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How I discovered Pilita Corrales in Cebu

The celebrated Cebuana singer, Pilita Corrales

I put on the headphones, searched for the song’s title, clicked PLAY when I found it, listened with anticipation and in a few seconds, I was brought to music heaven. Her voice was soulful, delicate yet evocative, as if she was singing especially for me. Matud nila, ako dili angay…

Pilita Corrales, mestiza, mother of Jackie Lou Blanco and Monching Christopher, Cebuana and celebrated singer. For me, she was always the backbending songbird that I used to see on TV many years ago. But that night, during Cebu’s 2012 Gabii sa Kabilin (Night of Heritage), I just discovered THE Pilita Corrales, the siren whom many men adored.

It was one of the tasks that we had to do in the QR Code Hunt, a challenging yet fun activity done as one of the highlights of the heritage event. I had to sing a stanza of the famous Cebuano song Matud Nila (Ben Zubiri, 1941) for us to finish the challenge. And it was what brought me to this museum.

Listening station at the Halad Museum. It was where I discovered Pilita Corrales

Another Pilita Corrales album. CLICK TO ENLARGE

I was quite impressed and in awe with visiting for the first time the Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum. A musically themed space, it pays homage to Cebu’s rich music heritage. It has modern amenities, beautiful lighting and there, discovered more of Cebu’s music and it made me realized that its an aspect of my being a Cebuano that I am missing and I really want to explore more.

The Gabii sa Kabilin event last 25 May (celebrated every last Friday of that month) was inspired after Berlin’s Lange Nacht der Museen (Long Night of Museums) started in 1997. It’s an eye opener and a fitting introduction to Cebu’s rich heritage and culture where the sheer number of the participating spaces showcase not only Spanish and American colonial period structures but also songs, dances, food, art and history. An overwhelming and awesome smorgasbord!

Now on its 6th year, it was organized by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. Every year, more and more heritage sites, museums, galleries and spaces have joined.

There were many visitors to the Cathedral Museum of Cebu

Roaming around the different heritage sites that night made me smile. It’s not only because of the many discoveries and experiences I had but seeing the number of visitors was heartwarming. Does this mean that, finally, the Cebuano is waking up and realizing that he has such a rich heritage and culture that we really are ought to be proud of?

I just hope that in succeeding celebrations of Gabii sa Kabilin, it will become bigger, more people will join and have activities that will include something like a passport system similar to the Rizal 150 but encompasses province wide. In this way, its not only those repositories of cultures, our museums in the city are being visited but also local museums that needs great support.

…Ingna ko nga dili mo kawangon Damgo ko’g pasalig sa gugma mo.

I fell unto the awaiting arms of Pilita.

This entry won 1st Prize in the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. Gabii sa Kabilin Blogging Contest

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

11 Comments

  1. Bonzenti | Con Tour Blog
    June 2, 2012 @ 10:58

    JRG museum really brings you back when I was a kid. Evocative songs that rekindle the past. The structure and the architecture is well designed.

  2. JRG Halad Museum
    June 8, 2012 @ 15:44

    Thanks for highlighting the JRG Halad Museum on this entry, Estan. We appreciate posts such as this so as to spread the word that indeed Cebuanos have a lot to be proud of. Didn’t get to see the Smart QR code hunt participants when they did their tasks at Halad, but this post will suffice for that lack. Come down for a visit again whenever you’re in Cebu.

    — Audrey Tomada

  3. Congratulations to the winners of the 2012 Gabii sa Kabilin Blogging Contest!
    June 8, 2012 @ 18:16

    […] Pilita Corrales, mestiza, mother of Jackie Lou Blanco and Monching Christopher, Cebuana and celebrated singer. For me, she was always the backbending songbird that I used to see on TV many years ago. But that night, during Cebu’s 2012 Gabii sa Kabilin (Night of Heritage), I just discovered THE Pilita Corrales, the siren whom many men adored. Read more… […]

  4. estancabigas
    June 8, 2012 @ 22:22

    Thank You Audrey! Will definitely visit again 🙂

    Estan

  5. Randy Napuli
    June 8, 2012 @ 22:38

    Congratulations for winning 1st prize in the 2012 Gabii sa Kabilin Blogging Contest…

    More power and God bless!

  6. Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.com
    June 8, 2012 @ 22:42

    Congrats Estan! Good thing I wasn’t a participant there. I couldn’t sing to save my life haha

  7. » Ang Langyaw wins RAFI heritage blog contest | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    June 9, 2012 @ 16:42

    […] blog post: How I discovered Pilita Corrales in Cebu is first prize in the recently concluded Gabii sa Kabilin Blogging […]

  8. Nujnuj Sampuli
    September 17, 2012 @ 22:38

    Guys, pag plug lang ko ha. Please like my friend’s FB Page, http://www.facebook.com/CebuanoMusicTVFilm (Cebuano Music, TV, and Film Across Visayas and Mindanao). We are actively promoting Cebuano films and music on this site. We have the common goal of promoting Cebuano music and reviving our long-forgotten movie industry. Please help us do so by simply giving us likes and spread the word. Thanks! – CMTFVM

  9. Dan
    December 21, 2012 @ 11:43

    Congratulations! Wow I love this blog, I really want to go to Cebu! Next time I visit I will make this one of the things I do! Btw, may I suggest you make a trip to Taal, Batangas Heritage Town and blog about it? 🙂 Your a great blogger. Check out: taal.ph thanks!

  10. estancabigas
    December 21, 2012 @ 15:39

    Thnx dan

  11. » 2012 Travels & achievements, Part 2 of 3 | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    January 1, 2013 @ 12:08

    […] Kabilin, Cebu’s version of Germany’s Night of Museums, but better. My write up of the Halad Museum won me the RAFI Heritage Blogging Contest. This month also, I got invited to my first radio […]

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