According to the Diksyunaryo ng Wikang Filipino‎ (Dictionary of the Filipino Language) produced by the Linangan ng mga Wika sa Pilipinas (Institute of Philippine Languages) in the 1980’s, a synonym for balara is the Tagalog word tambol.


The drum being referred to here is the musical instrument, the one consisting of a hollow cylinder with a membrane stretched tightly over one or both ends, played by beating with the hands or sticks.

Not many Filipinos recognize this meaning of the word balara. When you say balara in the Philippines, the first thing that Filipinos think of is Old Balara, a section of Quezon City.  There does not seem to be a connection between the obscure ‘drum’ definition and the name of the place. Various theories about the origin of the place name include something about pigs or cannons during Spanish or even pre-colonial times.

Similar-looking but unrelated Tagalog words:  bala and balaraw

* Where is Quezon City? It is on the island of Luzon and is one of the cities of Metro Manila. QC was the capital of the Philippines from 1948 to 1976. It is currently the most populous city in the Philippines.