Posted by: annpeace | May 31, 2012

The native stranger joins Gabii sa Kabilin again

Imagine how overjoyed I was that this year’s Gabii sa Kabilin (GSK) took place on my day off. Last year, I took half day of my night shift just to join the GSK. It’s a special event for the top reasons: 1) avenue for my little mission –the purpose of this site was to “rejourney” as a lumad Cebuana who, in my youth, realized that I was stranger to my culture; I wanted to rediscover how Cebuano identity has evolved and share such learning to many who are also lost amidst globalization and colonial mentality; 2) it was in GSK that I had my first ride on the tartanilla (horse-drawn carriage) 3) I’m a sentimental person, I love reminiscing and imagining about time travel (you see, in my college years I’d visualize Colon in black and white or sepia – instead of 01K, 13C, 14D jeepneys, there are real tartanilla in sight).

It’s my third time in GSK. Moving away from the sites we’ve already visited before, we went to Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House, Halad Music Museum, Chu Un Temple, and University of the Philippines Cebu.

My visit to Chu Un Temple was unique. I’ve never been to a Buddhist Temple before – it felt like I was touring to China or Malaysia. Well, considering I’ve not been to those places abroad, I’m not accurate (wink!).  Yap-Sandiego always gives me a different kind of satisfaction. Though seeing old things or antique furniture is not new, I don’t tire of them. If these things were people, they probably know the world so well. In UP, I couldn’t help but creep out. During the war, its main building was used as garrison and a torturing area for guerrillas of some sort.


The Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House, built in the late 17th century, to this day stands tall amidst the busy Parian district.

Well, it reminds me of the “gamu-gamo” and Jose Rizal, don’t you think so too?

Let’s make sikwate!

Performers outside the ancestral house.


The Chu Un 慈恩寺 Buddhist Temple is one of the branches of worldwide Sangha of Fo Guang Shan based in Kaohsiung, Taiwan (caption taken from the official FB page of the Chu Un Temple).


Founded in 1918, UP-Cebu was formerly under UP-Visayas. It has gained autonomy in 2010.

In the basement is a gallery of artworks by UP -Cebu Fine Arts students.

You don’t want to be left alone in the dark in the basement, too. Because they say it is shrouded by ghosts from the war. Then again, don’t think there are ghosts in this picture.


My favourite for the Gabii sa Kabilin 2012 is the Halad Museum. It displayed musical instruments – foreign and native. The museum showcased history about Visayan musicians, under each framed photo are MP3 players with headsets too, so you can listen to the songs sung or composed by the featured artist.

Using these headsets, you experience how beautiful Cebuano and Visayan music were.

Ben Zubiri did not just gain recognition locally, he was also a national media personality in his time. He is known for the songs Matud Nila, Ikaduhang Bathala, Katulog Na Inday, Nganong Mipakita Ka, Tuhoi, Mitu-o Ako, Ang Gugmang Gibati Ko, etc.

University of the Visayas Chorale

The multi-awarded University of the Visayas Chorale serenaded us with series of Visayan songs – some sweet and sad, some humorous but witty. They were such a joy to watch that I got a CD of their live performances.

The Kulintang is one of the native musical instruments showcased at the Halad Museum. The Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum is a musical heritage site and is home to memorabilia paying tribute to Cebuano and Visayan musicians and artists that made waves not only locally but also abroad.

It was in Halad that I felt most connect, this was a closer past. This was something I had experienced myself.

As a child, during Sunday mornings, I would wake to songs played over FM radio – from the funny and naughty Budbod ug Bibingka (Max Surban), the chorale world famous Rosas Pandan (Pilita Corrales), the romantic ballads Matud Nila and Ikaduhang Bathala (Ben Zubiri) and the forceful Kinsa Siya? by Luz Loreto.

Yet, where is our music industry now? When supposed to be this is the most accessible – it is written in our own tongue, with true feelings, and it existed not centuries ago – we are unappreciative if not unaware that sometime ago, we sang our hearts out in the dialect so familiar.

Since we’ve only gotten to only a few places, we are full of anticipation for the next year’s Gabii sa Kabilin – I know it could only get better each year. It would be my fourth and won’t be too much. @

All content are owned by this site, unless specified so. Credits to my partner, Floyd for the photos. He’d probably become the official photographer for this site and this is his debut. 😉

This is an official entry to the 2012 Gabii sa Kabilin Blogging Contest.



  1. Hey! That’s my cousin! She’s with the UV chorale. She’s the one at the right side (my right) after the guy. I was wondering where they were performing with her pictures sa FB wearing that outfit. We would have met if I had been to GSK. Tsk2. I’m regretting even more now. 😦 Btw, I LOVE your pictures!!! Nice! Were you the one who took it?

    • and now, let me update my blog with the photo credits. haha.. floyd did the photos

  2. suya ko. nice kaayo imo annie! XD

    • wow! thank you emmz! i’ve already read yours too. very thorough, i’m happy of your experience there.

    • same here! will be back for next year! hopefully it would be better than the last! 🙂

  3. Hi Ann, nice to know you’ve seen and included the JRG Halad Museum in your Gabii sa Kabilin itinerary! Truly these nostalgic Cebuano songs inspire us and hopefully by preserving them, we get to know more of our musical and cultural heritage. Hope you can visit the Halad again!

    Thanks for posting this,
    Audrey Tomada

    • Visiting Halad again, will definitely happen and I will make sure that more and more people will know more about your collection. It is an honor, and I am so happy that we have this avenue for reencountering our musical heritage.

    • Thank you for the support! Should you drop by again, do look for me. 🙂

  4. […] The first time I have heard of the Visayan Pop Music Festival, I got so excited. I mean, if you have been reading my blogs in the past years, you know that I always get excited so easily. Haha! Especially about Cebuano music, art exhibits, films, etc. as highlighted in my last year’s Gabii sa Kabilin entry. […]

  5. […] I joined in but it was not the first time I have written about the experience. Anyhow, here goes: The Native Stranges joins Gabii sa Kabilin again if you are […]

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