Yes, there really is a town called Mogpog.  Mabuhay! – Welcome!

Mogpog, on the Island of Marinduque, in the Philippines, is the only place in the Philippines (or anywhere else for that matter), where you can see the original traditions of the Longinus legend re-enacted throughout Easter Week:  called Moryonan. The Moryons have been roaming Mogpog in their spectacular masks and costumes to carry out their rituals of penance (panata) as part of the Moryonan for almost 150 years.

This is the first in a series of blog posts to share with you some tales of Mogpog traditions.

This Travel Tale of Mogpog is about the Mogpog Band

The town’s own band plays at all the processions and parades during Moryonan, but also at the town Fiesta (which is in May), for Christmas events and any festive occasions when music is needed.

The Mogpog Band was started in the early 1900s by a member of the local Livelo family, but its reputation goes beyond the Island of Marinduque.

(Photo: courtesy of Senen Livelo)

In this photograph, taken in 1950, the band was asked to play in the town of Pola, in the neighbouring island of Mindoro to help celebrate fiesta. In the middle row, second from the left is Senen Livelo, on his left is his father who founded the band, and his father, Ignacio Livelo, started the first school in Mogpog in 1850. A nipa (native material) hut on their plot was divided into two areas: music was taught in one, the Spanish alphabet in the other. Ignacio’s wife, her two sisters and their husbands, all played musical instruments in the church.

Forty-seven years on, in 1997, Senen Livelo and a few of the band members, some in their eighties, are holding a jam session in the Livelo compound in Mogpog.



Other members, playing in the town during that same year.


Ignacio Livelo’s descendent, Senen Livelo Jnr., the former Mayor of Mogpog Municipality, maintains the family’s musical traditions by playing the old folk songs and dances on the keyboard.

Mogpog Brass Band has now grown in size, has smart red uniforms, and plays in other places as well as Mogpog, including at the annual Feast of Black Nazarene in Quiapo, a district in the old part of Manila City. Click the link below to see them on a Youtube video.

[This is an archived post originally posted in 2011 and based on field research carried out in 1995-7. Doubtless some things have changed in Mogpog, but they still celebrate the traditional Moryonan, and it is good to record and remember the recent past for future generations.]

Rituals, enactments, street theatre – they are all part of Story’s rich  repertoire, along with myths, fables, epics, sagas, legends, folktales and novels, a heritage that has sustained us physically, spiritually and socially since our ancestors were hunters and gatherers. Learn more in this global cultural history of storytelling: A Biography of Story, A Brief History of Humanity.

If you missed the other Tales in this series, the links are below:

Travel Tales of Mogpog 2: The Society Ladies of Mogpog

Travel Tales of Mogpog 3: Behind the Mask

Travel Tales of Mogpog 4: More on Masks

Travel Tales of Mogpog 1
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8 thoughts on “Travel Tales of Mogpog 1

  • December 15, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Wow! Trish, this is absolutely fascinating. I didn’t even know Mogpog existed and now it is on my travel list. Thanks so much for sharing:-)

    • December 15, 2011 at 10:13 am

      I am so delighted you enjoyed it, Jane. We all have to participate in the marketing these days and it can feel awkward. I try to give value and a bit of fun. It’s easy with Mogpog, it’s such an amazing place, wonderful traditions, close community – I lived there on and off for over a year. My next post we will be about the women – have a fabulous photo from 1920s of all the ‘society ladies’ in their gorgeous ‘best clothes’.

  • December 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Thank you Trish for an introduction to a fascinating place and people that I didn’t even know existed. Am looking forward to hearing more about the women. I am ever so slightly envious of all your wonderful travel experiences 🙂 x

    • December 17, 2011 at 5:48 am

      Thank you, Sue, I’m glad you found it interesting. The travel, especially working in difficult conditions, can have it’s downsides but I know I’m fortunate to have had so many opportunities – so I enjoy sharing the experience as much as possible 🙂

  • December 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    These little glimpses are truly fascinating! I’ve traveled extensively around the US, and only a little in the rest of the world. “Some day,” I keep telling myself!

    • December 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      Glad you are enjoying them. It’s surprising just what we can do if we take our dreams seriously. In the meantime, the books I am writing are designed to be equally entertaining for armchair travellers, so feel free to curl up on the sofa and do your travelling the easy way 🙂

  • December 23, 2011 at 3:51 am

    I want to go visit Mogpog. Absolutely amazing place I’ve never heard of. Thanks for sharing this lovely post. 😉

    • December 23, 2011 at 4:23 am

      If you want to visit enough, Amberrr, you probably will one day 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read, so glad you enjoyed it.

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