Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tacloban’s REO Brothers Band survives through music

The REO Brothers Band perform live at PRIMOS Cuisine and Lounge on Tuesday evenings.
Lead guitar: RJ Otic, Rythm: Raymart Otic, Base: Reno Otic, Drums: Ralph Otic

What happens when a family loses everything during a natural disaster, but never loses hope of survival?  They persevere and catch that glimmer of hope, following their path to a brighter future.  As fate would have it, that glimmer turns out to be a bright star.  And that bright star shines brilliantly on each performance. 

This is the beautiful thing that happened to the “band of brothers” from Tacloban, siblings Reno, RJ, Raymart and Ralph, collectively known as the REO Brothers Band.  They shine brightly on stage, beaming at their audience, enjoying what they loved most … performing great music, rendering each beat with heart and soul.

A Success Story in the Aftermath of Yolanda
Haiyan, locally called Yolanda, is the super typhoon which is pegged to be one of the fiercest in the world, struck the provinces of Leyte, Samar, Palawan, Bohol and other islands, leaving a destruction way beyond our imagination.  It has left thousands dead and thousands more homeless.  After weeks of no decent food, water and clothing, many of the families went on exodus, travelling to different parts of the country, many of them finding their way to Manila. 

The Otic brothers and their father Rey, who lost everything, save for their priceless guitars, decided to take the two-day bus ride to Manila.  What was their only glimmer of hope?  The lone business card that was given to them a couple of years back by a certain Mr. Reynaldo Fuentes.  “It was amazing that they kept my business card and was found in one of the boys’ wallet”, Fuentes enthused. 

The lifeline and mentors. Tom Banguis, Jr., Bobby Caparas, Rannie Raymundo and Reynaldo Fuentes.

Reno, RJ, Raymart, Ralph and their father, Rey, only had their clothes on their backs when they stepped in the Philtranco bus.  Penniless, they promised the bus operator that they will pay their fare as soon as they get a hold of relatives in Manila.  Traveling for two days on candies, biscuits and water, they have finally reached the capital.  Their only lifeline, the business card of Mr. Fuentes, got wet during the typhoon, and it took them another 2 days to have it dried up to decipher the telephone number written on it.  Finally, Fuentes was contacted and he took them in, not to mention that he himself also lost all 3 of his houses in Tacloban.

Everything was a happy blur after that first meeting.  Cramped in a small apartment with 8 people, the boys were just grateful to have found a new home. Fuentes introduced the REO Brothers Band to Mr. Tom Banguis, Jr., who in turn sought Mr. Bobby Caparas, GM at the Primos Cuisine and Lounge.  Like a chain reaction, another co-owner and popular performing artist, Mr. Rannie Raymundo, was summoned to give them a shot to play their music.  “I received a phone call to check out these boys and just listen to their music”, Raymundo reveals. After listening to just a couple of songs, Rannie was floored! The REO Brothers Band was immediately given a spot to perform on the fateful evening of November 28.  And the rest is, as we say, history!  “God has amazing ways to put people together.  It is not by chance that they are here… it is fate”, Raymundo added.

A man for others.  Rannie Raymundo with the REO Brothers Band.

These young men possess amazing talent way beyond their years.  Ages ranging from 19 to 24 years old, they magnificently execute songs from The Beatles, Beachboys, America and other hits of this genre, and later on, transform effortlessly to danceable VST & Co. hits, making their audience get up on their feet. 

The newly-inspired audience volunteered different pledges like a new wardrobe, new instruments, and they were offered bookings that will keep them busy in the next couple of weeks.  Mind you, they do not ask for a talent fee.  They are just happy to play and share their music.

Knowing their journey of survival, it is up to the audience to share what they think is proper.  During that first night at Primos, a donation box was passed around.  At the end of the evening, they were able to collect close to Php 37k in cash for the boys and their family.  It was a blessed night, and due to its success, the band was invited to come back and perform again the following evening.

PRIMOS Cuisine and Lounge offers excellent food and entertainment.

Primos Cuisine and Lounge

All of the nine business partners at the 10 PM Entertainment Corporation were one in giving the REO Brothers Band a regular spot every Tuesday evening at PRIMOS Cuisine and Lounge. The term PRIMO means cousin in Spanish, another description of brotherhood of sorts, is the coming together of good friends, of amigos and amigas, of primos and primas. When we are in the company of our cousins, more often than not, we are in a very festive mood, accompanied with good food and music.  Speaking of good food, this cozy resto-bar offers a menu of mouth-watering dishes, appetizers and desserts.  Primos is also open for lunch starting at 11 AM.

Awesome entertainment happens every night with the best live bands and artists in town, like Puresound, Ynstynk Band, Filipinas, Eumee with Silverbox, and Brown, Inc.  Sharing his passion for music, the multi-talented world-class artist Rannie Raymundo, jams with these fantastic performers. Truly, Primos is today’s ultimate entertainment venue.  There is no other place like it!

Primos Cuisine and Lounge is located at The Hub, Greenfields District, Mandaluyong City. 
Tel.  584-2908.