When I was in grade 2 and 3, I lived with my mom’s aunt in in East Rembo, Makati City. I called her Auntie Tessie and she’s one hell of lady. She’s active in barangay politics and I would often find myself accompanying her to activities in the barangay hall. At one time, she was asked to sing on stage and she sang “Maging Sino Ka Man,” with me at her side. Perhaps that’s the reason I remember the lyrics of that song to this day.
My Auntie Tessie also tried to cultivate some sense of “musicality” in me. She enrolled me in my school’s Rondalla group and for the better part of my third year in elementary school, I was learning to play songs in my banduria. I had my very own banduria, which was given as a gift by her husband, Lolo Boy. It was made from Cebu and as fine as any stringed instrument I ever saw. Here’s a picture of our rondalla club while performing for a competition.
I remember that we played the Visayan song “Manag Biday” in this contest. We also played a “Himig ng Pasko” as this competition was held in December. I don’t have a picture but I also got to compete solo for another Visayan song. Our rondalla master picked me because I can play the song without looking on my banduria. I seriously doubt that now since a closer look reveals I was sneaking a peek at my instrument.
My only regret is that I left for Laguna that school year and didn’t get to pursure my career in Rondalla. If I did, I would be a master at playing the guitar now since it’s the natural progression of things. You start with banduria move up to octavina and then graduate to guitar. I remember that I so wanted to be part of the section playing the guitars since they had really beautiful guitars courtesy of the mayor.