Why “Tambuli”?

Baltazar G. Federico


In the Western world, use of the long-stemmed trumpet is often associated with the ceremony of heralding the arrival of royalty. Symbolically, the statue of Moroni atop the Salt Lake Temple, fitted with this instrument, is an inspiring reminder to the viewer that the King of Kings, Jesus Christ himself, will soon come to reign over mankind. It also symbolizes the preaching of the restored gospel throughout the world.

Long before the expeditionary forces of Ferdinand Magellan landed on the shores of Mactan island in 1521, the instrument used to summon villagers to a meeting of barangay elders, or to warn of a common danger like fire or pirates, was the tambuli—an instrument fashioned from the horn of a carabao that produced long, melodious sounds. This method of communication persists to this day in some parts of the country.

The tambuli is indigenous to the Philippines, as inherently Philippine as the balut and the katukong (a sturdy hat made from the round gourd). The tambuli is, therefore, a fitting symbol of the nationwide effort to disseminate the gospel in this country, in lieu of the Western bugle.

“Tambuli” indeed more than satisfies the criteria for a truly inspiring name for the first magazine of the Latter-Day Saints in the Philippines, a publication designed to advance the work in this part of the Lord’s vineyard in these last days.—Baltazar G. Federico