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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Shaw

"Terrace Tours: Hungduan" - BIMCC #6 (15th July 2018)

This blog series details my experiences as a composer-fellow for the "2018 Banaue International Music Composition Competition" ("BIMCC") dedicated to the efforts of the "Banaue Rice Terraces Restoration Project".

For the full blog series, click here.


The day began with another journey atop the jeepney, much like yesterday, immersing ourselves in the local culture as we toured more of the wondrous rice terraces - in particular, those of "Hungduan" to the west of Banaue. They shimmered with equally breathtaking vistas.


One of my personal favourites near "Uhaj Village" (Here on Google Maps)

Driving between locations

More of "Hungduan" (Here on Google Maps)

With Field Recording for an "Ambience" library

And as always, a hefty amount of steps to climb


But with witnessing such beauty, we also came to witness the aftermath of some of the natural disasters that perpetually taint it - landslides. These are but one issue that the "Restoration Project" are doing their best to respond to.



On returning to the Banaue Hotel and being greeted with an oncoming ocean of cloud, we participated in the third workshop. Where the previous two were respectively focused on the cultures of Tam-an and Barangay Bocos, this third workshop explored the culture of Barangay Uhaj and was joined by the "Uhaj School of Living Traditions (SLT) Performing Group". We participated in singing numerous songs, of which one folk song (or "Uyyaya") titled "In Dungdung" can be heard below.


An Oncoming Rain Storm

The "Uyyaya" (folk song), "In Dungdung"


Likewise to the previous workshops, we also explored their gong music. For example, the "Hinggatut" gong music in the "Ayangen" style, which is a form of festive gong music sounding as follows.


"Hinggatut" Gong Music in the "Ayangen" Style


Again, you can hear the "tabob" hand pattern underlying the pattern of the gong stick strikes.

A while later we moved on to dance, looking particularly at the "Ubuan Courtship Dance", also favourably known as the "Rooster Dance", which is where a male and female dance to a gong accompaniment with the male intermittently attempting to place his blanket around the female while stamping his feet and shouting "Caw caw caw!" (hence the "Rooster Dance"). If his attempt fails, then the two blankets meet and the dancers swirl past one another. These movements are repeated until either the male is allowed to place his blanket around the female, or he is rejected.


The "Ubuan Courtship Dance" (listen out for the "caw caw caw!")


We also looked at some of their dances to accompany the "tabob" gong music, which were quite similar to the dances shown in previous workshops.


"Tabob" Gong Music and Dance (with the world's youngest tabob player!)

Us with the "Uhaj School of Living Traditions"


And that was the last of the Banaue workshops (more to come back down in Manila!); three sessions heavily packed with information and participation of gong music, songs, dance and instruments from the Ifugao region. And after receiving such knowledge, I now had to return to my composition, "The Hills of Banaue", to correct the plethora of mistakes in my gong writing before the orchestra arrives!


The cavalry is arriving!


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