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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 8, 2015

Pinoy Rock Pioneer Mike Hanopol Now A Jewish Rabbi But Comes Back As A Rocker In 'Legends Rock' Concert At Hard Rock Cafe On May 14

MIKE HANOPOL is one of the pioneers of Pinoy Rock in the 70s who’s best known for such hit songs as “Laki sa Layaw Jefroks”, “Balong Malalim”, No Touch”, “Mr. Kengkoy”, “Kayabangan” and “Beep Beep”. For the first time, he reveals that he is also the lone voice of the Hagibis and composed almost all their hit songs like “Katawan” and “Legs”. “The songs became popular first on radio and Boss Vic del Rosario thought of putting up a group to sing them,” he says. “At first, we got name singers and actors to form a group, pero ang lalaki ng mga ulo so Vic said, kumuha na lang tayo ng unknowns. Dun nga nakuha sina Sonny Parsons and Bernie Fineza.”

He left the country in 1982 with his wife Herminia and only daughter Michelle to try living in Florida and New York in the U.S.A. His daughter is now a doctor in Denver, Colorado, married with a son and a daughter.

“I continued performing in various communities there but at the same time, I’m also searching for the truth. Nag-stay ako sa seminary for two years seeking God. Napunta ako sa maraming bansa and visited many prisons. In all of them, napansin ko, ang prisoners come from different religions, both Christian and Muslim, but wala kahit isang Jew. So I studied Judaism. I found my answers in the Jewish religion. Nalaman ko ring ang Hanopol pala, originally, Russian Jews from Kiev, Russia. I now serve as a rabbi in our own synagogue in Antipolo. I took rabbinical studies for four years in Jerusalem at kulang pa ako ng one year to be officially a rabbi, but I’ve been teaching Judaism for ten years now. When I started in Antipolo, we’re about 60 people, but now, 10 na lang, kasi it’s a very strict lifestyle. You have to have personal conviction to lead a clean life sincerely and honestly. Maraming hindi makasunod doon.”

But he still has not forgotten that he’s a musician. On Thursday, May 14, he will have a concert, “Legends Rock”, at the Hard Rock Cafe in Makati, 8 PM. He’ll perform with other rock legends like Wally Gonzalez of Juan de la Cruz Band, Resty Fabunan of Maria Cafra, Rene Garcia of Hotdog, with Jo Awayan as host and special guest performer, the Ammo Band, and new singer Mugen Terazona doing the front act. It’s produced by Bing Palad Apolinario and Willie Rodriguez and presented by Listening in Style, Power Dimension, Via Mare, Vandierm, Cafe Gredients, Javita Coffee, Jim Beam, Jetti and Yek Yeu.