Eraserheads: Nostalgia, reunion make concert more unforgettable

2nd update: July 12, 2023, 11:00 A.M.
Updated: July 12, 203, 6:55 A.M.

Eraserheads meet actress ‘Paraluman’ after 27 years

By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

Filipinos love nothing more than nostalgia and reunions.

 An epic combination of both gave concert-goers in Hamilton, Ontario goosebumps when the Eraserheads reunited with the actress in their video after 27 years.

The 11,400-strong crowd at the First Ontario Centre in Hamilton on June 16, clapped and cheered when Eraserheads bass player Buddy Zabala announced before they played “Ang Huling El Bimbo” that “Paraluman” was around.

“We have Paraluman with us tonight. Can you please shine a light on our friend, Wena Basco?” Zabala said while a montage of scenes from the song’s video were flashed on stage.

Like the seasoned theatre actress that she is, Basco took a bow and blew kisses to the band. The former Philippine actress  has since been living and working in Canada for decades and has not been in touch with band members Zabala, Ely Buendia, Marcus Adoro, and Raymund Marasigan until the  June 16 performance as part of their US and Canada tour.

Theatre actress Wena Basco takes a bow and blows a kiss to the members of Eraserheads as they acknowledge her presence at the concert venue. (photo grabbed from Ryan Orlanda’s Youtube)

“Before and after the MTV, I played a lot of characters or roles. But Ang Huling El Bimbo has had the widest reach because of the fame of the Eheads and the unforgettable MTV. So I am really grateful that (Director) Auraeus and the Eheads chose me to play the part. I did not expect that we’d still be talking about “kamukha mo si Paraluman” 27 years later!,” Basco told


Basco and the Eraserheads go a long way back since being schoolmates in the University of the Philippines. They had worked in the original Filipino rock musical, “Manhid”, in 1991 where the band played some original songs while Basco was one of the actors as well as the Production Manager and Company Manager.

As Company Manager of UP TROPA Experimental Company, Basco said she met the Eraserheads when they were still starting as a band and worked in theatre plays while performing in their earliest gigs.

“I would say that Tropa members were also their very earliest followers and fans. We really followed them when we had extra money from our meager “baon” (allowance) para makabayad ng cover charge for Eheads’ gigs,” she recalls.

Auraeus Solito, the founder and Artistic Director of UP TROPA, was chosen to direct the MTV for Ang Huling El Bimbo and the members of UP TROPA contributed to the production of the video with ideas, inputs and work behind the scenes. Solito picked Basco to play the female lead in the MTV.

International Viewer’s Choice Awards for Asia

The music video won for the Eraserheads the International Viewer’s Choice Awards for Asia at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, USA.

It now has 37 million views on Youtube since it was uploaded 13 years ago by Vevo.

With an impressive list of acting credits in her name, Basco humbly says, “no one recognizes me as the girl in El Bimbo!” when asked about her experience.

However, she is really happy to share in the greatness of the song with her family.

“That’s my Mom!”, Basco’s daughter screamed when Buddy announced  “Paraluman…her name is Wena Basco”.  A younger daughter plays drums and bass guitar. But she didn’t know much about me and my theatre life, and the incredible fame of the Eheads. So she said, “Mom, this is my first concert. We went through the backdoor and this famous band called you on stage. How am I going to watch another concert!?” I thought that was very funny,” Basco shared with PCN.

Wena Basco shares the memorable night with (from left) her brother Rodel, sister-in-law Jean, her husband and daughters Z and Ina. (contributed photo)

When the video was released, Basco already left the Philippines to play with Quebec’s Le Theatre Parminou and was on tour in Canada as an actress.

“I only heard about the success of the MTV from brief international calls with my family,” she shared.

Movie and real life

Philippine media outlets picked up the story of the friends’ reunion in the concert,  highlighting  the fact that  while the character in the MTV had a sad life that ended in a tragic death, the actress in real life had a different story.

After performing in Canada, she felt welcomed here and made her think of living in Canada one day. She and her family decided to settle in Canada for good in 2010. Basco, who holds a degree in Psychology and has an MBA, is currently an NGO worker fighting for human rights, children’s rights, children’s education, and healthcare in developing countries.

A beautiful parallel is about the actual success of Ang Huling El Bimbo compared with how it started out.

She admitted that during the shoot of the MTV, their goal was to produce one for a hit song for Eraserheads but they had to work with limited funds. It was shot in the director’s home and some characters were played by his neighbors.

“Making MTVs back then was a special thing. And with Auraeus as the director, the expectation was that it has to be very very good and different. But we were also on a very tight budget. We had to finish all the shots in two days. I remember that the house of Auraeus where we shot the MTV was filled with people. The energy was very positive, fast-paced. The creative team was discussing alternative ways to shoot a scene, and just like that – the creatives would come up with a brilliant shot! There was no shot wasted. I think many shots were “take 1 or 2 lang,” she added.

Broke records


Aside from acknowledging her on stage, Basco met the band members backstage.

Basco said seeing the band was really “an unforgettable mini-reunion” and the same show made history for Eraserheads.

The Eraserheads broke records as the first Filipino performers who gathered the biggest crowd in Canada,” said Kre8 Corporation event strategist Rosary Escano in a report by

“The concert in Hamilton brought in fans from all over Ontario as well as Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and the U.S.,” Escano said,  adding that some were not yet even born when the Eraserheads started.

“Eraserheads is really an iconic band. It’s not just about their songs. It’s not about the group because it represents kasi being a Filipino. It also represents the stories of Filipinos. People go there for nostalgia,” she added.

Basco couldn’t agree more.

“Fans were touched by the song in so many different ways. Some think the song is the story of their lives. Ely’s lyrics are so simple, but they mirrored life, love, tragedy, drama. Some learned to play the guitar through El Bimbo. Some talk about the video itself and interpret the shots from that video!,” she added.


The dream scene from the music video shows Wena Basco dancing with Eraserheads frontman Ely Buendia. (screen grab from Youtube)

The song is about an unreciprocated love by a young boy to a girl who taught him how to dance the “El Bimbo.”

In the dream scene of the video, Basco dances with each member of the band before she mouthed “Ang Huling El Bimbo.”

When asked if she had a crush on or had a favourite of the four, she teases with a “yes.”

Aside from the fame of the song and its MTV, Ang Huling El Bimbo is also the title of the award-winning musical that has staged more than 100 shows since its premiere in 2018. It had sold-out reruns in March 2019 and July 2019. When it was streamed in social media, it raised more than Php 12 million in donations for ABS-CBN Foundation and garnered 7 million views in 48 hours.

So with all these, what else can still be done with the song in the future?

“Someday, I hope a producer would remaster the original 8-minute, full-length video and show it again. Maybe sa 30th year?,” Basco added wishfully.

Related reading:

CONCERT: Eraserheads’ ‘Ang Huling El Bimbo’


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