by: Jose S. Buenconsejo, Ph.D. (UP College of Music)

Back in 1988 as a research assistant to National Artist Dr. Jose Maceda in the Department of Music Research University of the Philippines, it was part of our training as musicologists to read Bruce Jackson's book Fieldwork, which contained chapters on techniques of field research using cassette technology, SLR camera, in addition, of course, to notetaking gadgets such as pencils and notebooks. Over a decade after in 1996 and 1997 when I did my fieldwork for my doctoral degree, I still had my stereo cassette recorder with me but used, instead of a still camera, a video cassette recorder. Digital technology--along with the internet-- with combined sound and visual capability would change how fieldwork on music and culture is to be done at the dawn of the millennium. And this is where we at now. Despite these changes, technologies of audio and visual reproduction would remain essential to research as a form of documenting or interpreting a music culture from a different geography or history. We are obviously aware of the value of technology in preserving a researcher's memory of friendships with other people in different places and cultures. How this memory is preserved and for what end is a different issue, however. In the past, it was enough to simply archive data, classify and label them on shelves and vaults, which, I am aware, is still necessary than ever. For this Salikha project, we wanted to move away from this simple archiving and, with adventurous spirits, do beyond the usual outputs. The ease and availability of non-linear video editing has to do with this move as well as the availability of self-help filmmaking techniques in the internet. We thought of transforming data creatively so they can be accessible to Filipino students as educational audio-visual materials in the classroom.


The moving beyond the archiving process however, poses great challenges. It is more expensive and time consuming for the researchers, doing documentary film requires more skills. I must therefore sincerely thank Krina Cayabyab for accepting this challenge to direct this documentary film. Indeed, I am very proud of this work as this is her first as a musicologist. The documentary film that we are about to see deals with the complex networks or social relationships that an expression called OPM--a Filipino tradition of popular music--was constitutive of. An archive of separate data on the shelves cannot do this for they are simply facts waiting for a scholar. A documentary film, in contrast, pushes us to go public, sharing a perspective, an imagination, an interpretation of life, a way of seeing and hearing it, a SALIKHA.


There are four documentary films in the series, each with a different theme. The next one is on hip hop youth culture to be directed by project leader Lara Mendoza. Then, two more on the subjects of songs of the masses and underground music, which are tentatively assigned to me as director. We are keen to emphasize in our endeavor a creative documentation of Philippine popular music in the context of day-to-day local, grassroots cultural processes. This set of four digital films will all look into the meanings of music as a medium of social networks or relationships--i.e., between people, music technology and media, their beliefs and ideologies, the institutions they are engaged with or want to resist, and traditions--in various cultural locations. We believe that the medium of documentary films is suited to do this task, for it is multimedia. A multisensorial medium, a documentary film can help us understand better in our opinion how music making matters in the lives of Filipino others to whom we owe recognition and respect as kapwa tao.

Documentary Series 


Sa Madaling Salita, OPM!

Ang Himig Pilipino sa Dekada Sitenta

Directed by Krina Cayabyab (UP College of Music).

Running time: around 70 minutes


Languages: English and Filipino with subtitles in English

Ethnographies of Philippine Auditory Popular Cultures

© 2018 EPAPC