His hands are clammy on the strings.
His brow spotted with sweat even though the night air is cool.
He looks up to the window of his beloved.
Ah, her lamp is lit.
That gives him hope.
He looks at his friends and they nod their encouragement.
He checks his strings.
Still in tune.
His friends clear their throats. They want him to stop stalling.
Shakily, he nods and strums his GITARA.
He sings. His friends back him up. They’ve practiced this.
His song goes on but no one peers out of the window.
He is disheartened but nonetheless carries on,
pouring out his adoration into the song.
He is on the last verse now.
His friends look at him with pity
as they sing the remaining words with him.
He gives a small, sad smile.
At least, I got to tell her.
But just before the last note rings,
a delicate arm reaches out to open the window.
His heart races.
It’s her.
His beloved looks down at him.
She smiles at him.

Dungaw (Look Under) by Esther Faith C. Kempis


This is an old Filipino tradition of a man (usually accompanied by a friend or two) wooing a girl he fancies by singing to her at night by her window or by her house’s balcony. He would do so fully knowing that she could either accept or reject him. If the girl invites him inside the house, she would meet him downstairs with her father where he will be asked about his aspirations in life and his intentions towards the lady.

That’s right, boys, no flings allowed here.

Now, we’re not going to talk about Filipino courtship here (Do you want us to in the future? Let us know!); we will be focusing on a very crucial piece of this tradition: the Guitar.
And not just any guitar. I’m talking about the jackfruit-wood made guitar made only in the Philippines.

TACLOBAN GUITAR SHOP guitars range from PHP 2500-9500
USD 50-190 | AUD 70-270 | CAD 60-230

Cebu in particular is applauded worldwide for their quality guitars, mostly made from langka/nangka (jackfruit) trees. This type of wood gives the instrument a warm tone and is known for its durability. But, they’re not solely found in Cebu. We have them here as well in Tacloban.
Tacloban Guitar Shop is operated by the Enabore family, who originally hailed from Cebu, and have been around Tacloban for decades now. While there are other music stores in Tacloban, they’re the only one who hand-crafts these instruments and then sells them.

Their shop is tucked away in the downtown area, but they’ve put up various signage for directions so potential clients won’t get lost. (The owner, Sir Kerby Enabore is a lawyer, as well, so it’s easy to track their place down)

Sir Gerald, a luthier for almost 50 years and his workshop behind him.
With Attorney Kerby Enabore

As a former Rondalla (traditional stringed ensemble) member, with a shirt to show for it, walking into their shop is like walking into a fairytale. There are guitars, bandurrias (a 14-stringed chordophone), ukeleles and a pair of unfinished octavinas (also a 14-stringed guitar-shaped instrument, only smaller in scale, tuned like a lute). They had a guitar made from mango-tree wood which they allowed me to tinker with. I absolutely loved the sound (and color) of it.

Their ukeleles range from PHP 900-3500
USD 18-70 | AUD 26-100 | CAD 23-88

Attorney Kerby readily answered all our questions and supplied us with various tips regarding the instruments. He said that they also fix up and customize guitars.
“The best thing about us is our warranty.” he tells us. Because they’ve been in business for so long, they have amassed a loyal clientele who knows the quality of their work and who spreads the word for them.

A work of art in progress.

If you’re a guitarist and looking for a top-notch buy or even if you’re just looking for a souvenir, check this shop out at Barangay 14, Tacloban City or contact them 09158985951.

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