Cebu’s Famous Guitars

By on June 2, 2009

Guitars especially made from Cebu are famous throughout the Philippines because of their affordable price, world-class quality and durability.

Cebu has a long history of guitar making due to its traditional industry. Most of the guitar manufacturers are family-owned enterprises passed on from one generation to another.

Cebu-made guitars are popular with local tourists and Filipino expatriates, who buy them as gifts, when they go back to the United States or other countries where they have settled. The guitars are also popular with foreign tourists, who buy them as souvenir items.

The center of the guitar-making industry in Cebu is in Lapu-Lapu City in Mactan Island. In addition, other string musical instruments made in Lapu-Lapu City include ukuleles, banjos, and mandolins.

The most famous guitar makers in Lapu-Lapu City are the Alegre and Malingin families. They also have guitar stores in Lapu-Lapu. The Lumanog family of Pampanga used to sell guitars from Cebu. (Updated 09/05/2011)

The guitar-making industry in Lapu-Lapu City started when the Spanish friars assigned in Cebu needed to repair the guitars they were using. Instead of waiting for the guitars to arrive from Mexico, they commissioned the townspeople of Opon village in Mactan Island to make new guitars and repair the existing guitars they had; thus began the guitar industry in Cebu.

Typical woods used for Cebu-made guitars are soft and hard woods like jackfruit, narra, black wood ebony, and imported woods. Some guitars have simple designs while others have decorations of intricate designs or inlaid with shell crafts.

The guitars made in Lapu-Lapu are all handmade, and people who want personalized guitars can order them custom-made according to their own design requirements.

guitar2 Cebus Famous Guitars

Several music stores in SM City Cebu sell Cebu-made guitars and string instruments. Nevertheless, the center of specialty stores in Cebu City selling guitars and other string instruments is in Lincoln Street near the Carbon Market district. The whole stretch of Lincoln Street on both sides has stores selling guitars and other string instruments made from Lapu-Lapu City and other places in Cebu.

According to a newspaper report, the current worldwide financial crisis has not affected the guitar-making industry in Cebu. There is still a continuous demand from locals and foreign tourists in spite of the entry of imported guitars from China.

People say that the melodious tune produced by Cebu-made guitars is due to the exceptional craftsmanship and hard work put by local artisans in the guitars they make.

So if you are a tourist visiting Cebu and want to have a high-quality guitar, buy locally made guitars and experience the unique guitar sound produced by the province’s guitar makers.

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28 Comments

  1. james

    December 12, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    makanu po bah ung acoustic guitar nyu???

  2. silas

    August 16, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    magkano yan ?

  3. jhipsyrose p. bartolome

    July 19, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    how much is the your guitar

  4. ernie giles

    December 17, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    Ok having extensive knowlege in the construction of guitars. I feel qualified to answer some questions and hopefully save you some hard earned money.
    Most of the guitars constructed in Cebu or Lapu Lapu are laminated sides and backs.Also laminated sound boards. In other words CHEAP .
    Wood is extremely sensitive to humidity or lack humidity.A guitar needs to build in a humidity controled enviroment not under a shed or tree in one of the most humid countrys in world.
    50% humidity is required to build a guitar .Ok example wood swells in high humidity and shrinks in lower humidity.What that means your guitar when taken almost anywhere in the world the woods will shrink. It will pull itself apart usally starting with huge cracks in the lower bouts.
    If you plan on staying in the philippines then no problem . But if you plan on taking it out of the country save yor money .
    Also the trait in the Philippines of close enough is good enough and if you make a mistake you just cover it up prevails.
    Since they only see the customer one time then you go home they operate on the principal a sucker is born every minute.
    So my advise as a guitar builder is dont waste your money Cebu guitars are garbage. For 500 to 1000 dollars go to ebay buy a decent guitar.

  5. Everything Cebu

    November 12, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    Thanks for your comment, Alex.

  6. Alex V

    November 10, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    Got a Tenor ukulele from Ronnie of Guitar Master last Nov.1, 2012. The price is quite stingy for a senior citizen like me at Ps3,500. He said that the top is made of solid Silk Oak and the body of solid Phil. Acacia. I am not knowledgeable to the types of tonewoods used in string instruments so although it would seem that the type of materials he used are of other wood varieties rather than oaks or acacias, I took Ronnie’s word that what i got is a ‘real mc’coy.’ But what made me want it is the quality of its sound. Wow! The moment my hands tried to play with the uke, it would seem that it has been glued with epoxy. I just cannot put it down and leave.The sound combination of mellowy and tinny notes are crisp. Even in fast paced strummings the melodies come out individually clean. And that’s not withstanding that the instrument is strung with a nylon fishing line! It is simply GREAT! Export Quality! – For those of you planning to visit Cebu, try dropping by at the Guitar Master in Mactan and buy a uke. Ronnie will be there to assist you.

  7. Pingback: Guitar | roweltolentino.co.cc/blogs

  8. Pingback: 5 "Hassle-to-bring-Home" Pinoy Pasalubong | Travel Up

  9. Everything Cebu

    March 13, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Thanks for your help, BoyBoy.

  10. BoyBoy

    March 13, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    @ann This is a good research tool, try this: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=lumanog+guitar+history+

  11. ann

    March 11, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    hi there! I have a project regarding the brand . but unfortunately i had’nt seen it . can i got lumanog guitar history pls .. i need it for my research .tnx in advance . God Bless

  12. Everything Cebu

    January 18, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Hi Robert! Everything Cebu is a lifestyle site and we are not really experts on guitars. Let’s hope that somebody knowledgeable can read your question and provide answers. Good luck!

  13. Roberto

    January 17, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Has anyone compared the durability, playability and freedom from warping between the Cebu guitars and those made in China?
    Thanks, Robert

  14. Everything Cebu

    December 1, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    Hi Roger!

    We have a write-up on Alegre Guitars. Please visit http://www.everythingcebu.com/bits-and-pieces/alegre-guitar-factory/ for more details.

  15. Roger Cohn

    November 30, 2011 at 1:04 AM

    I bought an Alegre guitar in Lapu Lapu. It is an Ovation style with internal pickup and tuner. It played very nice and looks good and sounded good. I paid 14,000 Peso. But after 3 months when I got back to the US the bottom bulged out ad it is no longer playable. I took it to 3 different luthiers in US and they all said it was not properly constructed (No x bracing). It is unrepairable. Now I am going back to Cebu in a January 2012 and want to return it for credit against a new guitar.Ihave been unable to contact Alegre directly. Does anyone have a e mail or phone number?

  16. Pingback: 5 “Hassle-to-bring-Home” Pinoy Pasalubong « Travel-Up

  17. Everything Cebu

    July 26, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    To Kieth and others who bought instruments from Cebu guitar makers

    EverythingCebu.com is in no way connected with these guitar makers, so you would most likely be better off expressing your concerns to them directly.

  18. Kieth

    July 25, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    I recently bought a ukulele through the mail from one of the supposedly better luthier/guitar shops mentioned in the above article.

    It arrived damaged by the case I was persuaded to buy due to shoddy construction.

    The instrument came with guitar pegs rather than proper ukulele pegs as shown in the photo I was sent. The guitar pegs require that a great amount of execess string be wrapped around them in order to keep the angle correct to keep the strings from popping out of the slots on the nut.

    The job on the nut is a massacre and I could do better with a modified hacksaw blade. I have since learned that the luthiers use proper nut files , so i don’t know how they messed it up so bad, they were either in a hurry or drunk.

    The ukulele neck and sound box are beautiful, but because someone was cutting corners to save a few pesos, I now have a ukulele that is un playable.. very disappointing : (

    Feel free to contact me : honipop@yahoo.com

  19. Everything Cebu

    May 25, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Hi Julie! We are not the ones selling the guitars; we only featured them. Please check out the contact numbers posted.

  20. Everything Cebu

    May 25, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    Hi Zen! For high quality and affordable guitars, try the following shops located in Lapu-Lapu:

    Susing’s Guitars
    Contact Numbers: +63 (32) 5050723 or +63915-6700680
    Web site: http://susingsguitar.net/

    Guitar Master
    Contact Numbers +63 (32) 495-2412 / +63920-224-3767

    Alegre Guitars is also a recommended shop but we couldn’t find their contact number. When you are in Lapu-Lapu, try to ask around. Good luck!

  21. rommel

    May 24, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    i bought a guitar in alegre for my son a year ago and found out just recently that the neck got broken in the sixth month. I soon learned that the price i paid for was a rip off…they actually give different price to different people for the same thing. if you’re a local you could get the same guitar for less…i should have bought a yamaha instead…. Dont ever buy an alegre guitar…and if you must then try to bargain or just walk away.

  22. zen

    March 28, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    Tagpila ang pinakabarato nga classical guitar para sa beginner?

    salamat

  23. d larimore

    March 23, 2011 at 2:15 AM

    i want a cebu guitar who can get one for me?

  24. Paul Chan

    November 17, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    I want to learn how to make a guitar which is my passion and dream.
    I can play classical guitar and now I am retired I want to fulfill my dream.
    Can you kindly help me find a place that teaches this craft.
    I will be going to Cebu soon to see things for myself.
    Paul Chan.

  25. betina rodriguez

    August 10, 2010 at 12:30 AM

    hello fe,

    i suggest you visit either Susing’s Guitar or Alegre Guitars

    if you need quality ukulele, go to those with factories

    you will see how your ukuleles are made plus you know who to contact incase you need something else

    betina

  26. matthew

    August 10, 2010 at 12:27 AM

    hey!

    thanks for the info betina!

    i am planning to buy a guitar made in Cebu. i will probably head out to Susing’s Guitar.

    i was able to read a blog – http://www.igougo.com/review-r1186426-Guitar_factories.html

    it was about a review on the guitar factories in lapulapu city

    they mentioned this:

    Alegre Guitar Factory has the most impressive looking guitar factory in Abuno.

    For the serious music hobbyist, however, the best-sounding guitars (in our opinion) are made and sold by Susing’s Guitars, a few meters down the road from Alegre. Some of the guitars sounded at least as good as Yamahas, for half the price

  27. betina rodriguez

    August 10, 2010 at 12:22 AM

    can you check the information you posted in this site!

    “The most famous guitar makers in Lapu-Lapu City are the families of the Alegre, Lumanog and Malingin. All of them also have guitar stores in Lapu-Lapu.”

    do you know that the Lumanogs are from Pampanga and not from Cebu!!!

    get your facts straight. you can google it, you know before posting it!

    from what i know, there are only 2 guitar factories in Lapulapu City – Susing’s Guitar & Alegre Guitars (check out the map provided by the Department of Tourism)

    those guitars sold in stores near the Old Mactan Bridge – are made by people who do not have factories but who possessed guitar-making skills

    guitar making in Cebu is believed to have been started by the Malingin siblings – Susing, Lilang and Quirico

    Susing’s Guitar is now owned & operated by her son Lucrecio Valiente
    Lilang’s Guitar is no longer in business. It is bought by Alegre Guitars (owned by Alicia Alegre, daughter of Lilang)
    Inday Celia’s Guitar is still open and is operated by Quirico & Cecilia Malingin

    The three stores have different specialties.
    Susing,s Guitar – recommended for serious music lovers and beginners alike for its very good sound quality and durability.they produce pocket-friendly guitars. they export ukuleles to the US and Asia and guitars to Europe.
    they may not have an impressive factory unlike Alegre Guitars but when buying guitars, what matters is the quality & the price

    Alegre Guitars – impressive factory, nice guitars but really expensive
    they have guitars that cost as much as Php50,000 or $1,000.
    a tip, before buying a guitar in this store, try checking out Susing’s Guitar because they most of the time, they have the same products but at half the price. the reason why Alegre Guitars charge as much is that they need to give commission to the tourist guide that they ask to bring the tourist to their store

    Inday Celia Guitars – relatively cheap guitars but quality-wise, not really that good

    Another store still located in Abuno Lapu-lapu City – Jerry’s Guitar
    Son of Susing & brother of Lucrecio. They sell cheap guitars.

    *************

  28. Felicitas fe M. Lumanta

    July 30, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    hi..I am Mrs. Lumanta,,a music teacher in Ormoc City Sped Center, ORMOC City..I am planning to buy ukeleles and guitar there in CEBU CITY to be used in my music class..I hope I could get your contact number so that I can call you and ask informations about your guitars and ukelelees..thank you and God bless..

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