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Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands

Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands
View of Mainland Marinduque from Tres Reyes Islands-Click on Photo to link to Marinduque Awaits You

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Putong or Tubong-Only in Marinduque



There are several articles in the internet about Putong or Tubong. I found this article from the Philippine Inquirer last year. It was written by Gerald Gene R. Querubin dated 8/30/07.

There are some variations of the lyrics, and melodies from town to town. However, it is still a song and dance welcome ceremony to guests and visitors, wishing them good health, good luck and long life. This is one tradition indigenous to the island and add justification to the statement that Marinduquenos are the most hospital people in the Philippines if not in the whole world.

"People in the tiny, heart-shaped island of Marinduque welcome friends and visitors in a unique tradition befitting kings and queens in their own right.

Literally meaning coronation or to crown, the putong (also called tubong) is a song of thanksgiving and, at the same time, a wish and a prayer for a long, blessed life. It has remained one of the popular traditions in this deeply religious province.

The practice has been extended to visitors and guests as a gesture of hospitality. It is, in fact, a prayer for their success, health and prosperity, and has evolved into a song of love, respect, praise and thanksgiving.

“The putong reflects the life of the people, frequently the common Marinduqueños,” said Prof. Rex Asuncion, director for culture and arts of the Marinduque State College.

Folk Music

The putong can be classified as a folk music for it is an expression of folk concerns and often makes use of native folk poetry set to simple melodies, he said.

According to beliefs, the patron saint rejoices at this kind of celebrations and intercedes for the honoree in his wish for long life, happiness and safety from accidents and bad luck. The putong is likewise performed during birthdays and anniversaries, and even when someone passes the board examinations or wins in contests.

Marta Jardeleza, an 80-year-old “mamumutong” or performer from Mogpog town, said she learned the song from a friend when she was 15 years old. She had taught her children how to sing the putong.

Teresa Bunag, 79, said her aunt taught her the song.

In the six towns of the province, the performance is basically similar, except for the melodies and lyrics. All singers wear costumes—the women in kimona and saya, and the men in barong Tagalog—and bring baskets of fresh flowers, palm leaves, and assorted coins.

They dance and sway to the accompaniment of musical instruments, usually guitars and banjos.

The Performance

The ceremony starts with the “mamumutong” or the “manunubong,” who gather in front of the home of the host. The host may either be prepared for the event or taken by surprise.

As they enter the house, they explain their purpose and request for the host’s hospitality. “Narito po kami, Mahal na maybahay. Tinugtog na namin ang instrumentong taglay (We are here, dear host. We are already playing our instruments),” goes the song.

The first stage is known as the “pananayawan.” The verses are sung slowly until everybody is in the receiving room. At this juncture, the honoree is seated on a chair (supposedly the throne) at the center of the room or stage and flanked by two family members, each holding a lighted candle.

“Pag-akyat namin sa mahal mong baitang, may dalawang anghel ang aming nadatnan. Tig-isang kandila ang kanilang tangan, sa tamang umaakyat ay tinatanglaw (As we enter your home, there are two angels waiting for us. They have candles to guide us).”

The song’s tempo picks up and the celebration reaches its climax when the crown is placed on the honoree’s head.

“Nang kami ay dumating sa loob ng Herusalem, ang palma ay sa kamay, korona’y sa ulo. Kahimanawari’y magkapantay ito, sambahi’t igalang nitong buong mundo (When we arrived at Jerusalem, palms in our hands, crowns on heads. Hoping that the world will praise and respect them).”

Flowers and Coins

The honoree is showered with flowers and coins, symbolizing affection and wishes of good luck and prosperity. This is the cue for the host and other guests to throw candies, coins and paper bills to the honoree, as children and adults alike scamper for the bounty. Shouts and laughter fill the air.

It is said that the crown and the coins must be kept for good luck.

“Kahimaniwari’y habaan ng buhay, sa mahal na santong aming pinutungan. Kahimanawari’y siya ay ilagay, mahabang panahong walang karamdaman. Ipag viva natin tuloy ipagdiwang ang mahal na santong pinutungan (We are hoping that the saint that we crowned will have a long life. We are hoping that he would be free from any ailments. Let us celebrate for the saint that we crowned).”

The putong ends with everybody shouting “Mabuhay!” and partaking of food, drinks and stories in a “salo-salo.”
This short video is for your enjoyment. Long Live, Good Health and May God be You, Always!
This a about one minute video of another Putong ceremony in Bario Bangbang in Gasan. Note that the six towns of Marinduque have different lyrics and melody for their Putong ceremony, but still has the same theme, that is welcome, good health and may God bless you in this occasion. It could be your birthday, wedding anniversary or just your first time to visit Marinduque
I hope that the next generations of Filipinos and/or Filipino-Americans will continue this tradition because it is an important part of our Marinduque cultural heritage.
Personal Note: Macrine and I were the organizers of the Christmas Carolers and Mamumutong ( participants of the Putong) Group of the Marinduque Association of the Capital Area(MACA) from 1995 to 2001.
We used the lyrics and melody commonly known in the town of Boac-capital of Marinduque.

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