga), Tagalog (for use in Metropolitan Manila, Central and Southern Luzon,
and Palawan), Bicolano (for use in the Bicol region in Southern Luzon), Ilonggo (for use
in Western Visayas), Cebuano (for use in the Ecclesiastical Province of Cebu and
Mindanao), Waray (for use in Eastern Visayas), and Chavacano (for use in Zamboanga
and Basilan provinces). Most of these translations already gained the recognitio of the
Congregation for Divine Worship. English is also widely used through-out the country,
and to some extent, Spanish. Latin is used in some instances, not only by those attached
to the use of the forma extraordinaria, but even those who celebrate the Mass in the forma
Evolution of Sacred Music in the Philippines

When the first Spanish missionaries came to the Philippines in the 16th century,
the Catholic faith they preached to the natives was expressed in a liturgy that was in
Latin and the music that went with it was Western. They celebrated the liturgy using
Gregorian chant, polyphonic Masses and motets, and hymns, all in Latin. Gradually they
instructed the natives not only in singing but also in playing various instruments like
guitar, violin, flute, harp, and later on, the organ. In 1857, a boys’ choir was formed in
the Dominican convent of Santo Domingo in Manila, which evolved into a music school.
Later, a fine organ was installed in the church. The first orchestra was formed in the
Augustinian Convent of Guadalupe in 1601. In 1643, Fray Juan de Torres established
the Manila Orchestra. In 1742, the Colegio de Niños Tiples de la Iglesia Cathedral was
founded. Between 1816-1824, Fr. Diego de Cerra built a unique instrument, the famous
Las Piñas Bamboo Organ that is still being used for liturgical services in the Parish
Church of St. Joseph. It contains 950 bamboo pipes with 22 stops, 43 pipes for each
register and 12 pedals. In 1870 the Augustinian Fray Toribio organized an orchestra at
the San Agustin Church in Intramuros. The orchestra was led by Marcelo Adonay, the
first native Filipino to compose a Mass. Other Filipino musicians were Pantaleon Lopez
and Ladislao Bonus.

The Christianized natives did not find the Latin liturgical celebrations in church
adequate enough to express their faith. So there evolved extra-liturgical services in which
they could perform music that was more to their taste: they sang songs in Spanish and
gradually included songs in their own vernacular language. Thus, during the Advent-
Christmas season, aside from the Simbang Gabi (A series of nine dawn masses in
anticipation of Christmas, also known as the Misa de Aguinaldo) they held
the Panunuluyan and the Pamamasko, where Spanish, Mexican and local villancicos were
sung. During the Lenten season, in their homes they held the Pabasa, or public chanting
of the Pasyon. On Easter Sunday, the Salubong was held early in the morning in the plaza
before the dawn Mass. For the celebrations of All Saints' Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls'
Day (Nov. 2), aside from going to Mass and to the cemetery to give honor to the
departed, singing groups called pangangaluluwa pretending to be the wandering souls of
the dead, would go from house to house begging for prayers and alms. In the month of
May, devotion to Mary took the form of the "Flores de Mayo". Also in May, to
commemorate the finding of the Cross by Empress Helena, the mother of Emperor
Constantine, there is the Santacruzan. In all these extra-liturgical celebrations Spanish
and vernacular hymns were sung with music that were not like the Gregorian chant,
classical polyphony, or Latin hymns that were sang in the Church. In October, the
Rosary with the litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary were chanted or sung in the vernacular.
During Novenas especially to patron saints, Spanish and vernacular songs as well as
prayers were the rule. Gradually, non-Latin songs entered into the Simbang Gabi
celebrations (with castanets, tambourines and even bird whistles). In some localities,
other extra-liturgical celebrations were more theatrical, like the Senakulo and
the Moriones (Marinduque) during Holy Week. Others were dances in honor of the local
patron saints like the Ati-atihan (Aklan) in honor of Santo Niño and the dancing during
the procession in honor of Saint Clare of Assisi (Obando), and other celebrations in
honor of Santo Niño in Cebu, Pandacan, and Tondo, among others. Up to the end of the
Spanish rule, the Christianized Filipinos attended the religious services in church mostly
as audience while music was sung by trained choirs in the Parish Churches accompanied
by the organ and some instruments, even an orchestra. After these celebrations, they had
their own extra-liturgical celebrations with their own sacred and religious songs and

At the beginning of the 20th century, the situation began to change. On November
22, 1903 Pope Pius X issued his motu propio, "Tra le Sollicitudine" to reform the liturgy.
He encouraged the participation of the congregation in the liturgical celebrations. The
liturgy was still in Latin but bishops and pastors were instructed to teach the faithful to
sing the ordinary of the Mass at least in Gregorian chant. As the faithful were taught to
sing the Latin Mass, gradually vernacular songs were introduced side by side. Several
German & French dioceses had special concessions to sing parts of the ordinary of the
Mass in the vernacular (the German singmesse). In other places, especially in the missions,
where such concessions were not given, vernacular songs with religious texts (though not
liturgical texts) were introduced.

At the start of the American rule in the Philippines, the new missionaries, this time
coming from the United States of America, introduced English hymns and songs in
English. Missionaries from Europe taught English translations of their own vernacular
hymns, such as the German hymns: Grosser Got Wir Loben Dich (Holy God, We Praise
thy Name), Lobe den Herren (Praise to the Lord) & Stille Nacht (Silent Night); the French
Lourdes hymn (Immaculate Mother), Cantique de Noel (O Holy Night); even the Latin
hymn: Veni Veni Emmanuel (O Come, O Come Emmanuel). A four-hymn pattern for
Mass started to evolve. The liturgy was still in Latin but the faithful would sing at the
entrance, offertory, communion, and after the Mass using vernacular songs.

Although some Protestant missionaries like the Methodists started to arrive toward
the end of the Spanish rule (last half of the 19th century), the advent of American rule
signaled an influx of Protestant missionaries, mainly American. They brought with them
a liturgy that emphasized the participation of the congregation in singing hymns not in
Latin but in their vernacular (English). The Protestant liturgy was alive with
congregational participation and in a language the congregation could understand. The
Aglipayan Church, which was also founded at this time, separated itself from the main
Catholic body and introduced the use of the vernacular in their liturgy. Local sects (like
Iglesia ni Cristo) were being formed and the services were in the vernacular.

Catholic composers followed the example of Marcelo Adonay who

composed Liberamus (1869), Benedictus (1895), Hosanna (1899), and Te Deum and a
grand mass. Ave Marias were composed by Nicanor Abelardo, Francisco Santiago,
Francisco Buencamino, Sr., and Manuel Veluz. A soloist usually sang the songs during
the offertory or communion on Sundays, as well as during weddings and funerals.
Antonio J. Molina, Juan Hernandez and Antonio Buenaventura wrote several masses, all
in Latin. A few non-Latin hymns were written during the period (first half of the
20th century): Dios Te Salve, the Hail Mary in Spanish, which is sung during Flores de
Mayo processions and attributed to Tereso Zapata (one of the early faculty members of
the University of the Philippines Conservatory of Music); No mas Amor que el tuyo by
Simeon Resurrecion (after a poem by Manuel Bernabe) and Gloria a Jesus en el
Cielo which was composed for the International Eucharistic Congress in 1937. The
Benedictine Jaime Bofill, OSB composed O Niño Dios in honor of the Sto. Niño de
Prada enshrined in the Benedictine Abbey in Manila. Meanwhile, a certain P.
Hernandez composed the hymn Despedida a la Virgen in honor of the Our Lady of the
Most Holy Rosary of La Naval, which has been venerated at the Dominican Convent of
Santo Domingo since the 17th century.

On December 25, 1955, Pope Pius XII issued his encyclical letter "Musicae Sacrae
Disciplina" on Sacred Music and on September 3, 1958, the Sacred Congregation of
Rites issued an Instruction, "De Musica Sacra" which detailed new norms on sacred
music. Among the norms was a universal concession to sing sacred vernacular songs
during the Latin liturgy.

When the preparatory Commissions were preparing for the Vatican Council II after
the announcement made by Pope John XXIII in 1958 that he will convene a General
Council, there was a strong lobby to change the Tridentine decree that required Latin to
be used in the liturgy. The Council convened in 1962 and on December 4, 1963
approved its first document, the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, "Sacrosanctum
Concilium". The document permitted the translation of parts of the liturgy (especially the
Mass) into the vernacular. Subsequent documents would eventually allow more parts to
be translated until the whole liturgy was in the vernacular.

On January 1964, the bishops of the Philippines met in Cebu City and immediately
approved the use of Philippine languages for the liturgy in addition to English and
Spanish. The approved languages were: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Pangasinan,
Pampango, Bicolano, Hiligaynon, & Waray. Ibanag and Chavacano were later approved
and all were confirmed by Rome.

Filipino composers were at first in a quandary as to what music to use in the liturgy
since there was no Filipino liturgical tradition to speak of. The Spanish colonial music
that evolved during the more than three centuries of Spanish rule and which spilled over
to the 20th century after the coming of the American rule was mostly secular in character,
and at best used in extra-liturgical services. Some masses and other hymns and prayers
like Ave Maria, Stabat Mater, Tantum Ergo, O Salutaris have been set to music in this

The first attempt was to translate the English text of hymns into the vernacular,
which proved to be a disaster for the most part. The Benedictine Abbey of Our Lady of
Monserrat in Manila introduced the Pilipino chant adopted from indigenous ethnic
chants from the north: (Kalinga), from Mindoro (Mangyan) and from Mindanao (taken
from the collection of Dr. Jose Maceda of the University of the Philippines). This was
presented to the bishops in their meeting in Baguio City in January 1965. This chant was
flexible enough to be sung in different languages and was published in English, Cebuano,
& Bicol. One bishop commented: "Why use these pre-Hispanic chants when the Filipino
Christians are more familiar with Spanish colonial music developed during the three
centuries of Spanish rule?" Another approach was to adopt foreign songs especially
American songs and music composed and compiled by the Taize Community in France.

At the forefront of the liturgical reform in the Archdiocese of Manila was a Belgian
missionary, Fr. John Van ers Sten CICM, who was the director of the Manila Cathedral
Choir as well as the San Carlos Major Seminary choir. With Sr. Graciana Raymundo,
DC, dean of the College of Music of the Colegio de la Concordia and the Benedictine
monks, Fr. Van de Steen, CICM organized concerts of Sacred Music in the Abbey
Church of Our Lady of Monserrat and the Manila Cathedral and other venues. Seminars
on Sacred Music were also given, the forerunner of what is now known as the Manila
Archdiocesan Institute of Music in the Liturgy.

In the 1970's the Jesuits spearheaded the introduction of Spanish colonial music into
the liturgy. Fr. Eduardo Hontiveros, SJ was at the head of this movement with his
confreres Fr. Nemy S. Que, SJ, Fr. Fruto Ramirez, SJ and later joined by the young Fr.
Manoling Francisco, SJ. Most of the songs they composed were in Tagalog liturgy. In
Davao City in Mindanao, Narcisa Fernandez, a music graduate, wrote for the Cebuano
liturgy. In Cebu, a musician educated in the USA, Msgr. Rudy Villanueva, enriched the
music for the Cebuano liturgy. Lucio San Pedro & Edgardo Parungao made their own
contributions in a more classical but traditional style. Ernani Cuenco used a more popular
style; Lucresia Kasilag composed a mass with ethnic influences and Ryan Cayabyab, in
his own personal idiom, rhythmic and melodious, composed a mass that was even
choreographed and performed at the Manila Cathedral.

The Benedictine Missionary Sisters of Tutzing (St. Scholastica's College) helped in

the reform, not only by composing new songs but, in addition, through a collection of
hymns and songs for the liturgy: "PAX". They also conducted Summer Sessions on
Liturgical Music with students coming from all over the country. Foremost among them
is Sr. Mary Placid Abejo, OSB, the dean of the College of Music. Under her direction,
the sisters put together music for the Liturgy of the Hours (the Roman Office), which is
used widely among religious communities.

The Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat (San Beda
College) set their monastic Liturgy of the Hours to music by composing new chant
formulae. Pasyon chants were adapted for use in the Holy Week liturgical celebrations.
Music for the All Soul's Day Mangangaluluwa was adapted for the funeral liturgical rites.
Christmas carols and mass songs were composed for the Simbang Gabi liturgies
including the midnight mass. Plainchant is still sung by the monks in their daily
compline office, in the office of vigils, especially of Christmas, and on special occasions.
In the 1980's, the Benedictine monks conducted Seminars on Liturgy during Easter
week. These later evolved into the Paul VI Institute of Liturgy when the Catholic
Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) requested the Philippine Benedictines
who belong to the Subiaco Congregation to establish a liturgical institute not only for the
Philippines, but also for Asia. Fr. Anscar Chupungco, OSB, a Filipino Benedictine who
had been elected president of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy in Rome for four
consecutive terms, was appointed the first director of Paul VI Institute of Liturgy. The
Institute is located on the grounds of the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Malaybalay
City, in Bukidnon, Mindanao. Among the liturgical subjects offered is liturgical music.
The Institute also offers week-long seminars for composers of liturgical music. The
Institute attracts students from all over Asia and even some missionaries from the United
States of America and Europe.

The Conservatory of Music of the University of Sto Tomas offers a course towards a
diploma in Sacred Music. The conservatory has two choirs in residence: the Coro
Tomasino under Professor Ricardo Mazo and the Liturgikon under Dom Maramba,
OSB and Fr. Nilo Mangusad. These choirs sing at important liturgical services at the
university chapel with the UST symphony orchestra. Dom Maramba, OSB has
composed several masses for these occasions: mass in honor of St. Lorenzo Ruiz on the
occasion of his canonization, for two choirs, soloist, organ and orchestra; mass in honor
of St. Joseph for choir, soloist, and orchestra; and mass for the novena in honor of Our
Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (La Naval) for choir, congregation and orchestra.

The UST Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Professor Herminigildo Ranera with

musicians from St. Scholastica's College and other schools, performed at the Papal Mass
during the World Youth Day in Manila on January 15, 1995. The choir consisted of
more than 700 members organized and rehearsed under the leadership of Sr. Mary Placid
Abejo, OSB. It was a Filipino liturgy with the Mass mainly in Filipino composed by
Dom. Maramba, OSB. Pope John Paul II celebrated the Eucharistic liturgy with more
than five million people.

The Asian Institute of Liturgy and Music (1977) admits students from different
Christian communions from all over Asia and the Pacific even from Africa. It emphasizes
inculturation of music in the liturgy and encourages the use of indigenous instruments in
the liturgical celebrations. The head of the Institute is Dr. Francisco Feliciano.

Catholics seminaries and houses of formation (Immaculate Conception Seminary,

Malolos; Our Lady of the Angels Seminary, Franciscans; Holy Rosary Major Seminary,
Naga; John Paul I Biblical Institute, Vigan; St. Francis Regional Seminary, Davao; etc.)
as well as Protestant Institutions (Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music, Quezon City;
Adventists University of the Philippines, Silang; etc.) are active in producing and
compiling new music. Other composers in the different regions are also contributing
their talents: Damaso Panganiban, Lipa; Nilo Mangusad, Manila; Crispin Cadiang, San
Fernando, Pampanga; Floro Bautista, Bangued; Lorenzo Jarcia, Naga; Nestor Alagbate,
Daet; Ronaldo Samonte, Malolos; Nathaniel Cabanero, Kidapawan; Pablito Maghari,
Antique; and Vicencio Neniel, Davao.

Liturgical Music in the Philippines is now in ferment trying to find its identity
amidst so much diversity. Composers from different linguistic and subcultural groups
have composed music for the liturgy in the vernacular. The music has become
ecumenical. It is not surprising that Lutheran, Anglican and Methodist hymns and even
Baptist gospel songs as well as charismatic songs find their way into Catholic liturgical
celebrations. It is not also unusual to hear music by Hontiveros, Francisco or other
Filipino Catholic composers in the liturgical celebrations of other Christian communions.
Today, Sunday liturgies, Catholic or Protestant, are alive with active participation of the
assembly in a liturgy that is gradually being inculturated and acquiring Filipino features.
Filipino Christians of various communions can now pray and sing together with songs
whose provenance really does not matter provided that it proclaims their same faith in
Christ, their common Redeemer and Saving Lord.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Dom Benildus Maramba, OSB and was published in
the website of the Philippine National Commission for the Culture and the Arts. Corrections
and several additions were made by Aaron James R. Veloso.
Formation of Those Cultivating Music
for Ministerial Service
The “ministerial” identity of those who work at the service of the sacred liturgy comes from the
unique mission entrusted to the baptised in Christ. The primary objective of every serious path of
formation has to be that of showing the collaborators of the Church the universal mission to
which the Church is consecrated: everyone can thereby grow in the desire to know her, love her
and be a part of her, with intelligence and creativity, through the humble offering of their own
talents, and announce, through their own contributions, small or great, that Jesus of Nazareth,
crucified and resurrected, is the Lord and Christ, Sovereign of time and history.

1. What institutions are there that are dedicated to the field of sacred music
(Episcopal Commissions, Diocesan, State, etc.)?

There are several bodies that are dedicated in the field of the sacred music
in the Philippines.

In the National Level, the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy of the

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has ordinary competence over
sacred music. Together with the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission of the
Archdiocese of Manila, the Commission operates the Paul VI Institute of Liturgy
in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, which offers courses and modules on sacred music. The
Permanent Commission on the Cultural Heritage of the Church, also of the same
Episcopal Conference, assists in the preservation of the musical patrimony of the
Philippine Church.

Regional associations of liturgical commissions, such as the Lupon para sa

Wikang Tagalog sa Liturhiya (Federation of Tagalog Diocesan Liturgical
Commissions), has a sub-commission on liturgical music or an equivalent, that
coordinates liturgical music across the same language group, and on occassions,
organizes congresses and other formation programs for their constituents.

Most, if not all of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions in the country has a

Commission on Liturgy/Worship. A number of Dioceses and Archdioceses in the
country would also have a sub-office/ministry for Liturgical Music. This office
would have competence on the regulation and development of sacred music in
their respective jurisdictions, as well as the task to provide basic and renewal
formation for ministers of sacred music. They are also expected to foster
compositions of sacred music, especially those in the vernacular.
The Archdiocese of Manila alone has an Institute of Liturgical Music
(ILM), which provides a more intensive training to choirs and choirmasters.
Their goal is as follows:
a. training and developing church musicians to help them serve in the
parish in the promotion of liturgical music
b. increasing the awareness in the reforms of Liturgical Music and its
importance in the Liturgical renewal of the local Church
c. promoting the development of Filipino Liturgical Music
d. serving as a venue for the meeting of minds of other Filipino liturgical
music composers and other experts in the field
e. producing recorded versions of compositions as a result of the classes
attended by the students

2. What engagement has the Episcopal Commission for Liturgy in the field of
music? Does it include experts in Sacred Music?

The Episcopal Commission on Liturgy (ECL) of the Catholic Bishops’

Conference of the Philippines is one of the oldest offices of the said Episcopal
Conference. Among its mandates is promoting liturgical music as well as studying
and preparing liturgies adapted to the Filipino culture. To attain this end, the
topic of liturgical music, as well as the music ministry, has been a foremost
concern in the formation programs, congresses, and gatherings that the Episcopal
Commission on Liturgy organizes. These gatherings include the annual Liturgy
Congress (held from Easter Tuesday to Easter Thursday) and the National
Meeting of Diocesan Directors of Liturgy (held every third quarter of the year,
usually in the month of September). In 1992 and 2009, the National Meeting of
Diocesan Directors of Litrugy (NMDDL) featured topics on liturgical music: the
7th NMDDL, held in 1992, had Music in Filipino Catholic Liturgy as its theme.
Meanwhile, the 24th NMDDL, held in Baguio City in 2009, was entirely devoted
to the Music of the Liturgical Year. The ECL also provides liturgical music
modules every summer, through the Paul VI Institute on Liturgy (PIL) in
Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Experts in the liturgy and sacred music deliver these
seminars and modules.

3. At the diocesan, regional, or national levels, are there structures for musical,
liturgical or spiritual formation for the various roles in animation (animator of
the assembly, psalmist, organist, composition, etc.)?
At the national level, the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy (in
partnership with the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission- Manila) supervises
the National Meeting of Diocesan Directors of Liturgy, the Paul VI Institute of
Liturgy, and the Liturgy Congress. While not strictly formation modules for
ministers of sacred music, these structures for liturgical formation inevitably
include specialized formation for ministers of sacred music. As stated earlier,
NMDDL 2009 focused on sacred music, while the PIL in Malaybalay, Bukidnon
offers annual sacred music modules during the summer. These modules are
generally for those who also manage and assist in the delivery of liturgical-spiritual
formation at the Diocesan level.

Diocesan Commissions are generally grouped into federations, usually

based on the language shared or location. The Lupon para sa Wikang Tagalog sa
Liturhiya (Federation of Tagalog Diocesan Liturgical Commissions), is among
the most active in the field of sacred music and has, in fact, established a sub-
commission on liturgical music. Last October 2013, the Federation’s sub-
commission on liturgical music has organized a liturgical music congress,
participated by delegates from member dioceses of the Federation. This was held
at the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat in Manila.

Liturgical-Spiritual formation at the Diocesan level can usually be classed

into two kinds: general and specialized formation. The general formation is
usually given to all lay ministers on a regular basis. Specialized formation, on the
other hand, while also given regularly, tend to be ministry-specific (i.e., altar
servers, music ministers, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, etc.).
There are also formation modules for coordinators of ministries (including the
music ministry), and formation for special cases (i.e., music in weddings and other
rites, formation for conductors, etc.). These are organized on a less frequent basis.
This kind of formation is also given at the parochial level, the frequency and
length varying from parish to parish.

4. What structures are there to promote the pastoral care of artists in their musical
activity (in theatres, concert halls, conservatories?)

There is no general standard/norm in the pastoral care of artists. This

usually depends on the affiliations of the artists (i.e., parochial, diocesan, religious,
academic, etc.).

5. How are those who have an academic musical formation prepared to integrate
into the liturgy?

Sadly, preparations (especially liturgical formation) for those who have academic
musical formation is rarely given before they engage in the animation of the
liturgy. What usually happens is that they become active members of parish
choirs, which would then make them part of future liturgical formations offered
by the diocesan commissions. One of the consequences of this practice is that it
often leads to singing of songs that are not apt for the liturgical celebration.
6. What formation is given to those who are given responsibility to ensure the
interior adhesion and exterior participation of the faithful, through the way of
behaving during liturgical functions, gestures to be carried out, etc.?

The series of regular formation/updating helps a lot in ensuring that the ministers
understand the roles that they have in animating the liturgy. Among the greater
concerns in the music ministry, however, is giving them the skill in choosing
proper music for the liturgical celebrations.

7. In the course of ordinary formation of the clergy and religious men and women,
what attention is given to musical formation?

Liturgical music is often included as part of the introductory liturgical courses in

seminaries. Some seminaries take this even further by training seminarians to sing
in choir. For the religious, this topic would most probably be included in their
modular classes during their novitiate.
Musical Heritage
The universal patrimony of sacred music safeguards, for the good of all the Church, an
extremely rich theological, liturgical and pastoral heritage. The different musical expressions
placed at the service of the sacred liturgy and the sacramental life of the Church, clearly show
the quest for a spiritual elevation and an interior relationship with God. The spirit of
faithfulness, which also recognizes healthy experimentalism, should offer to the contemporary
Church a living and current musical repertoire, that allows the many developments of
Christian art that have taken place during two millennia to flourish, and at the same time
be able to undergo an authentic renewal, so as to raise new stimuli and serve the liturgy

8. Is Chant (e.g. Gregorian) used on Feast Days in the proper of the liturgy?

The chanting of the propers of the liturgy (i.e., the Collect, the Prayer over the
Gifts, the Preface, and the Post-Communion prayer) is seldom seen, except in
Pontifical Masses in Visayas (particularly in the Ecclesiastical Province of Cebu),
where this seems to be de rigeur. One of the more recent liturgical celebration of
national consciousness were the propers where chanted was during the National
Thanksgiving Mass for the Canonization of Saint Pedro Calungsod in November
2012. The chanting of the greetings (i.e., The Lord be with You), the first line of
the Gloria, and the blessing can be seen more frequently, for liturgical celebrations
of greater importance, such as Solemnities and patronal feast days. The Gospel is
also chanted in some occassions. The Psalm is chanted more often.

Chanting of the propers of the Liturgy of the Hours during feast days can be
usually seen in religious houses and seminaries.

9. How do the dioceses look after and promote musical patrimony? Are there
libraries and archives, and promotion of research in musicology?

The San Carlos Seminary of the Archdiocese of Manila, and the San Carlos
Seminary of the Archdiocese of Cebu, have music libraries. There are also
collections in the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music, the
University of the Philippines College of Music, the Saint Paul University Manila
College of Music and the Performing Arts, and in the Museo de San Agustin in
Intramuros, Manila. The Santa Isabel College in Manila also has a music library,
foremost among its collection being the manuscripts of Lucio San Pedro, a
National Artist for Music. The communications arm of the Society of Jesus in the
Philippines, Jesuit Communications, also maintain a music library of the
compositions of the late Fr. Eduardo Hontiveros SJ, as well as of other Jesuit and
Josefino (i.e., alumni of the Jesuit-run San Jose Seminary) composers and
musicians. These libraries make available materials that are used in performances
and concerts which are intended to highlight the rich musical patrimony of the
Philippine Church.

10. Are compositions of the pre-Conciliar patrimony used?

Yes, like compositions of hymns, canticles, Eucharistic songs and Marian

hymns/antiphons, especially in religious houses and seminaries. It can be seen in
some parishes as well, to a lesser degree. It is not uncommon to hear the Tantum
Ergo or the O Salutaris Hostia sung during Eucharistic expositions, or the Salve
Regina in celebrations honoring the Blessed Virgin. Other familiar pre-Conciliar
compositions that are used in the Philippines include the following:
a. Pange, Lingua (usually sung during the Evening Mass of the
Lord’s Supper)
b. Christus Vincit
c. Stabat Mater (Sung during Lent)
d. Te Deum
e. Misa Coral Pio X (by Julian Villaseca, which is quite popularly
used in various dioceses in the Philippines)

Some pre-conciliar compositions from the Philippines which is still used

up to now include:
a. Himno al Sagrado Corazon de Jesus (popularly known as No mas
amor que el Tuyo), by Simeon Resureccion
b. Dios te Salve, Maria (popularly sung in Flores de Mayo
c. Despedida a la Virgen (from the devotion of Our Lady of the Holy
Rosary of La Naval, a popular appellation of the Blessed Virgin in
the Philippines)

11. How is the encounter with musical traditions in diverse cultures experienced? At
a time of globalisation and of new ecclesial movements is there a good
equilibrium between inculturation, welcoming and growth in cultural identity?

Filipinos are fond of musical inculturation. This is usually through: a) translating

the songs into the vernacular; b) composing liturgical music using inculturated
melodies, or for local celebrations and themes; c) and adapting local
accompaniment styles and instruments.

As with other cultural initiatives, any concerts should respect the clear guidelines laid down by
the Magisterium (cf. particularly, The Congregation for Divine Worship on Concerts in
Churches), and show a spiritual character that places them clearly in the sacred context. In fact,
if similar initiatives are to be a valid means to safeguard the traditional sacred music
patrimony, stimulating an enriching encounter with civil life, and promoting the spiritual
elevation of believers and non-believers, not for this should there be a general opening, but
something motivated by cultural goals.
12. Are there documents of the Episcopal Conference, pastoral instructions or
guidelines that regulate the performance of concerts in churches?

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines is aware of the Directive of

the Congregation for Divine Worship issued 5 November 1987, entitled Concerts
in Churches (Prot. N. 1251/87) and has ensured dissemination of said directives to
all dioceses. This Episcopal Conference constructed guidelines in line with this
Contemporary Musical Culture
The evolution of musical languages has given new generations, particularly under the impact of
globalisation, new criteria in their listening, participating and interpretation. The Church, ever
attentive to people and their joys and sufferings, is called to know the emerging languages in
continual transformation, with the aim of transmitting the Message of Salvation in the places
and ways that are consonant with the new cultural areopagus (Cf. Benedict XVI, Discourse to
the Artists)

13. What are the ecclesial initiatives that have most facilitated the encounter between
the Church and the contemporary musical culture, both in the phase of
promotion and in that of welcoming these new musical registers?

There are few, if any, concerted efforts to facilitate the encounter between the
Church and contemporary musical culture. However, it must be noted that several
songs, particularly compositions of priests of the Society of Jesus, have been used
as theme songs of various movies and television shows in the Philippines, proving
that liturgical music has made its way into the mainstream, contemporary musical
culture in the Philippines. Examples include:
a. Tanging Yaman (Only Treasure), composed by Fr. Manoling Francisco SJ,
and used as theme song of the movie Tanging Yaman (2000, ABS-CBN
Star Cinema Productions) and the television show Tanging Yaman (2010,
ABS-CBN Channel 2)
b. Panunumpa (Vowing), composed by Fr. Manoling Francisco SJ, and used
as score in the movie Tanging Yaman (2000, ABS-CBN Star Cinema
c. Sa’Yo Lamang (Only Yours), composed by Fr. Manoling Francisco SJ, and
used as score in the movie Tanging Yaman (2000, ABS-CBN Star Cinema
Productions), and as theme song of the movie Sa’Yo Lamang (2010, ABS-
CBN Star Cinema Productions)
d. Pananagutan, composed by Fr. Eduardo Hontiveros SJ, and used as theme
song of the television show Honesto (2013-14, ABS-CBN Channel 2)
e. Maging Akin Muli (Be Mine Again), composed by Fr. Arnel Aquino SJ,
and used as theme song of the TV movie Maging Akin Muli (2005, Jesuit
Communications Foundation and shown on ABS-CBN Channel 2).

Conversely, there has been at least one instance where a religious song was
composed as theme song of a movie released in the mainstream cinema. This song
is entitled Ikaw ang Aking Pag-Ibig (You are My Love), composed by popular
Filipino singer/songwriter Ogie Alcasid, for the movie Ikaw ang Pag-Ibig (2011,
ABS-CBN Star Cinema Productions, the Archdiocese of Caceres, and the
Marilou Diaz-Abaya Film Institute).
14. Is there space in the different musical expressions (rock ‘n’ roll, pop, musical,
ambiental music, experimental and electronic etc.) for a dialogue that can lead to
a redefinition of sacred music? Indeed of liturgical music?

Yes. In fact, some of these peculiar musical expressions are being used in the
liturgy to various extent, depending on the openness of the particular assembly
concerned. In the Philippines, this is mostly limited to use of unique
accompanying instruments, or re-arranging musical pieces depending on the
assembly gathered. However, due caution is exercised to make sure not to use
music that is too mundane/secular for fear of undermining the dignity of the

15. In the pastoral care of those who live in the contemporary musical culture scene,
is there continuity in the desire for spiritual growth and Christian formation (i.e.,
a fullness in the offering of sacred music), or are we faced with a separation so
marked that a radical re-elaboration of the grammar of sacred music is necessary?

Yes, there is this continuity. With the emergence and popularity of various genres
of music, sacred music has been faced a tough competition for popularity,
especially among the youth. However, sacred music still evoles a certain sense of
awe because of its being different and reserved for sacred purposes.
Eucharistic Celebrations, Other
Sacraments, and the Liturgy of the
There is a need to proceed to a global recovery of the meaning of music, and to deepen the value of
sacred music in the context of liturgy. The full participation of the liturgical assembly needs
animators of all the assembly so as to be able to reach the highest expressions of solemnity.
The community celebrations of the sacraments and the sacramentals foresee song. Song
and music acquire, in the ritual context, a sacramental value, as they both offer a valid
contribution in the communication of that divine reality whose presence is realised in liturgical
Liturgical music must respond to its specific requisites: full adherence to the texts that it
presents, consonance with the time and liturgical moment for which it is destined, adequate
correspondence to the gestures the rite proposes (John Paul II, Chirograph for the centenary of
the Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitudini sulla Musica sacra, 5). The artistic value of a musical
component then is a necessary but insufficient premise, and the ritual context requires that the
work of art be concretely modeled in light of the needs of the liturgical action.

16. Is care taken to ensure that the melodies that are sung are able to manifest the
beauty and pastoral efficacy of the different rituals?
Seminars and formation programs on liturgical music, both at the level of the
ecclesiastical circumscription and of the parish, is designed to address this
concern. Admittedly, however, in small villages, there is a lack of emphasis on
The careful scrutiny of compositions prior to the granting of ecclesiastical
approbation is another measure that is being enforced. In the future, the
publication of songbooks that provide liturgical songs for the different parts of the
rites can be another measure that the competent authorities can employ.

17. Are there experiences of liturgical song, during the celebrations of Baptism and
Marriage, which express the commitment of the Christian community that
animates these rites?

There are very few songs that are composed especially for the celebration of the
Sacraments of Marriage and Baptism.
Baptisms, whether done in groups or individually, do not usually have
groups that accompany the rite with celebration. Oftentimes, there are only two
liturgical ministers present during baptisms, which is, the priest or deacon who
serves as the minister of the Baptism, and an altar server or acolyte.
On the other hand, there are a number of compositions specifically for
marriages, such as Ang Pag-Ibig of Mr. Ferdinand Bautista and Ang Pag-Ibig of
Sr. Ma. Anunciata A. Sta Ana, SPC, are common examples. However, rather
than providing an avenue in expressing the communitarian nature of these rites,
these songs are composed in order to put a stop to the common practice of using
secular love-songs during the Marriage Liturgy.

18. Is there a programming of musical intervention that is able to promote the real
significance of the liturgical year? In the musical choices, is awareness elicited of
the variations of the Liturgical Times?

In most places, there is musical programming in line with the liturgical year.
However, in small village chapels (besides the parish church), there is a lack of
emphasis on this.

19. Beyond the religious communities, are there places, at least in the cities, where
the liturgy of the hours is sung, especially Morning and Evening Prayer?

In seminaries and houses of formation, the lauds and vespers are sung at least once
a week and during solemnities and feast days.

A number of parishes celebrate the morning and evening prayers at least once a
week. A fewer number of parishes sing them on a regular basis.

In certain areas of the country, the Tenebrae is sung. The Archdiocese of

Tuguegarao and Cebu are among those who do this. The tenebrae is translated
into the vernacular and set into music.

20. In meetings or ecclesial conventions is there an encouragement to sing the liturgy

of the hours?

Yes, the liturgy of hours is encouraged during ecclesial conventions, plenary

meetings and retreats of the Episcopal Conference, and other liturgical seminars
and meetings.
The criterion of “newness in faithfulness” should orient every process of inculturation, so that
sacred music, in proposing “a new song”, becomes a vehicle of the living and creative tradition.
On this note it is good to recall that “adapting sacred music for those regions which possess a
musical tradition of their own, especially mission areas, will require a very specialised
preparation by experts. It will be a question in fact of how to harmonise the sense of the sacred
with the spirit, traditions and characteristic expressions proper to each of these peoples. Those
who work in this field should have a sufficient knowledge both of the liturgy and musical
tradition of the Church, and of the language, popular songs and other characteristic expressions
of the people for whose benefit they are working.” (Instruction, Musicam Sacram, 61; cfr. Second
Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 119).

21. In your area of competence, who are the main composers of sacred music in these
last fifty years? How are they assisted in their artistic and liturgical service?

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of languages that are used in liturgical
and extra-liturgical celebrations in the Philippines, among them, Ilocano, Ibanag,
Kapampangan, Tagalog, Bicolano, Ilonggo, Cebuano, Latin, English, and
Spanish, and even Chinese. After the Missal was translated into the vernacular,
the ordinary of the mass was set into music in these languages, which was
followed by compositions of other sacred music. The following table would
enumerate the leading composers of sacred music in the past fifty years.

Language Name of Composer Diocese/Congregation Example of Composition

Tagalog AGNER, Fr. Congregation of the Espiritung Banal (Holy
Venerando CM Mission Spirit)
Tagalog/English ALMAZAN, Fr. Order of Friar Minors Lord, Here I Am
Cielito OFM
Tagalog/English AQUINO, Fr. Society of Jesus Pagsibol (Spring), Ito ang
Arnel, SJ Araw (This is the Day),
My Heart’s Thanksgiving
Ilocano/English AQUINO, Fr. Archdiocese of Amami (Our Father);
Ranhilio C. Tuguegarao Prayer for Priests
English ARSCIWALS, Fr. Order of Preachers
Giuseppe-Pietro OP
English/Tagalog BASTES, Bishop Society of the Divine Setting for the Liturgy of
Arturo SVD Word the Hours
Ilocano BATOON, Fr. Diocese of Laoag Naarian Nga Ili (Kingly
Walde People)
Ilocano BAUTISTA, Fr. Diocese of Bangued Agiinayat Kayo (Love
Floro One Another)
English/Tagalog/ BAUTISTA, Mr. Layperson Misa San Josemaria
Latin Ferdinand M Escriva; Purihin at
Ipagdangal (Praise and
Cebuano BINGHAY, Msgr Archdiocese of Cebu
Kapampangan CANLAS, Msgr. Archdiocese of San
Gregorio Fernando, Pampanga
Spanish CARCELLER, Fr. Order of Augustinian Pescador de Hombres
Domingo OAR Recollects (Fisher of Men), Gloria a
Jesus (Glory to Jesus),
Misa Inmaculada,
Tantum Ergo, O
Salutaris Hostia
Tagalog/English CAYABYAB, Ryan Layperson Mass for Peace, Mass of
St. Michael, Blessed
Trinity Mass (Tagalog)
English/Tagalog CINCHES, Bishop Society of the Divine Setting for the Liturgy of
Miguel SVD Word the Hours
English/Tagalog DEL ROSARIO, Religious of the Good
Sr. Pia RGS Shepherd
Cebuano FERNANDEZ, Layperson Maria, Rayna sa Pilipinas
Narcisa (Mary, Queen of the
Philippines), Amahan
Namo (Our Father),
Daygon ta ang Ginoo
(Let us Praise the Lord),
Aleluya Lamdag Ka
Tagalog/English FRANCISCO, Fr. Society of Jesus (SJ) Tanging Yaman (Only
Manoling, SJ Treasure), Hindi Kita
Malilimutan (I Will
Never Forget You),
Tinapay ng Buhay (Bread
of Life), Humayo’t
Ihayag (Go Forth and
Proclaim), Paghahandog
ng Sarili (Offering of
Self), Awit ng
Paghahangad (Song of
Longing); Stella Maris;
Tagalog HONDRADA, Fr. Diocese of Imus Papuri’t Pasasalamat
Lourdencio (Praise and
Tagalog HONTIVEROS, Society of Jesus (SJ) Pananagutan (Brother to
Fr. Eduardo, SJ (+) Brother), Ang Puso Ko’y
Nagpupuri (My Soul is
Glorifying), Dakilang
Pag-Ibig (Great Love),
Misa Antipona, Sa
Dapithapon (At Sunset),
Liwanag ng Aming Puso
(Light of Our Hearts),
Aba Ginoong Maria
(Hail Mary)
Bicolano JARCIA, Fr. Archdiocese of Ama Niamo
Lorenzo Juan III, B. Caceres
Tagalog JOPSON, Fr. Diocese of Pasig Setting for the Psalms
Cebuano LEYSON, Msgr. Archdiocese of Cebu O Bulahang Pedro
Ildebrando Jesus A. Calungsod (O blessed
Pedro Calungsod),
Matam-is nga Ngalan ni
Maria (Sweet Name of
Tagalog MAGNAYE, Fr Diocese of Malolos Awit ng Papuri (Song of
Rey Bienvenido Praise), Unang Alay
Emmanuel (+) (First Offering), Ang
Panginoon ang Aking
Pastol (The Lord is My
Ibanag MAMAUAG, Fr. Diocese of Ilagan Umay, Tam Ta Altar na
Ian Kenneth T. Dios (We Come to the
Altar of God)
English/Tagalog MANGUSSAD, Fr. Archdiocese of Manila
Leo Nilo
Tagalog/English MARAMBA, Fr. Order of Saint Gloria in Excelsis Deo,
Benildus (Manuel), Benedict (OSB) Mga Awitin para sa
OSB Mahal na Araw (Songs
for the Holy Week); Mga
Awitin sa Simbang Gabi
at Iba Pa (Songs for the
Dawn Masses and
others); Lorenzo Ruiz,
Martir; We Shall Go Up
With Joy
Tagalog/English MARCELO, Fr. Archdiocese of Manila Awit sa Ina ng Santo
Carlo Magno Rosaryo (Hymn to the
Mother of the Holy
Rosary), Theme of the
Great Jubilee, Kahit
Isang Kusing (Even One
Mite), Only Selfless Love
Tagalog PANGANIBAN, Archdiocese of Lipa Emanuel; Aba Ginoong
Fr. Damaso, Jr. (+) Maria (Hail Mary)
Tagalog QUE, Fr Nemesio, Society of Jesus Sa Diyos Lamang
SJ Mapapanatag (Only In
the Lord Shall I Rest),
Mahal na Puso ni Hesus
(Sweet Heart of Jesus),
Kapuri-puri Ka (Blessed
are You)
Ilocano RABAGO, Msgr. Diocese of Laoag Napagkaysa nga Ili
Ian Noel (United Community);
Padaya (Banquet)
Tagalog/Bicolano RAMIREZ, Fr. Society of Jesus Si Kristo ay Gunitain
Latin Fruto Ll, SJ (Memorial Acclamarion),
Ama Niamo (Our
Father), Purihin ang
Panginoon (Let us Praise
the Lord), Panalangin sa
Pagiging Bukas-Palad
(Prayer for Generosity),
Ave Maria
Ibanag RAPADAS, Fr. Diocese of Ilagan Umay Kami Nikaw Afu
Ingeno (We come to you, Lord),
Dob na Aya
(Commandment of Love)
Tagalog/English REGINIO, Msgr. Diocese of Boac Himnal ng Sambayanang
Simeon (+) Kristiyano (Hymnal of
the Christian Nation);
Sumapit ang Takdang
Araw (The Right Day
Has Come); Forever Be
Tagalog SAN ANDRES, Layperson Paghahandog (Offering)
Tagalog/Latin SAN PEDRO, Layperson Missa Brevis, Misa ng
Lucio Kapayapaan (Mass of
Peace); Isang Pagkain,
Isang Katawan, Isang
Bayan (One Bread, One
Body, One Nation)
English/Tagalog SENGSON, Fr. Society of the Divine Misa Collection 1&2
Nicolas Matthias Word
Tagalog/English STA. ANA, Sr. Ma. Sisters of Saint Paul de Sino’ng
Annunciata A., SPC Chartres (SPC) Makapaghihiwalay (Who
Can Separate Us?), O
Father Bless, Psalm 117,
Ang Pag-Ibig (Love), In
the Building of the Body
of Christ
Cebuano/English VILLANUEVA, Archdiocese of Cebu Cancionero Cebuano
Msgr. Rodolfo (Cebuano Songbook),
Salterio Cebuano
(Cebuano Psalter),
Maghimaya ka Maria
(Hail Mary), Himaya sa
Dios (Glory to God),
Amahan Namo (Our
Father), Way Sukod ang
Pagmahal (Love Without
No Recompense), Gozos
kang Pedro Calungsod
(Praises to Pedro
Calungsod), Twenty-
Four Masses
Tagalog/English VINTERES, Fr. Congregation of the Let Us Raise Our Voice,
Teofilo CSsR (+) Most Holy Redeemer Hail Mary; Mary
(Redemptorist) Immaculate, Star of the
Morning; Ama Namin
(Our Father); Halina,
Hesus, sa Aming Piling
(Come to our Midst,

22. Are melodies being composed that are apt for the differences in the choirs, the
liturgical times, with texts in the vernacular of the Christian community?

23. Do they compose only for the liturgy or also works inspired by liturgical texts apt
for concerts, prayer meetings and moments of catechesis?

Their compositions are also used for popular devotions, concerts, and even
catechetical instruction.

24. Do the scores in use follow the compositional codes proper to music at the service
of the liturgy? Are they accessible to parish assemblies and choirs?


25. Do the new compositions, rooted in the diverse cultures, draw from traditional
song and the characteristic feelings of a people?

In many cases, yes. For example, Kundiman, an indigenous musical genre, figures
prominently in the Philippine liturgical music repertoire.

26. Is there a repertoire of liturgical music approved by the Episcopal Conference? Is

its use fostered by opportune initiatives?

None. However, there is a repertoire of liturgical music endorsed by individual

ecclesiastical circumscriptions and regional associations. This can take form either
through the grant of the Nihil Obstat and the Imprimatur, or its inclusion in the
liturgical music guidelines/lists issued by the ecclesiastical circumscriptions and
regional associations for certain liturgical time.

27. What procedure is followed in controlling new texts and new musical
compositions? In particular, for the popular songs of entrance, preparation of
gifts, and communion, are the texts approved by the competent authority?

By and large, compositions are submitted to the local ordinary for the granting of
the Nihil Obstat and the Imprimatur prior to publication. This allows the Local
Ordinary and his delegate to thoroughly examine the work in terms of the
theological content of the text and melody. For compositions that include the
propers and ordinary of the mass, fidelity to the official text is required.

28. Are there guidelines for authors and those who are called to perform the new

None, so far.
29. In the new compositions and in collections (song-books) what is done to meet the
needs of the international context of our assemblies due to the migrations of

A good number of songs in the vernacular are composed in such a way that they
can be sung in a number of Filipino and Foreign languages, something very
important given the diversity of languages available in the country. Some songs
that fall into this category are:

a. Ito ang Araw (Aquino, SJ), translated into Cebuano, Kini ang Adlaw
b. Sino’ng Makapaghihiwalay (Sta. Ana, SPC), translated into Cebuano,
c. Kunin Mo, O Diyos (Hontiveros, SJ) translated into Cebuano, Kuhaa,
d. Purihin ang Panginoon (Ramirez, SJ), translated into Spanish, Alabemos a
Nuestro Señor; English, Give Praise to the Lord of All Earth; and Chinese,
Qing lai zan mei pu shi jun wang

30. Are there competitions open for the composition of liturgical music, including
for exceptional occasions (commemorations, conferences etc.?)

Yes, competitions for compositions of liturgical music are often made, usually to
commemorate a certain milestone or activity. Songs such as the “Pueblo Filipino”
(Fr. José Fernández OP, Dr. Francisco Santiago) for the 1929 First National
Eucharistic Congress; “Gloria a Jesús” (Emeterio Barcelón, Fr. Domingo
Carceller OAR) for the 1937 International Eucharistic Congress; “Isang Pagkain,
Isang Katawan, Isang Bayan” (Lucio San Pedro) for the 1987 National
Eucharistic Year; “Tell the World of His Love” (Trina Belarmide) for the 1995
World Youth Day in Manila; “Only Selfless Love” (Fr. Carlo Magno Marcelo)
for the 2003 World Meeting of Families in Manila. Just recently, the winning
entry for the competition for the theme song for the 2016 International
Eucharistic Congress to be held in Cebu City was chosen and will be announced
in due course.
The choir (the Cappella musicale, schola cantorum) has the duty of ensuring the proper
performance of the parts that belong to it, according to the different kinds of music sung, and of
encouraging the participation of the faithful in the singing. (MS n.19)

31. Are there choirs that manage to carry out their proper function in the liturgy and
in the life of the Christian community? How many and what kind?

Yes there are. The number varies from parish to parish, with the bigger ones
having a greater number.

There are also choirs in village chapels (other than the parish church). However,
in many cases song leaders (i.e., solo singers) are present to animate the liturgy in
place of the choir.

32. Do the choirs have a set of Regulations overseen by the Ordinary?

The response to this question varies from diocese to diocese. Many ecclesiastical
circumscriptions have issued guidelines for use of music in the liturgy, codifying
the many directives from the Congregation for Divine Worship, the Episcopal
Conference and its bodies, agreements of regional associations, diocesan norms
and standards, and approved consuetude.

33. Does the location of the choir facilitate its liturgical ministry, communicate its
being a part of the assembly and ensure participation in the mystery being

Yes. While some choirs still continue to use choir lofts, most choir are now
located with the assembly, in order to emphasize their role as song leaders to be
followed, and not performers to be gawked at.

34. In projecting new churches is the space for a choir foreseen? Do acoustics feature
in the planning?

The area reserved for the choir is usually given importance in the building of new
churches. Sadly, acoustics are not given the same level of importance, primarily
due to budget constraints.
35. To promote the participation of the entire assembly, what space is given to the
animator of singing by the liturgical assembly, as distinguished from the director
of the choir?

In most cases, the director of the choir also serves as the animator of the assembly.
The director is encouraged to practice the responses and hymns with the
congregation prior to the beginning of the mass, when time allows for such an
exercise to be done.
“The use of musical instruments to accompany the singing can act as a support to the voices,
render participation easier, and achieve a deeper union in the assembly.” (MS n. 64)

36. Do the most important churches have a pipe organ? Does it have a permanent
structure for maintenance and restoration? Are festivals for organ music

Many historic churches have pipe organs, but is rarely used, usually only for
special occassions. Some newer churches of note, especially cathedrals and
national shrines, also commissioned pipe organs for use in worship. The following
is a list of churches in the Philippines with pipe organs:

Diocese of Tagbilaran
a. Nuestra Señora del Rosario Parish, Antequera, Bohol (ca. 19th cent.,
unrepaired )
b. Immaculate Conception Parish, Baclayon, Bohol (1824, restored 2008)
c. Santo Niño Parish, Cortes, Bohol (?, unrepaired)
d. San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish, Dimiao, Bohol (ca. 19th cent.)
e. Immaculate Conception Parish, Duero, Bohol1 (?)
f. St. John the Baptist Parish, Garcia-Hernandez, Bohol (ca. 1890,
g. Holy Trinity Parish, Loay, Bohol (1841, restored 1997)
h. St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Loboc, Bohol (?, restored 2004)
i. Our Lady of Light Parish, Loon, Bohol (?)
j. Santa Cruz Parish, Maribojoc, Bohol (1890?)

Archdiocese of Cebu
a. San Miguel Archangel Parish, Argao, Cebu (ca. 17th-19th cent.,
b. Patrocinio de Maria Parish, Boljoon, Cebu (ca. 1880)
c. Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral – Church of St. Vitalis, Cebu City (1996)
d. Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu, Cebu City (1966, restored 2010)
e. San Guillermo de Aquitania Parish, Dalaguete, Cebu (late 18th cent.,

Archdiocese of Manila
a. Basilica Minore of the Immaculate Conception- Manila Metropolitan
Cathedral, Intramuros, Manila (1958, restored 2006)
b. San Fernando de Dilao Parish, Paco, Manila (1966, restored 2012)
Duero was explicitly mentioned in the export list of Roques Hermanos Organ Builders, who also delivered instruments in Jimenez,
Misamis Occidental; Bacong, Negros Oriental; and Garcia-Hernandez, Bohol.
c. San Agustin Church (Immaculate Conception Parish), Intramuros,
Manila (1815, restored 1996)
d. Chapel of Saint Vincent de Paul, Asilo de San Vicente de Paul, Paco,
Manila (1970s)
e. Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, Colegio de la Inmaculada
Conception de la Concordia, Paco, Manila (1960s)
f. Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace, Ortigas Center, San Juan City (1992)
g. Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Guia (Ermita Church),
Ermita, Manila (1960s)
h. Espiritu Santo Church, Santa Cruz, Manila (?, restored, 1980 and 2010)
i. Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto, Sampaloc, Manila (?,
restored, 2012)
j. Abbey-Church of Our Lady of Montserrat, Mendiola, Manila (ca. 1930s,
restored 1998)
k. Chapel of Saint Charles Borromeo, San Carlos Seminary, Makati City
l. Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (San Sebastian Church),
Quiapo, Manila (1914)
m. Chapel of Saint Scholastica, St. Scholastica’s College, Malate, Manila
n. Santissimo Rosario Parish, University of Santo Tomas, Sampaloc, Manila
(ca. 1960s)

Diocese of Paranaque
a. St. Joseph’s Parish, Las Piñas City (1828, restored 1975 and 2004)

Diocese of Cubao
a. Santo Domingo Church- National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy
Rosary of La Naval, Quezon City (1935)
b. Shrine of the Divine Word, Christ the King Seminary, Quezon City
c. Christ the King Parish, Greenmeadows, Quezon City (1997)
d. Chapel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Immaculate Heart of Mary
College, Aurora Boulevard, Quezon City (1960s, restored 2004)
e. Chapel of the Saint Joseph Convent of Perpetual Adoration (Pink Sisters),
New Manila, Quezon City (ca. 1960s)

Diocese of Novaliches
a. Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Camarin, Novaliches City (1994)

Diocese of Pasig
a. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Pasig City (1997)
Archdiocese of Ozamiz
a. Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental
(1967, restored 2011)
b. San Juan Bautista Parish, Jimenez, Misamis Occidental (1894, restored

Diocese of Dipolog
a. Saint James Parish, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte (ca. 1890s)

Diocese of San Fernando de La Union

a. Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Charity of Agoo, Agoo, La Union (1978)

Diocese of Baguio
a. Cathedral of Our Lady of Atonement, Baguio City, Benguet (?)

Diocese of Bangued
a. Santa Catalina de Alejandria Parish, Tayum, Abra (?)

Archdiocese of Jaro
a. Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral (?)
b. Saint Joseph Church, Iloilo City (?)

Diocese of Dumaguete
a. St. Augustine of Hippo Parish, Bacong, Negros Oriental (1894)

Diocese of Lucena
a. Cathedral of Saint Ferdinand of Castille, Lucena, Quezon (1960)
b. Basilica Minore of Saint Michael the Archangel, Tayabas, Quezon (?)

Diocese of Imus
a. Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City (?)

Archdiocese of Lipa
a. San Sebastian Cathedral, Lipa City, Batangas (1969, refurbished 2003)

Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan

a. Santo Nino Cathedral, Calapan, Mindoro Oriental (?)

Diocese of Dipolog
b. Saint James Parish, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte (ca. 1890s)

Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia

a. Cathedral of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur (1930,
recently destroyed)
In several instances, historic pipe organs which repaired through the
cooperation of several government agencies. This is because these pipe organs
belong to churches which has been declared as National Cultural Treasures. In
other instances, the refurbishing was made after a series of fund-raising activities
were held. A local firm founded in 1994, the Diego Cera Organbuilders, is now
able to restore historic pipe organs, and has been able to supply new ones to local
The Saint Joseph Parish in Las Pinas City, and the Manila Cathedral
organizes regular pipe organ festivals (usually held annualy). However, the pipe
organ festival in the Manila Cathedral was cancelled for the past two years
because of on-going renovations to the Church. Beside this regular event,
occassional concerts by visiting artists, both local and foreign, are held in various
churches with pipe organs, in order to promote its use.

37. What other musical instruments are in use? Do the people who play them have an
adequate preparation and who know the spirit of the liturgy?

Electric organ, piano, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, violins, flutes, tambourines,
and drums are among the more common instruments used in accompanying
singing the liturgy. However, many of those who play these musical instruments
(especially in smaller parishes and village chapels) do not have sufficient
knowledge of the spirit of the liturgy. The formation program of the many
ecclesiastical jurisdictions seeks to remedy this problem, given that many of those
who accompany are often times also the one who conducts the choir.

38. Has the Episcopal Conference emanated instructions in this matter?

None, so far. The provisions of the General Instructions of the Roman Missal and
Musicam Sacram are usually used as basis on this matter.

39. Is there a fund to provide payment for musical interventions or for permanent
functions in the ministry of liturgical animation?

In the Philippines, liturgical animation, including that of the music ministry, is an

apostolate. Thus, those who exercise this ministry seldom receive remuneration
for their work. In large churches and during the celebration of special events,
however, the conductor and/or the choir receive a modest honorarium for their
help in animating the liturgy.
40. What relations exist between the Church, the publishing houses and the
associations of musicians to facilitate the spread and availability of scores,
respecting the rights of authors, and support new generations of composers and
musicians for the liturgical field?

In many cases, the publisher of scores of liturgical music is the religious

institutions (i.e., Religious Congregations, Dioceses, Institutions, etc.) to which
the artists, composers, and authors are affiliated with. These institutions would
usually recommend the use of the music pieces in their jurisdictions, which would
eventually foster an increase in the diffusion of the scores and recordings. These
institutions are also the ones who usually commission works or ask for materials
for future publications and recordings.
The following is a list of the respondents of the survey who have replied to the survey on
liturgical music in the Philippines. Their responses have allowed the Episcopal
Conference, through the Episcopal Commission on Culture and the Episcopal
Commission on Liturgy, to draw up this report.

Name of Respondent Position Institution/Diocese

BAUTISTA, Mr. Diocesan Commission on Diocese of
Ferdinand M. Liturgy NOVALICHES
BAYAUA, Mr. Rundolph Diocesan Ministry for
Diocese of CUBAO
F. Liturgical Affairs
Chairman, Diocesan Diocese of
FELIX, Fr. Romulo C.
Commission on Worship BAYOMBONG
FERNANDEZ, Fr. Joseph Archdiocese of
Commission on Liturgy
Director, Cebu
GUANZON, Fr. Glenn
Archdiocesan Commission Archdiocese of CEBU
Therese Q.
on Worship
GUILLANO, S. Maria St. Michael’s College,
Rufina, RVM ILIGAN City
HERUELA, Fr. Ross, Divine Word Seminary,
JAVA, Sr. Ma. Glenda, Program Chairperson, Universidad de Santa Isabel,
DC Music Department NAGA City
MAMAUAG, Fr. Ian Chancellor and Chairman,
Diocese of ILAGAN
Kenneth T. Commission on Liturgy
MANGUSSAD, Fr. Leo Minister, Ministry for
Archdiocese of MANILA
Nilo Music
ORITO, Sr. M. Isabel, St. Scholastica’s College,
Campus Ministry Officer
Immaculate Conception
PAYAWAL, Sr. Maria
Professor of Liturgy School of Theology,
Cecilia M., PDDM
PEDREGOSA, Fr. UST Central Seminary,
Quirico T., O.P. MANILA
UTLEG, Most Reverend Archdiocese of
(No Name) (No Name) Diocese of LIBMANAN
(No Name) (No Name) Diocese of KALOOKAN
(No Name) (No Name) Diocese of BOAC