It was 2010 and Amrei of Flush and the Toilets was celebrating her birthday at Route 196 when Diwa came on to play.

Diwa de Leon performs Epic Jam at Route 196

And that’s when I fell in love with his music. From then on I would take note of where his gigs are and try my best to make it.

I saw this post about the Karay-A Arts Festival and is really proud that we have such initiatives around the country. I wish there are more. The Philippines is so culturally-rich that we can never run out of music and arts festivals. And I am proud of people like Diwa de Leon who are so fervid about their craft that they go to great lengths to share it with the rest of the world. There isn’t a lot of money in being an artist, but there if there is love, passion and dedication, then there is also happiness and gratification.

When I think about it though, the first time I talked to Diwa was at clay animator Edwin Guillermo‘s house, via Yahoo Messenger. This was a long time ago and I remember how Edwin would always recommend Diwa for musical scoring when I had plays or other similar projects that might have a need for such.

Documentary about Diwa de Leon – The Film Scorer (Part 1 of 2)

Though Diwa recently made news after winning the Best Original Music Score citation for Raymund Red’s “Kamera  Obscura” at the recently concluded Cinemalaya 2012 Awards, Diwa has done a lot of scoring in the past years. He won Best Music and Best Sound for Aureaus Solito’s Busong for Cinemalaya 2011 and Best Music for Ruelo Lozeondo’s Kolorete, a Cinema One Original in 2008.

Diwa de Leon, who graduated valedictorian from the Philippine High School of the Arts, is the grandson of National Artist for Music Felipe Padilla de Leon and son of another nationalist musician, Felipe Padilla de Leon, Jr. who is now chair of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. His mother is writer/poet Anna Leah Sarabia.

I invited Diwa to play at my birthday celebration at B-Side last May and he graciously accepted. I wanted to share his music and my love for it with my friends. There were eight other bands that night with different musical genres and some of them asked me, “What is that instrument he’s using?”

Diwa is deeply passionate about the hegalong – a two-stringed guitar/boatlute that is native in the Philippines. He considers this indigenous musical instrument as the most melodic and an ‘underdog’ that he created the Hegalong Project.

According to Diwa, “The Hegalong Project” is a lifetime series of musical pieces geared for the modern consciousness and which highlights it as a versatile melodic instrument. The instrument is overshadowed by the tourism poster item that is the kulintang. But the hegalong (or kudyapi) can go toe to toe with India’s sitar and Japan’s shamisen in terms of musical versatility and appeal.”

Documentary about Diwa de Leon – The Hegalong Project (Part 2 of 2)

A group of film students decided to make a documentary about Diwa’s two lives as a musician; a film scorer, and pioneer of the Hegalong Project. In the video, he discusses some more details about the hegalong and even offer a mini-tutorial on its scales. The documentary was produced and directed by Bea Fabros, Gian Abrahan, Judd Figuerres, Vinnie Pacleb

For a lengthier explanation of the Hegalong Project, check out:

His Emergence EP is also available in iTunes:

Let us support original Philippine music and the Filipino artist.

Memories on Two Strings (Album) – Sneak Preview

Diwa de Leon’s Memories on Two Strings (2-disc album), the Hegalong in the style of electronic, chill out & world music,  is out now and available through the following:


Philippine Shops that currently sell the CDs are as follows:

1. Cultural Center of the Philippines Gift Shop
2. Atin Ito Handicrafts Store

  • SM Mall of Asia/2nd Floor
  • Robinson’s Place Metro East/4th Floor
  • Ali Mall/Ground Floor
  • Summit Ridge Tagaytay/2nd Floor
  • NAIA II Centenial Airport Check-In & Pre-Departure Area
  • Diosdado Macapagal International Airport Pre-Departure Area

3. Conspiracy Garden Cafe, along Visayas Road infront Shell Gas Station

Production Credits:
All music composed, arranged and produced by Diwa de Leon
Album produced by Diwa de Leon
Co-produced by National Commission for Culture and the Arts
Cover artwork by Dawani De Leon

Guest Artists: Cooky Chua, Zab Reyes, Cj Wasu, Jeanne Velasco-Vicars, Jaafar Husin, Aba Lluch Dalena, Brian Mathew Ligsay, Yanna Verbo Acosta, Shallah Montero

To hear samples from the album, here are some links:
Moonrise featuring Cooky Chua:


Diwa de Leon’s Official website:

Diwa de Leon’s Facebook page:

Diwa de Leon’s Youtube channel:


Parts of this blog were lifted from an article by PABLO A. TARIMAN that came out in the Vera Files: The Grandson Also Rises, August 12, 2012, URL: