Ely Buendia and Eraserheads together again "naturally" for reunion concert "Huling El Bimbo"

by Bong Godinez
Dec 12, 2022
eraserheads concert
The iconic quartet of (from left) Buddy Zabala, Marcus Adoro, Ely Buendia, and Raymund Marasigan, collectively known as the Eraserheads, is only a few weeks away from reuniting on stage for its "Huling El Bimbo" concert.
PHOTO/S: Ant Savvy Creatives

With preparations for their reunion concert now on homestretch, the Eraserheads have turned nostalgic looking back at how far they’ve come as a band and individual artists since their formation in 1989.

The much-anticipated reunion event billed Huling El Bimbo, the title taken from arguably the band’s biggest hit released in 1996, encapsulates the Eraserheads’ journey to becoming one of OPM's biggest acts.

Happening on December 22, 2022, at the SMDC Festival Grounds in Parañaque City, the concert will feature a hologram of the late rapper Francis Magalona, fireworks, a drone show, and an 18-piece orchestra — all complementing the quartet as they perform their hits and more in front of an expected mammoth crowd.

Audiences based abroad can also watch the concert via live streaming on iWantTFC.

The magnitude of the event's production was not lost on drummer Raymund Marasigan as he recalled renting a studio for “probably 80 pesos per hour” during the band's formative years and as college students at the University of the Philippines.

He marveled, “But now we’re playing with real sound systems, a real crew, a really good theater [for rehearsals], nice equipment, nice guitars.

"It sounds great and we’re working with really professional people.”

According to the group, talking to the press during a media conference at the Dolphy Theater in ABS-CBN’s compound in Quezon City, the amount of resources being poured into their upcoming concert with Paolo Valenciano as director is like no other in the band's history.

Raved guitarist Marcus Adoro,“Nakita namin kanina yung preview presentation ni Direk, parang ‘Wow!’ Sa maliit na screen pa lang, parang, it’s mind boggling.”


Moreover, other musicians—General Luna's Audry Dionisio, Ciudad's Mikey Amistoso, and Itchyworms' Jazz Nicolas—will join the Eraserheads concert to reinforce the live sound and recreate the layers of nuances as heard on the songs in the band's studio albums.

All these make Huling El Bimbo, which is said to be the band's final concert in the Philippines, a must-see for fans.


In light of speculations about the frayed relationship among its members since their breakup in 2002, the band reuniting on stage, 13 years after their last reunion concert dubbed The Final Set surprised many.

Looking at the group from the outside, the four seemingly have a volatile, love-hate relationship, dashing any hopes of their fans for a comeback whether through a concert or new music.

The band refrained from romanticizing the reasons behind their reunion concert this month, insisting that sudden negotiations just fell into place and everyone simply agreed to do the project.

Said frontman and chief songwriter, Ely Buendia at the mediacon, “I didn’t find it difficult naman [to reunite and revisit the songs].

“My only problem was what to do with all the toys, the new toys... of course, we bought new gear."

Ely was referring to the gadgets and equipment (e.g. guitar pedals, amplifiers, additional instruments, gears, etc.) that the band and production team will be using to ensure a good audio experience.

He assured, “But as far as playing again, I guess it comes naturally."

Bassist Buddy Zabala likened the process of getting back together and playing to riding a bicycle.


He said, “You just get on the bike and then you pedal and if you get enough momentum, I think you’re okay.

“So, right now, I think we’re finding our momentum. We’ve gotten on the bike, we removed the training wheels.

"We hope to go faster, we have to go in one direction all the way to December 22, 2022.”

Raymund expressed that playing Eraserheads songs with Ely, Marcus, and Buddy have ushered feelings that were beyond sentimental.

He said, pertaining to the band's practice that day with an orchestra led by musical director, Mel Villena, “We feel a lot of things playing the old songs.

"We play a little different, we move a little different, we sing a little different.

"And then when it comes together, it took us five, six rehearsals, and today we were getting goosebumps.

“It’s more than sentimental, I don’t even know to describe it. But when it comes together, it’s that good.”

Meanwhile, Paolo Valenciano has directed shows top-billed by Regine Velasquez, Alden Richards, Julie Anne San Jose, Darren Espanto, and Ben & Ben, among many others.

How has it been for him working with the reunited Eraseheads?

Paolo admitted, “One thing I was nervous about coming into the project was, of course, working with the Eraserheads.

“I wasn’t sure what that dynamic would be like. I’ve worked with divas in the past, and a lot of them have given me headaches.

“I thought na I’ll be working with a bunch of rockstars who would be giving me a hard time, wanting this and that.


“But surprisingly, it’s been very easy working with the band.

"They know what has to be done and they’re willing to do what has to be done to make this a great show.

“Some of the best shows that I’ve worked on is usually because the artist is willing to do what it takes to give the audience a good show, and these guys are willing to do it.

"I personally believe that that’s why this show is gonna work.”


It’s rare to see a disbanded local band enjoy great loyalty from its fans across generations.

They've been binge-listening to the band's songs on modern platforms like Spotify and watching a stage musical inspired by their songs.

And the Eraserheads, to be sure, have left mementos for their fans to remember them by—vinyl records (Ultraelectromagneticpop! and the EP “1995”/ “Sabado"), a book documenting their successful reunion concert in 2009, and merchandised items bearing the band’s name and image.

Ely himself, through his own record label, Offshore Music, had overseen various Eraserheads-related projects designed to preserve the band's legacy.

Now 52 and grateful, he has gained a deeper appreciation of the band’s music and its continuing influence on Filipino listeners.

He said, “Another thing I’m grateful for in doing this show is the fact that I can be, sort of, be a fan of the music,” said

“Because most of the time, we’re just dishing it out, working.

“But dahil it’s been a long time since we’ve done this, so it’s good to parang to step back and kung puwede nga lang maging audience to appreciate the lights…

“As a matter of fact, we requested to put some monitors in front of us para we can also enjoy the show. But siyempre mahirap yun kasi we have to perform.

“So I’m grateful that, for the first time, I can start enjoying the music and be a fan of our music.”

To this, Marcus joked, “Ang suwerte nung audience na mapapanood nila kami live, kasi kami hindi pa namin napapanood sarili namin ng live.”

Buddy thanked the fans for keeping the band’s songs relevant, never mind if the Eraserheads is no longer an active group for two decades now.

Some of the songs that the Eraserheads popularized during their reign include “Ligaya,” “Pare Ko,” “Alapaap,” “Magasin,” “Torpedo,” “Huwag Mo Nang Itanong,” “Spoliarium,” to name only a few.

Reflecting, Buddy continued, “It’s not every day that a lot of people enjoy the music that a band makes, much less this band. It makes it all the more special,”

“We have music appreciators who’ve grown with us. Some have grown up, some have grown older, some have families.

"Their kids are listening to our music and some kids' grandkids are listening to our music. We’re really grateful.

"Ako, I’m happy kasi I have kids who’d come up to me and say, ‘Hey, I like this song, I like the bass line you did on that, I like the guitar part on this song.’


“So if that means that our music creates more Filipino fans for OPM, then I’m really happy.”


Francis Lumen, the concert’s co-producer, revealed that plans to bring the Eraserheads overseas are also in the works for next year.

He beamed, “It’s something that we are so proud of and, of course, we want to showcase Filipino talents and Eheads is a legendary band.

“I think many Filipinos abroad can relate to it and it’s gonna be nostalgic for them to see them, and it will be a way to show Filipino pride.”

A documentary about the reunion concert is also being mapped out, giving fans an intimate look at the nitty-gritty of producing Huling El Bimbo from start to finish.

The producers are looking to screen the documentary in cinemas and various streaming platforms including Amazon and Netflix.

According to Francis, “So there’s a lot of byproducts to this event and it is to showcase the creativeness and the Filipino talent."

Tickets to the Eraserheads reunion concert, Huling El Bimbo, are still available at SM Tickets outlets and online.

Those residing overseas can watch the show on ABS-CBN’s streaming platform iWantTFC.

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The iconic quartet of (from left) Buddy Zabala, Marcus Adoro, Ely Buendia, and Raymund Marasigan, collectively known as the Eraserheads, is only a few weeks away from reuniting on stage for its "Huling El Bimbo" concert.
PHOTO/S: Ant Savvy Creatives
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