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The Center for Southeast Asian Studies > Ub-ufok Ad Fiallig Overview > Teaching Modules > Module 7. Kiangsa: Soul Music

Module 7. Kiangsa: Soul Music

About

“A long long time ago, in Sachanga, which lies below Masigi, there was an anito (spirit) who played the Kiangsa (gong) in the forest during the nights of the full moon. The sound that came out of his kiansa was melancholy for it was like a wail that echoed throughout the land. This anito struck a chord of fear among the Isachanga. None of them had the courage to seek out the source of the sound until one day…….” from Siblaw Taraw: Tales of Enchantment from Fiallig by Ayongchi, Fiangan, Nacleo, Padiangan, 2008.

This story was derived from the narrative by Jerzon Ayongchi.

Background

Music is intimate and can touch the soul as it reveals the inner and complex feelings of the musician. It conveys messages and emotions that are otherwise difficult with words. Across cultures, songs allow people to express themselves and each melody communicates their feelings. It also brings comfort to listeners when they can relate to it.

Keywords

Kiangsa – gong

Ichiw – fortune telling, divination

Anito – Spirit

Procedure

1. Students Read and Watch Kiansa.

2. Have the students discuss the story.

Guiding Questions

1.What did you think of the story?

2.Have students read the following paragraph and comment on why the Anito played a sad and melancholy music with his kiangsa? What kind of message was he trying to convey? Do you think his music caused the deaths in the village? In contrast, do you think his music only foretells and warns the death of the villagers? Who do you think is the anito? Is he good or bad?

Songs allow people to express themselves and each melody communicates their feelings. Music is intimate and can touch the soul as it reveals the inner and complex feelings of the musician. It conveys messages and emotions that are otherwise difficult with words.

3.Why do you think the Ifiallig warrior came to Sachanga and stole the kiangsa from the anito?

4.Why do you think the kiangsa continued to play its beautiful music for the Ifiallig people?

5.Do you think it was strange that for years the kiangsa’s music did not cause death in the Ifiallig village? However, was the kiangsa a bad omen that brought the Spanish attack in Fiallig?

6.Why did the kiangsa stop playing after it was captured by the Essapo?

7. Is it possible that the kiangsa has a soul and a mind of its own? What kind of messages was it trying to communicate?

Critical Thinking: Spanish Occupation

What might be the changes that the Spanish occupation brought to Fiallig?

The Spanish occupation of the Philippines began in March 17, 1521 when Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, working under the Spanish monarchy, reached the Philippines while searching for the Spice Island. He was killed in battle by Lapu Lapu, Chief of the island of Mactan, in April 1521. According to Teodoro Agoncillo, he died as a consequence of interfering in the dispute between between Lapulapu and Zula, chieftains of Mactan (Agoncillo, 1990, pg.72). Several Spanish expeditions eventually arrived in the Philippines after Magellan’s. Despite continued resistance by the native people, a majority of the Philippines especially the lowlands, succumbed to the Spanish control. In 1898, a concerted effort by Filipino revolutionaries defeated the Spanish Colonial government.

Christianity in the Philippines

The Philippines is among the largest Christian countries in the world with over 80 percent of its citizens are practicing Christians. Most belong to the Roman Catholic church, whose evolution in the Philippines, is intricately tied to Philippine history and nationalism. Catholicism was used as a colonizing tool during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines in the late 1600’s. It continued to proliferate even after the Philippines gained its independence in 1946 from the United States. While many Filipino revolutionaries adopted the principles of Christianity in their resistance against succeeding colonial governments, the Catholic church to this day, remains a powerful force in Philippine politics as well as in the Filipinos’ daily lives.

Culminating Activity

In light of the Spanish occupation of the Philippines (1521-1898), divide the class in two. One group will compose a song that expressed how the Filipinos might have felt when they lost their country. Another group will compose a song of celebration when Filipinos regained their independence.