The Lumanog name is synonymous with Philippine made acoustic guitars. As far as I can remember, when someone in the family wanted an acoustic guitar the reply is always to “get a Lumanog” coz “it’s the best”.

And since the family hails from Pampanga, everyone knows where the best of the best Lumanog guitars can be found – at the hub of guitar and music instrument shops all bearing the name Lumanog in San Anton, Guagua, Pampanga.

Authentic Lumanog acoustic guitars at ROMY LUMANOG guitar shop in
San Anton town, Guagua, Pampanga. Philippines.

Thus, when it was my turn to get my first acoustic guitar – as soon as we changed Apo Ando’s $100 gift into pesos – we rushed straight to San Anton in Guagua, me and my cousin haggled the hell out of the C.B. Lumanog music shop.

My first acoustic guitar was a classical guitar with nylon strings – it had a spruce top and rosewood fingerboard. This guitar served me well, and I player her a lot, she ushered me into the world of music. 3 months into playing the guitar, I was in the school Banduria – and my Apo was actually able to watch the banduria’s recital with me proudly plucking his gift guitar. Ah, the good old days.

Anyhoo, back to the Lumanog guitar thing. Since I was quite determined to get a local guitar that I can have lying around the house – a guitar I can pick up anytime to just strum out melodies and ideas buzzing in my head – I decided to trek to Sta Mesa Manila and get one.

But heck, I checked out five shops and the quality of the “Lumanog” acoustic guitars there were simply horrendous. These are the plywood type guitars painted blue and red no different to those hawked on the streets. Their best guitars, with the nice wood tops, were not as bad but were not good either – really messy worksmanship on the outside and inside. No Sta. Mesa “Lumanog” acoustic guitars for me.

The perfect opportunity to score an authentic Lumanog guitar presented itself when we headed to Lubao for the annual family reunion. On the way back to Manila, since it was a Sunday and the traffic was heavy, I thought why not pass by San Anton see if the shops are open – and what guitars they have.

CB Lumanog shop was closed (I always bought my acoustic guitars from CB Lumanog – 3 of them), but ROMY Lumanog’s shop was open – and Romy Lumanog himself was in the house.

I immediately asked for their best guitar available. He handed me a cutaway guitar with Langka wood and rosewood fingerboard – the action felt right, the sound was OK, the workmanship was ok (not close to perfect but was ok – clean enough, good enough). He showed me a couple more guitars but I went back to the first one he showed me, so I decided to take it – for P3,000 only ($60-$70)!

Btw, this Romy Lumanog acoustic guitar had a GIBSON mark on the headstock! As much as non-Lumanog guys are ripping off the Lumanog name, this real Lumanog is ripping off the Gibson mark, too. Oh well.

The next day I immediately took the guitar to the recording studio in Makati to find out what it sounds like as captured by quality microphones. Hmmm, not bad. Not bad at all. The sound is not big, the resonance leaves a lot ot be desired, but it is not boomy and twangy either – the tone is quite balanced across the strings. Hmmm, seems like this guitar wont just be lying around the house.

So there, something about Lumanog acoustic guitars – hand made in San Anton, Guagua, Pampanga, Philippines.

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