Araquio, a verse play on the search of the holy cross, is an indigenous folk theatre in the town of Peñaranda, province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines that has survived for over a hundred years. This ethnographic-phenomenological study explores the holistic nature of the transmission and learning processes of araquio music and songs as a theatre-ritual. Its transmission as a social phenomenon is an avenue for music learning that may in fact overshadow its being a diminishing tradition. Using the framework of three modes of enculturation (Merriam, 1964) and interpretation of culture (Geertz, 1973), I investigate the music transmission and learning processes and sought to reveal how these processes were meaningful to the practitioners. Participants in this inquiry involve 21 adult practitioners, namely: 4 maestros (teachers of araquio), 3 female and 5 male personajes (characters of the verse play), and 9 musikeros (community musicians). An ethnographic method is employed using participant-observation and informal semi-structured interview script. Guiding questions have centered on how transmission and learning strategies, and meaning define these experiences. As a living oral tradition, intergenerational learning is found to be the product of transmission by enculturation occurring in the araquio and happens within genealogical generation. The practitioners, through the unspoken meaning of the tradition, have certain unspoken factors: unity of purpose, ancestral adhesion, unification of tribal strength, and shared experiences.


Musical Transmission, Teaching and Learning, Cultural Anthropology, Musical Experience, Intergenerational Learning, Theatre Ritual

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Florante P. Ibarra was a recipient of the 2009 Classic Fulbright Scholarship Award to the Unites States for his doctorate degree in Music and Music Education at Columbia University, Graduate School of Education in the City of New York, USA (2009-2012). He finished his Master of Music at the University of the Philippines College of Music major in Music Education and his bachelor’s degree at the University of Santo Tomas, Conservatory of Music major in Music Education and Voice with distinct honor of Cum Laude. A multi-awarded music educator and music researcher, his interest centered on teaching and learning musical traditions, cultural anthropology, choral pedagogy, and general classroom music teaching and learning. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: maestrorandz@yahoo.com.


I am most grateful to my academic adviser, Dr. Lori A. Custodero, for her inspiring mentorship, unwavering support, patience, and generosity in sharing her music research expertise. I thank my professors who offered me such wonderful learning experiences: Dr. Harold F. Abeles, Dr. Randall Allsup, Dr. Jeanne Goffi-Fynn; and Dr. Lenore Pogonowski. The knowledge I have acquired from all of you provided me a significant understanding in my investigation of araquio music, songs, dance movements. To the Philippine American Educational Foundation – Fulbright Philippines, special thanks to Dr. Esmeralda Cunanan, Angela Dizon, and the staff of Fulbright Philippines who have made my study abroad a reality. I thank Cinthya Alvarez, Jacqueline Sindoni, and the whole staff of the Institute of International Education (IIE) in New York City. I thank my Foreign Student Adviser, Samantha Lu, and the staff of the Office of International Students Services (OISS) for their assistance relative to legal document preparation and scholarships. Special thanks to Maestro Ciano, Tino, Rodrigo, and Romeo for sharing their expertise in the Araquio and their input on its history. I thank Reynaldo Castillo, the community band master, who recommended nine musikeros for the interview process. To my home institution, Central Luzon State University, for my approved study abroad. I thank former university president Dr. Ruben C. Sevilleja and vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Danilo G. Tan. Special thanks to former deans, Prof. Mauricia Borromeo and Dr. Ramon Santos for introducing me the araquio. Special thanks to the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music for molding me in the field of music education as a noble profession. Of all the libraries I have visited, I firstly thank the Gottesman Libraries of Teachers College, Columbia University for their extremely overwhelming library resources. I thank the libraries in the Philippines; The University of the Philippines Main Library, University of Santo Tomas Main Library, Ateneo de Manila Main Library, La Salle University Main Library, Cultural Center of the Philippines Library, Philippine National Library, Central Luzon State University Main Library, and the Municipality of Peñaranda Library. Special thanks to the Department of Education, Division of Nueva for providing me the copy of Learning Competencies in Music Education in the Philippines.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.