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.
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.