The term rondalla refers to the native string ensemble of the Philippines, and it consists of plectrum instruments such as the bandurria, laud, octavina, mandola, guitarra, and bajo de uñas (supplanted today by the regular double bass). Wherever the University of the Philippines Alumni & Friends Rondalla performs, whether a formal or an informal affair, the music produced by the UPA&F Rondalla never fails to evoke pride in and a yearning for their homeland among the Filipinos and an awesome sense of love and appreciation for our musical heritage by non-Filipinos who are not familiar with our indigenous instruments. For what instruments could produce such beautiful sounds that resemble the soothing strains of music emanating from a cross between a violin and a mandolin, the non-Filipinos asks.
The rondalla is a fast-disappearing art in the Philippines. It is heartening that Filipino-Americans are rediscovering their Filipino heritage, and dedicated people in both coasts, like the U.P. Alumni & Friends Rondalla, are committed to preserving the rondalla as an integral part of this legacy.