Suroy sa Musikero

Each year, beginning the morning of December 25, a band of musicians would rove around the town of Loboc in Bohol, Philippines. This revelry, called Suroy sa Musikero by the locals, would last for forty days. It ends on the 2nd of February. Loboc is a town 24 kms away from Tagbilaran City, the capital city of Bohol. Bohol is a small island in the Visayas popular for its caves, diving spots, Chocolate Hills, tarsiers, and its many festivities including Suroy sa Musikero.

To get to Loboc, one gets a bus or jeepney ride at the Dao Terminal in Tagbilaran. Riding a cab or a coach from the airport or pier is another option.

Suroy sa Musikero is a yearly tradition held by local musicians of Loboc to elevate the spirit of Christmas as well as to entertain the people. It has been practiced for decades in celebration of the 40 days after Christ’s birth and culminates in the Feast of Candelaria or Candelmas Day. Feast of Candelaria is also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.

Suroy is a local term wich means “walk” or “parade” while musikero means “musician.” Suroy sa Musikero trans-literally means “parade of (a) musician.” The Suroy sa Musikero is done by musicians both young and old. The band has around 25 members and composed of three brass bands.

The musicians would carry and play brass trombones, percussions, bass horns, clarinets, and trumpets as they play Christmas carols of each assigned area. Musicians would also play Christmas carols to families of the host area. Some of the songs played by the musicians include Kuradong and Dalaga sa Baybayon.

Suroy sa Musikero is done by homegrown musicians. Each musician had to undergo a mentoring tradition referred to as “tiple.” This is to ensure that the music tradition in Loboc is passed on to the next generation.

As part of the tiple, the student has to read solfegio lessons and to render voluntary music services to their local church. The student has to learn also to read music compositions. The mentoring is done by the elder musicians.

The band master or a band elder would then select the students who they’d train more. Finally, the students get to join band practices until they graduate as full-pledged musicians.

But Suroy sa Musikero is not all about the music. As part of the tradition, the music playing is accompanied by refreshments or dinner served by the host area.