The Story Behind the Guitars in Cebu

Cebu, Philippines, is famous for its beaches, lechon, and rich history. But did you know that it is also home to talented Filipino luthiers? Here’s a brief story of the guitars in Cebu!

How did it happen?

The Spaniards likely introduced the guitar to the Cebuanos, which sparked a love for music among the locals during the colonial past. People found that playing this instrument lifted their spirits, and it was a good diversion. Guitars became popular, with two out of every five Filipino households owning one.

During this time, the demand for guitars increased. Spanish friars in Cebu needed guitars but faced delays in shipments from Mexico. To solve this, they asked the townspeople of Opon village in Mactan Island to locally craft and repair guitars. This marked the start of Cebu’s guitar industry.

It became a legacy!

Pioneering this industry were families like the Alegre and Malingin clans, who turned guitar-making into a family enterprise passed on to generations. Their skilled luthiers contributed to the reputation of guitars in Cebu, recognized both domestically and internationally for their exceptional quality.

Do they use local materials?

These handmade guitars are typically crafted from a variety of soft and hard woods, such as jackfruit, narra, and ebony. Each guitar features designs ranging from simple to intricate decorations, often including inlaid shell motifs. Buyers have the option to customize the specs of their guitars to suit their preferences. They can request a local wood or an imported one. The exquisite craftsmanship of these luthiers ensures that Cebu’s handmade guitars produce a distinct “guitar tone.” It’s like a musical fingerprint or identity that only guitar players can tell.

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In addition to guitars, Cebu also manufactures other stringed instruments like ukuleles, banjos, and mandolins. Today, guitars in Cebu remain highly sought-after by both local gear enthusiasts and international clientele. If you’re a newbie or a professional who simply cannot find the perfect tone, you know where to go!







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