November 24, 2019
195th Anniversary of Las Piñas Bamboo Organ
Today’s Doodle celebrates the 195th anniversary of the Las Piñas Bamboo Organ, the oldest, largest, and only known bamboo pipe organ in existence. Constructed over 8 years with 1,031 pipes, 902 of which are made of native bamboo, the Bamboo Organ of St. Joseph Parish Church in Las Piñas, Manila, was completed in 1824 under the direction of Spanish missionary Fray Diego Cera de la Virgen del Carmel. The organ is still operational and has been playing daily for nearly 45 years since its reconstruction.
In the 1880s, natural disasters severely damaged the instrument, silencing it until a restoration project started in 1972. The organ was moved from Las Piñas to Bonn, Germany, where it underwent a full reconstruction, returning to the island in 1975. The homecoming celebrations morphed into the International Bamboo Organ Festival, held every February. On this day in 2003, the Bamboo Organ was named a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines.
The Bamboo Organ Foundation oversees the annual celebrations where some of the most famous organists from around the world have come to perform. In the 44 years since the return to Las Piñas, the organ and festival in its honor have become synonymous with Filipino cultural expression.
A monument to sustainable building and technological sophistication, the Bamboo Organ stands as a symbol of what’s possible when design draws from native resources, labor, and the ingenuity of its nation’s people.