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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Shaw

"The Journey to Banaue" - BIMCC #3 (11th July 2018)

This blog series details my experiences as a composer-fellow for the "2018 Banaue International Music Composition Competition" ("BIMCC").

For the full blog series, click here.


After a brief 4-hour sleep, it was time to depart for the lengthy 14-hour bus journey up to Banaue, leaving around 06:00 and arriving around 20:00. But first, a spontaneous recital of Steve Reich's "Clapping Music".


Reich Strikes:

An Early Departure:







And had several breaks along the way, of course! The first, for a quick coffee with a view of the volcano, "Mount Arayat", a buffet lunch, and a brief dinner at the "Tam-an BMPC Resort".


Mount Arayat:

A Coffee Break:

A Lunch Break:

A Dinner Break:


On the way, we caught our very first glimpses of the "Cordillera Central" mountain range, where Banaue is located, as well as the first of many billboards stationed across the mountains (which I honestly thought they were joking about when they were first mentioned!).


First Glimpses:

The First Billboard:

In Detail:

With Banners:

And a Mountain Mist:


And eventually, after 14 hours, we arrived at the "Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel" to an exceptional welcome with traditional Ifugao gong music and a delicious buffet.


Arrival at last:

And to a pleasant welcome:

The Ifugao:

The Hotel Lobby (orchestra pending):

The first of many buffets:


While I cannot truly present the length of a 14-hour bus ride in this short blog post, it was wonderful to finally witness traditional Ifugao gong music firsthand after researching it vehemently for this competition. And even though it was pitch black, to step out on to the Hotel balcony and hear the ambience of Banaue for the first time was equally glorious.


The Balcony Ambience:


A perfect soundscape to lull oneself to sleep (...alright, perhaps not for everyone, but it took me some days to figure out that the loud "rushing" sound was a series of rivers and waterfalls scattered across the mountains). Nevertheless, tomorrow would start the first of many workshops as a part of the "Immersion Program" to teach and give us the opportunity to participate in the Ifugao culture through its dance, its agriculture, and of course, its music.


Until Next Time:


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