After age and numerous disasters had rendered the musical instrument unplayable for a long time, in 1972, the national government and the local community joined together to have the organ shipped to Germany for restoration. For its anticipated return in 1975, the home church of the bamboo organ and the surrounding buildings were restored to their 19th-century state by Architect Francisco Mañosa and partner Ludwig Alvarez in time for its scheduled return. The annual International Bamboo Organ Festival, a music festival of classical music, was started to celebrate the music of the reborn instrument and its unique sound.
As soon as the bamboo organ come back to Las Piñas after being fine-tuned in Germany, its homecoming was celebrated with a salutation. The festivity became a yearly event and gave birth to the International Bamboo Organ Festival. Today, It is now the longest-running international festival in the country. Held every February, the festival attracts thousands of audiences, instrumentalists, and artists from different parts of the world.
“The first-ever Bamboo Organ Festival was organized by us in 1976. The parish initially owned the bamboo organ, but it was decided that the Bamboo Organ Organization would be separated from the Saint Joseph Parish Church Organization,” shared Leo Renier, executive director of the International Bamboo Organ Festival. “The reason was to strategically separate cultural activities from parish activities. The bamboo organ has given cultural identity to the people of Las Piñas.”
Renier shared that during that time, no Filipinos could play the bamboo organ. Piano teacher and organist Donna Ofrasio became the saving grace of the musical heritage of the bamboo organ as she pulled out kids from her piano classes to learn how to play the bamboo organ. One of those chosen children was Armando V. Salarza, currently the Titular Organist of the Bamboo Organ of Las Piñas, an internationally acclaimed concert organist, and the only one left in the country who is certified to teach how to play the bamboo organ.
The first-ever bamboo organ festival in 1976 was sponsored by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and highlighted Filipino artists. “The only accomplishment we always want to achieve and could be and have been proud of all these years is when we inspire new talents to learn the bamboo organ, especially since it represents a very special part of the Filipino musical heritage and history,” Renier concluded. “We hope that through the festival, we continue to sustain the legacy of the bamboo organ.”
According to vigattintourism.com, en.wikipedia.org and businessmirror.com.ph