Filipinx Artists kulintang Philippine dance Philippine music Uncategorized

Our eBook includes links to hundreds of videos, audio recordings, and photos on Watch a performance, take a kulintang lesson, and attend a dance workshop below!

Download the free interactive PDF book here:

Our Culture Resounds, Our Future Reveals: A Legacy of Filipino American Performing Arts in California 

Watch a performance here:
Photo by FilAm Arts
Take a kulintang lesson here:

Filipinx Artists kulintang Philippine dance Philippine music Uncategorized

“Our Culture Resounds, Our Future Reveals” Project Collaborators

Ube Arte is a Southern California-based collective of professional musicians, dancers, and academics with a shared mission to advance Philippine cultural research and education in the Pilipinx American community. Co-founded by Dr. Mary Talusan Lacanlale, Dr. Bernard Ellorin, Marlo Campos, Eleanor Lipat-Chesler, Nicole Mae Martin, and Peter Paul de Guzman, Ube Arte members have performed separately and together for public and private events, as senior and founding members of the Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble, Malaya Filipino-American Dance Arts, Rocksteady Rondalla, the GUNITA Collective, and Samahan Filipino-American Performing Arts and Education. 

Established in 1961, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is a world-renowned research archive dedicated to the study of musical traditions from around the globe. The Archive’s collection of more than 150,000 audio, video, print, and photographic items documents musical expressions throughout the world and includes unique field recordings as well as rare commercial recordings. In addition to preservation and access, the Archive offers a wide range of research, outreach, and educational services. From international scholars to local community members and UCLA students and faculty, the Archive is recognized locally and internationally as an important center of ethnomusicological research and discovery.

California Revealed is a State Library initiative to help California’s public libraries, in partnership with other local heritage groups, digitize, preserve, and provide online access to archival materials – books, newspapers, photographs, audiovisual recordings, and more – that tell the incredible stories of the Golden State. California Revealed also provides free access and preservation services for existing digital collections, including technical advice and guidance, for partner organizations with in-house digitization programs.

Book Contributors and Interviewees

Nilo Alcala (Interviewee) is the first Philippine-born composer to be commissioned and premiered by the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Master Chorale. His works have been performed in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Alcala’s awards include The American Prize in Composition 2018-2019, the Asian Composers League Young Composer Award (Israel), and the very first Ani ng Dangal (Harvest of Honor) from the Philippine President. Alcala earned an MMus in Composition at Syracuse University and a BM in Composition from the University of the Philippines. In 2017, the Philippine Madrigal Singers released a CD and digital album of Alcala’s choral works entitled ONOMATOPOEIA: The Choral Works of Nilo Alcala.

Caroline Cabading (Interviewee), a 4th generation Filipino-San Franciscan is a Jazz Vocalist, Philippine Kulintang percussionist, Filmmaker and the Executive Director of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation and the International Hotel Manilatown Center. She studied and toured professionally with Kulintang Master Artist Danongan Kalanduyan, and in addition to leading her own Jazz ensemble, The Autonomous Region and her own traditional Kulintang ensemble, Kultura Kapwa, is also a commissioned composer who fuses tribal Philippine musical motifs with American Jazz. Her film credits include the documentaries, “Rise of the I-Hotel” (2005) and “The Al Robles Express” (2019)

Michelle Camaya Julian (Interviewee) is a performing artist with a B.A. in Dance from U.C. Irvine and credits in The Lion King on Broadway, several Broadway National tours, movies, TV and music videos. She is currently based in San Diego and teaches Philippine folk dance for Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts & Education Center, several yoga schools and substitutes for the Sweetwater and Poway Unified School Districts. She Co-Founded the KAMOCHIMETHOD in 2016, with its mission to continue to sustain the health and longevity of all living beings and reconnect them with a purposeful and blissful life through the medium of yoga and dance.

Marlo Campos (Interviewer) was born into a musical family and has been watching Pilipino Culture Nights since the 1990s. In the 2000s he danced in the high school and college PCN circuits and later formed his own Filipino cultural band, Rocksteady Rondalla to provide music for these shows. Marlo is also a member of Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble, and occasionally plays with other rondallas such as the Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts & Education Center based in San Diego and with members of the Rondalla Club of Los Angeles. Currently, he is the Musical Director of Malaya Filipino American Dance Arts in Los Angeles.

Christi-Anne Castro (Contributor) received her PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her monograph, Musical Renderings of the Philippine Nation (Oxford 2011) explores the role of music in nation-building during the 20th century. Castro is associate professor and chair of the Musicology Department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor as well as co-editor of the journal Music & Politics.

Alvin Catacutan (Interviewee) is a lifelong martial artist ranked and certified to teach multiple styles of martial arts. He’s worked in theater, film, and television as an actor and fight director. His training directly under the legendary Guro Dan Inosanto at the Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts reconnected him with his Filipino heritage. As the founder and head instructor of Pamana Kali: Philippine Martial Arts and Culture located in Torrance, California, Guro Alvin’s mission is to share his ancestral heritage by teaching Filipino and South East Asian Martial Arts.

Peter de Guzman (Contributor) is a dancer, choreographer and dance ethnologist and is currently the artistic director for Malaya Filipino American Dance Arts based in Los Angeles.  A graduate of UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures/Dance, Peter sees all the world’s dance forms as equal and relevant.  Peter has dedicated his research and practice on the Pangalay dance from the southern Philippines to represent the modern day Filipino American experience.   

Nico Delmundo (Interviewee) is a dancer-choreographer based in San Diego, CA. He is an instructor at the Samahan Filipino-American Performing Arts & Education Center and has also performed with Malaya Filipino American Dance Arts and PASACAT Philippine Performing Arts Company. He was initially trained in dance by Bayanihan Alumni, Joji Ramirez Castro, and further conducted research with his own fieldwork on indigenous dance forms of the southern Philippines and Sulu Archipelago. In addition, he also studied the musical instrumentation of Rondalla and Kulintang music under the direction of Dr. Bernard Ellorin.

Bambu DePistola (Interviewee) is a father, Emcee and community organizer. Raised all over the city of Los Angeles, as he navigated through a turbulent youth, Bambu turned around the destructive energy that surrounded him and poured it into making music. Bambu has been lauded by his fans and contemporaries for his lyrical storytelling abilities and his prolific writing. Whether fictional or autobiographical, his vividly-detailed narratives are characterized by an honesty that is equal parts brutal, thought-provoking and liberating. He utilizes his music as a tool for a larger goal – to reach and support youth who face similar issues that he did, and move them to question what goes on in the world with the eventual goal of organizing and activism. He is the President of the hip hop music label, Beatrock Music.

Barbs Ele (Interviewee) co-founder and dance director/choreographer of Kayamanan Ng Lahi (KNL) Philippine Folk Arts, a non-profit arts organization, since 1990.  Barbs is a lifelong learner of the richness and diversity of Philippine arts and culture through dance, music, and song; born and raised in Manila, Philippines, and  is committed to fulfilling KNL’s mission—to inspire transformation through cultural understanding and artistic expression so that we empower ourselves, our families and communities, and enrich society.

Bernard Ellorin PhD. (Contributor) is an adjunct faculty of music at Miramar College and MiraCosta College in San Diego County, California. He received his PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa in 2015. Ellorin’s academic and community work spans over 28 years of  educating Filipino American and non-Filipino American communities on Filipino diasporic performing arts. From 2012-2013, Ellorin was a research fellow with the Fulbright Research and Study Abroad Program conducting a comparative study on the contemporary musics of the Sama-Bajau in Semporna District, Sabah Malaysia and Batangas City, Philippines. 

Anthony Angelo T. Francisco (Interviewee) also known as Gelo, is a professional solo vocal artist with background/experiences in theatre and television acting. He is the founder and artistic director of Philippine Chamber Singers – Los Angeles a Fil-Am community choir formed in 2004. He is also currently the music director of St John Baptist de la Salle Church in Granada Hills, CA.

Ginto Seeds (Contributors) is an artistic multimedia platform created by artists Diane Valencia and Nicanor Evangelista. With influences of ancestral traditions such as batok to baybayin, their multimedia art ranges from visual art to a collection of clothing & handmade solar-burned accessories designed with ancestral symbols, sacred geometry patterns, ancient scripts and invocations. Their creations are intended to empower, activate, inspire, heal and connect us to our indigenous roots, our ancestors & one another as kapwa. Connect with Gintoseeds on facebook, instagram and

Theodore S. Gonzalves, Ph.D. (Contributor) is Curator of Asian Pacific American History at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. His publications include The Day the Dancers Stayed: Performing in the Filipino American Diaspora (Temple University Press 2009), Stage Presence: Conversations with Filipino American Performing Artists (Meritage Press, 2007), Carlos Villa and the Integrity of Spaces (Meritage Press, 2011), Migrant Musicians: Filipino Entertainers and the Work of Music Making, with Karen Tongson, R. Zamora Linmark, and Sarita Echavez See, (Center for Art and Thought, 2013), and Filipinos in Hawaiʻi, with Roderick N. Labrador (Arcadia Publishers, 2011). Gonzalves is a Fulbright scholar and has been a research fellow at the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress. He taught at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Gonzalves served as the 21st President of the Association for Asian American Studies.

Florante Peter Ibanez (Contributor) recently retired from his position as the Manager of Library Computer Services at Loyola Law School and also an adjunct professor at Loyola Marymount University. He continues to teach Asian Pacific American History at Pasadena City College. He received his MLIS and MA in Asian American Studies from UCLA in 2006 and was a past president of Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) from 2010-2011. He also served on the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC 2012) Steering Committee. He was recently appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the California Library Services Board. Florante has been married to Rose Estepa Ibanez for 40 years and together co-authored their book “Filipinos in Carson and the South Bay”. He has also served on the boards of SIPA, FilAm ARTS, and the Filipino American Library. They have two daughters Gabriela and Mikaela and two grandsons, Cleto and Liam as well as their son-in-law Hoan Vinh Nguyenphuoc.

Joel Jacinto and Ave Jacinto (Interviewees) are co-founders of Kayamanan Ng Lahi and have remained at the helm since the group’s inception as the Dance Director/Choreographer, Program Director and Administrative Director, respectively. Along with KNL’s leadership staff, Joel Jacinto, Ave Jacinto, and Barbs Ele are committed to KNL’s  mission to inspire transformation through cultural understanding and artistic expression with the goal to empower the group’s members, families and communities, and enrich society.

Dr. Roderick Labrador (Interviewer) is a 1.5-generation Filipino American—he was born in the Philippines and immigrated to San Diego during elementary school. Prior to joining the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, he did college access work for nearly a decade in a low-income, urban Honolulu community. Trained in Anthropology, his research and community work focuses on race, ethnicity, class, culture, language, migration, education, hip hop, and cultural production in Hawai‘i, the US, and the Philippines.

Eleanor Lipat-Chesler (Co-Editor, Contributor) is co-founder of Ube Arte performing arts research and education organization and a founding member of Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble. She studied music and anthropology at Barnard College, Columbia University, and ethnomusicology at UCLA, where she wrote her M.A. thesis on gender issues in transnational kulintang performance. As a Fulbright Fellow, she conducted doctoral fieldwork in Thailand and Laos among itinerant folk theater troupes. Her article, “Thailand: Contemporary Performance Practice,” appears in the 2019 SAGE Encyclopedia of Music and Culture. She is a freelance research strategist and proud mother to Nico and Junot. 

Neal Matherne (Contributor) is an ethnomusicologist and heritage studies scholar. Research interests include art, folk, and popular music of the Philippines, ethnographic approaches to heritage, museums, archives and collections, and the construction of the Philippine nation in the diaspora.

Jasmine Orpilla is an Ilocana/x-American, performance artist and composer of experimental theatrical sound installations, in which she activates her living traditional practices of music, dance and family rituals within the contemporary, yet ever-eroding frame of her own 1st-generation schism from both Imperialist history and the U.S. military culture of her childhood. An award-winning, international performer who takes space with renown art, theatre and opera directors on stages worldwide, her voice continues to disrupt the status-quo institutions of genre, gender- and racial- stereotypes she encounters in those spaces today.

Parangal Dance Company (Contributor) is a Filipino Folk Dance Group based in the San Francisco Bay Area that Aspires to Inspire. Parangal Dance Company’s mission is to give tribute to Philippine heritage by preserving and promoting ethnic attire, music, and dance through research, workshops, and performances. We aim to serve as a bridge, inspiring and connecting Filipino Americans to their roots to give them a sense of pride and identity, while educating diverse communities to foster awareness and appreciation of Philippine culture.

Darleen Principe (Interviewer, Contributor) is Los Angeles-based multimedia journalist, mass communication researcher and journalism lecturer at California State University, Northridge. A second-generation Filipino American, her scholarly research focuses on the intersection of ethnic identity and media within the U.S. Filipino diaspora. 

Lydia Querian is a contemporary and tribal dancer who has worked with Dancing Earth, Alleluia Panis Dance Company, Kularts, Parangal Dance Company, and San Francisco Kulintang Legacy, and she is the founder of Daily Malong. Ron Querian records contemporary kulintang music as Kulintronica, produces traditional kulintang artists for Gongs Away Music, and teaches kulintang with his wife Lydia. After performing together with San Francisco Kulintang Project at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in place of the late master artist Danongan Kalanduyan they formed House Of Gongs where they teach kulintang music and mentor artists who incorporate traditional arts into their works. They also produce the only kulintang festival in the United States which is called Gongster’s Paradise.

J.A. Ruanto-Ramirez, MA, is a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies – American Studies at Claremont Graduate University. He is an Asian American and Indigenous Studies scholar of Ifugao, Ilokano, Iranun, Sambal, and Sambal-Ita descent.

Will Simbol (Interviewee) For 25 years, Will Simbol has studied indigenous gangsa, kulintang, and rondalla musical traditions of the Philippines as well as contemporary western woodwinds, keys, and strings through his life. Having served as a studio session player, musician with the Rondalla Club of Los Angeles, musical and education assistant with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, as Faculty for the Harvard Arts and Passion Driven Learning Institute, Founding Creative Director for the Himig Kawayan Bamboo Orchestra, and as Director of Education for the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Will continually explores the intersection between music, history, and empathy.

Patrick Tanega (Interviewee) began his rondalla journey in 1990, playing regularly with Tagumpay de Leon and Nitoy Gonzales in the Fil-Am Rondalla.  By 1994, he was ready to join the Rondalla Club of Los Angeles.  Serving as the Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Tanega’s roles include community interface and talent outreach.  The only Rondalla Club member born in the 70s, Mr. Tanega bridges the gap between senior and junior members of the group, helping to advance a new era of rondalla music in California.  

Giselle Tongi-Walters (Contributor) has been a media practitioner for over two decades in film, television and performance arts and advocates for the creation and dissemination of Filipino American stories. “G” is the current Programming Director of FilAm Arts. From 2014-2017, she served as the executive producer, host and writer of “Kababayan Today’, broadcast on KSCI’s LA18, globally on the TV5 network and on Hawaii’s Kiku. Winning several awards and nominations for her work in film, television and theater in the Philippines, Tongi also uses her voice to bring awareness to the social, economic, political and human rights that are currently being violated in her beloved motherland. Töngi graduated with Honors from the UCLA Communications department with a double minor in Television, Film, Digital Arts and Theater. She is pursuing her Masters in NonProfit Management at Antioch University in Culver City, CA. 

Dr. Mary Talusan (Co-Editor, Contributor) is Assistant Professor of Asian-Pacific Studies at CSU Dominguez Hills. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in ethnomusicology specializing in the music of the Philippines. Her scholarly work examines Filipino and Filipinx American musical performances through the complex web of race-making, U.S. colonization of the Philippines, and contemporary cultural production. Recent publications include “Muslim Filipino Traditions in Filipino American Popular Culture” in Muslims and American Popular Culture (2014), “Marching to ‘Progress’: Music, Race, and Imperialism at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair” in Mixed Blessing: The Impact of the American Colonial Experience on Politics and Society in the Philippines (2013), and  an essay in Philippine Modernities, Commemorating 100 Years of UP College of Music (2018)​. Her upcoming book with the University Press of Mississippi is entitled Instruments of Empire: Filipino Musicians, Black Soldiers, and Military Band Music during U.S. Colonization of the Philippines. Dr. Mary Talusan Lacanlale has received the Fulbright (IIE) Fellowship, Ford Dissertation Fellowship, and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship. She performs the music and dance traditions of Mindanao, Southern Philippines with California-based Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble.

Dr. Ricardo D. Trimillos (Contributor) is Professor Emeritus in Ethnomusicology and Asian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His research includes the music of Muslim groups in the Southern Philippines, Catholic folk music in the Lowland Philippines, Hawaiian music and dance, and the traditional music of Japan and are informed by themes of  ethnic identity, cultural representation, and gender. Born in San José, California, he is the second son of Emiliano RenaldoTrimillos of Kalibo, Aklan and Francesa Fernandez de Leon of Villa, Iloilo who were community leaders, founding the San José Home for Filipino Seniors and the San José Filipino Family Club, respectively.

Jonathan Wandag (Interviewee) is a Hollywood Music in Media nominated composer that has scored feature films on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu as well as AAA and indie video games alike. He’s also an active member of the BIBAK Dance Ensemble Los Angeles and has licensed several tracks to multiple major T.V. shows such as Access Hollywood, WWE, Real Housewives and more. His favorite garb to wear when conducting is a bahag.


Explore Filipino American performing arts in our new interactive book!

We are pleased to announce the release of an interactive PDF book, free for download:

Our Culture Resounds, Our Future Reveals: A Legacy of Filipino American Performing Arts in California 

  • Eleanor Lipat-Chesler and Mary Talusan, Editors
  • Maureen Russell, Project Lead Archivist

About the Book

Our Culture Resounds, Our Future Reveals brings together Filipino American artists and scholars to provide a resource for exploring the multifaceted motivations, perspectives, and experiences of a community that has a long legacy of performance in California. Through intimate interviews, thoughtful essays, and vivid photographs as well as archived videos and sound recordings on California Revealed, this work opens up spaces to discuss, debate, and discover Filipino Americans’ unique contributions to culture and performance. 

This interactive PDF with links to online audiovisual archives is a free resource book intended for wide distribution among community networks, students, educators, and the general public.

Note: The digital version displayed on the California Revealed website does not include interactive A/V links. We recommend you click the arrow symbol above the book viewer to download the full book as a PDF.

The way Mary Talusan and I have compiled and editorialized the contents of this book belies our generation, our biases toward certain genres, our music-heavy academic backgrounds, our concerns as mothers who want to pass cultural knowledge on to our own children, as well as the sense of wonder that we east-coast transplants share regarding the astonishing quantity of Filipino American arts practices in California. Part mini-encyclopedia, part archive guidebook, and part performing artist handbook, we have attempted to bridge academic perspectives with community artist realities. In doing so, we have compiled a book that defies easy categorization.

Eleanor Lipat-Chesler, Co-Editor

There is no one ‘thing’ that is and only is ‘Filipino American music.’ As Filipino Americans, we have a variety of influences, both internal and external to the Philippine nation, that stretch across time and space, and we make individual artistic choices. As a diasporic community, we adapt, assimilate, appropriate, localize, and transform music, music-making, and listening in an infinite number of ways. Encouraging a more robust debate and exploration of these issues is my motivation for creating a space for ‘Filipino American music’ especially in scholarly literature that is neither objective nor immune from larger social forces such as racism, prejudice, and exclusion.

Mary Talusan, Co-Editor

This project is supported by California Revealed and administered in California by the State Librarian. The program is made possible by funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act. Additional support for this book was provided by the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology and the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive.

Front cover art concept by Nicole Mae Martin, designed by Amy Vaughn. Photo credits: Eleanor Lipat-Chesler, May Vukotich, Kevin Manuel Theodore Soriano, Marlo Campos. Back cover image by May Vukotich.