The Juan de la Cruz band arguably started the “Pinoy Rock” movement with the song “Himig Natin” (in English, “Our Music“). The group which became popular (there were other musicians who at one time or another became members of it) was composed of Joey “Pepe” Smith, Wally Gonzalez and Mike Hanopol.
Mike Hanopol, an old acquaintance dating back to the mid 70’s (his younger brother, Teddy Hanopol – also a musician now based in Germany – was my high school contemporary) hails from Carigara, Leyte and Iloilo. He’s more popularly known as one of Pinoy Rock’s icons – penning such hits as “Himig Natin” and “(Laki sa Layaw) Jeproks” among others.
Mike was back in Tacloban City and had a concert last Saturday, December 01 at the Tacloban Convention Center. As he himself proudly declared – he’s no longer the Pinoy Rock icon of yore; he now calls himself the “Rock of Salvation.” He is now a music evangelist.
Pepe Smith once in a while resurfaces, appearing in the alternative rock music scene. He was with several Manila rock bands which had a concert in Tacloban City February this year.
Joey “Pepe” Smith still rocking, at the back in photo above, wearing a cowboy hat, together with members of rock bands from Manila on their way to Tacloban. Photo taken February 16, 2007 at the SuperCat Terminal in Ormoc City.