Suroy sa Musikero (Loboc Brass Band)
There is more to the internationally acclaimed Loboc Children’s Choir, and the serenade offered by local musicians while on a river cruise in floating restaurants, that make Loboc the town of music in Bohol. The Suroy Sa Musikero, a yearly practice that started years ago to elevate Christmas is another determinant of the town’s exceptional cultural and musical heritage. “Suroy” is a Cebuano term for “leisurely walk” or “stroll”, while “musikero” refers to “musicians”.
Comprised of the Loboc Brass Band (Loboc Band), the ensemble moves from house to house offering daygon (Christmas carols) during the yuletide season from December 25 to February 2 in the following year. During the suroy, the band with clarinets, trumpets, percussions, bass horns, cymbals, and brass trombones in tow, will render Christmas carols, songs of praises and thanksgiving, and a “responso” (prayers for the dead) to the host family. As a climax, the lively “kuradang” music will be played enticing people to dance as part of the celebration. Food is then served for everyone to partake in after the daygon.
The band is said to have been formally organized way back in 1871 by Mariano Varquez. In the narrative of Antonio Balili, the band made a vital contribution during World War II by entertaining the Japanese through music. During the guerilla period, a weekly concert was held to neutralize the invasion. Since then, the group has greatly influenced the lives of the Lobocanons. Musicians multiplied. But for one to be considered, each has to undergo the “tiple”, a mentoring tradition facilitated by the elders before one becomes a full-fledged member.
It is good to note that this local tradition is still very alive over time— sustained despite natural calamities, war, and the pandemic. Let us continue to rejoice and be passionate about the preservation of our heritage. Happy New Year, everyone!
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