IP Rondalla History

The Iskwelahang Pilipino Rondalla was established in 1986 by Cristina Castro under the musical direction of classical guitarist, Michael Dadap. Dadap, and his successor Christi-Anne Castro, guided the IP Rondalla into becoming a versatile ensemble capable of playing folk, popular, and art music, as well as contemporary compositions. Significantly, the first generation of players quickly found that they could incorporate dance and movement into their repertoire, a first for rondallas around the world and a signature of the IP Rondalla to this day.

Through the years, the IP Rondalla has flourished as a truly Filipino American expression. Our Rondalla regularly has local performances at colleges, folk festivals, and other Filipino American events – raising awareness about Filipino Americans and the Philippines and eliciting nostalgia for the homeland for Filipino expatriates through familiar folk music. Periodically, our rondalla also goes on international tours. Highlights for our rondalla include playing at the United Nations, twice performing for then-President Fidel Ramos, and devoting a concert to the Filipino maestro, Nitoy Gonzales. Our rondalla also has two CDs, Crossing Over (1995) and Pasko sa America (2002), an album of Filipino and Western Christmas favorites.

As musical ambassadors, rondalla members develop a strong sense of Filipino identity and pride in their heritage, as well as a lasting connection to one another and the IP community.  The love of music and lifelong friendships keep the alumni within the IP family and, as a result, teachers come from within the rondalla itself. Thus, one generation of students fosters the leaders of the next.

Iskwelahang Pilipino Rondalla performing at Manila's Museo Pambata in 1998.
The IP Rondalla performed at Manila’s Museo Pambata in the summer of 1998. Guests included President Corazon Aquino, National artist Lucrecia “King” Kasilag and Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim. Show was hosted by Museum founders Estefania Aldaba-Lim and Nina L. Yuson.