Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Missing Filemon embraces the changing of seasons

Karla Rule - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The iconic sound is unmistakable, with the band already synonymous with BisRock as they proudly represent their mother tongue. Spending the past years singing songs from home, the four-member group has been through a long journey filled with music and memories. This time around, the final destination might just be right around the corner.

Founded in 2002, Cebu’s OG rockstars would know a thing or two about change. The magic of Missing Filemon lies on Eimer Tabasa on drums, Ronron Capio on bass, Gumer Entero on guitar, and Insoy Niñal with the vocals and guitar. Without them, beloved hits like “Sine Sine,” “Inday,” “Kawanangan,” among others, would not have been born.

In an interview with The FREEMAN, Missing Filemon frontman Insoy Niñal shared how the band has grown from a group of artists into a solid family.

“The band has lasted this long because the members know their place. We have this kind of division of labor where a member takes care of this, another takes care of that. We can suggest but we make sure we respect that,” said the singer-songwriter.

Like any relationship, familiarity has two faces. When you’ve been by each other’s side for as long as Missing Filemon’s members have, there comes a time when you either rely or rebel against routine.

“We’re very close in the band. The beauty in working with each other is that there’s less words now, less arguments, because we can more or less read each other’s mind already,” Niñal quipped. “The downside is that it can become boring, and the familiarity and the routine can be annoying sometimes. Some days we feel like doing the group hug, other days we feel like killing each other.”

Despite having throes of fans to perform for, nothing beats the feeling of coming home to the people who mean the most to you. When asked how they manage their respective families with the time spent on the road outside of work, Niñal highlights the importance of understanding and pasalubong.

“I’m married to somebody who is a fan of my music and my writing. That solves half of the problem. She understands my crazy schedule on the road with the band. If she has time, she tags along, but mostly she is working or she stays home with the kids. It’s the same with the rest of the band. This is work. They know that. Just don’t forget to bring pasalubong.”

When his calendar is free from performances, Niñal makes it a point to be with family. Not knowing when his next gig will be nor the next time he’ll be back home, the father of two makes the most of the time he spends with his wife Rei, and sons Ulan and Buhawi. He doesn’t mind helping the boys with homework and preparing them for school the following day.

“The band also makes sure our kids are friends,” he continued. “So when there’s a special occasion, birthdays for example, we bring our kids to the party where they get to know each other, like they’re Missing Filemon Bulilit Version.”

Exciting times are coming, despite the band not focusing on making new music at the moment. Setting aside a portion of their talent fees, Missing Filemon has found themselves building a home for their little musical family through Eskina Tambayan ni Filemon, a bar the band started that’s nicely tucked in Talisay City.

While there aren’t new tracks in the pipeline, fans can take comfort in the fact that all of Missing Filemon’s old and latest music are still available for them. Eskina Tambayan ni Filemon is also a place where music and beer lovers can come home to, the same way Missing Filemon can always count on their families to welcome them after spending much time sharing themselves to the world through music.

“Besides, it’s time for younger bands to shine. So nothing much in that department. It’s sad, but let’s just say we have different sets of priorities now individually. We’re not sure what we’re getting ourselves into with this project but we’re pretty excited. In the end, it’s still the same rock ‘n roll thing for us,” he said.

It seems change is not something to fear, but rather a force to respect and once you accept that, in comes a sort of peace and confidence that will eventually leave very little and even no room for anxiety. In the past years, it isn’t only Missing Filemon who has embraced the changing of the seasons, but also the people around them.

“There is something about change that amazes us. As the band gets older, the audience gets younger. We have high school, college students going to our gigs. These kids were still in short pants when we started,” he pointed out.

But there is something just as remarkable as change – and that is truth. For any artist, cheering faces and concert venues will vary throughout the years, but it is the message you put out there and the truth in the music that cannot be so easily shaken.

“I think it’s the songs’ message. We sing about friendship, love, relationships,” Niñal muses. “These themes are universal, other artists use them too. But maybe it’s the way we say it in our songs. I really don’t know.”


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