Pinoy School of Rock makes waves

John Paul "JP" Tanchanco  -- Tha Good Life

Posted at Nov 20 2017 02:26 AM

Good times and good vibes filled the space at Kahuna Jupiter St., Makati recently as rock and roll teachers, students and guests gathered music friends and fans to a rocky horror show. I had the pleasure to join the festivities and find out more about these next generation Pinoy rockers! 

Kahuna is a popular hot spot in La Union. Locals, tourists and surfer dudes have been going to Kahuna since 2009 to satisfy their urge to enjoy life and commune with the seas. 

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Chad Parker chronicles his first time surfing the South China Sea at Kahuna resort in La Union 

According to Kahuna owner Darcy Lalonde, Kahuna Makati and its Rock Academy aims to strengthen the Kahuna brand as a tourist hot spot. 

Sid Buan, Kahuna head honcho Darcy Lalonde, JP Tanchanco, Jake Yu Dy

"We opened Kahuna Makati in March 2016. This is a further extension of the Kahuna brand of Kahuna Resort and Spa, based in San Juan, La Union," Lalonde says. 

"Kahuna Resort has been open since 2009, this has been a great journey in La Union creating a tourism hot spot in Northern Luzon. We pride ourselves as a world-class facility with international-level services and food. We are proud to say we have become a premier and well-known resort in the Philippines and created a great buzz in San Juan, La Union as being the first upscale resort to set up in this area," he adds. 


Kahuna Rock Academy 

One of Kahuna's greatest buzz is their Rock Academy in Makati that has gathered people of all ages to learn rock and roll from the heart with some music industry teachers led by Reklamo's female drummer Sid Buan. 

Rock teachers Sid Buan and Jake Yu Dy with the Manas Family in their garb supporting their son Gavin who performed the drums for the show

"Kahuna Academy, which is passionately led by Sid Buan, was set up to give kids and adults a chance to love music, and learn from some of the great local Philippines musicians. We are very proud to work with Sid and Jake and the Manila music scene to share the love and passion in music. Giving students a chance to learn and perform in a true rock setting," says Lalone. 

He shares that Kahuna in Makati has been a perfect place for the school. There will be upcoming shows and packages for the Rock Academy also at Kahuna resort in La Union. According to him, performing live in an authentic rock and roll venue is an important part of their curriculum. 

"We currently have Kahuna Academy of Rock Live Shows 4 times a year and we do hope to set up some future sessions at the resort. We think this would be a great opportunity for the students, teachers and the experience something that memories are based on," he says. 

The Big Kahuna Darcy Lalone and his Philippine Kiss band opening the party's main show

I had a chat with Rock Academy teacher Sid Buan to understand more about their method of teaching music and rock and roll. It seems their unique method has become a more effective tool to groom artists and develop children's musical and social personalities. 

"We encourage them to play what they want. If they play with heart, that's rock and roll! Music requires a certain amount of passion and heart to pull it off.  We can only suggest songs if they ask us, but the song choice has to come from them. I don't think they would ever give a performance much dedication if they didn't like what they're playing. We are lucky to have students that love what they're playing," says Buan. 

Rock On, kids of all ages

The Kahuna Rock Academy offers classes for kids and the kids at heart. 

"My youngest is 7 years old, he started lessons with me when he was 4. The good thing about teaching music is it attracts and connects people from all generations. I teach kids, teenagers, and even adults. My oldest student is around 50 years old. There's no age limit! The best time to start learning music is now," says Buan. 

I found out that Darcy Lalone's own kids are also enrolled in the Rock Academy. His own experience is a testament to their program. 

Bassist and teacher Jake Yu Dy performing with his band Yami

"We believe music can be learned by young and old alike! We have kids as young as 5 and some as old as 60 learning music, having fun and sharing the passion. I personally believe that kids at a young age have less barriers and fears, and when they can learn to Rock and Roll, they create the passion for a lifetime.... Sid Buan and our Academy of Rock not only focuses on the technical teaching of music, but also the fun of playing great songs and just having fun. My own children took more traditional music training, and we were, frankly, turned off by the approach. At Kahuna Academy of Rock, our students quickly play songs and we create performers, not only for music, but to increase the confidence and life skills to make our students create a base to leverage in life. To share memories of a lifetime with students, parents, kids and the whole family," says Lalone. 

Buan further discussed that their approach is very personal, which makes the boring technical music stuff more palatable. 

"We offer note reading, theory, application and many more. Our lessons with the kids are very personal. I apply a specific technique for every student for every lesson as each one has their strengths and challenges. The main goal is to effectively empower each student with the discipline and skills all while having fun," says Buan. 


Teachers who Rock

Bassist Jake Dy and guitarist Joko Reantaso are among those in their line-up of teachers who help make the this local school of rock a success. 

"I have been playing music for 10 years. I used to be in this girl band called Odessa and we were signed with Viva Records around 9 years ago. I've been teaching drums since 2013, and I took the Rockschool UK exam 3 years ago to further knowledge myself when it comes to teaching. I now play for the band Reklamo," he says. 

Rock Academy teacher Joko Reantaso sporting a Fender Telecaster playing with his band Mean Jay who opened their set with an impressive John Petrucci number

"Our guitar teacher is Joko Reantaso of Mean Jay, Holmes, and NIU. He has been playing professionally for 3 years. As young as he is, he is an endorser of Fender Guitars and Yupangco Music. Having Joko in our team is great because he is an inspiration to our students," says Buan. 

"Jake Yu Dy is our resident John Paul Jones, bass teacher and an awesome second chair when I'm conducting drum classes. Bass and drum going hand in hand with each other musically is extremely important. Part of our application curriculum is getting our drum students to jam with a bass player, get a feel for it and be familiar with the sound, and vice versa. Jake plays for the bands Yami and The Jackal," Buan adds. 


Rocky Horror Show 

The party featured a fun-filled jamming performance with different students doing performances from different classic rock acts like ACDC, Motley Crew, Nirvana, Metallica and many more. 

The highlight of the night was when the Big Kahuna himself and his band Philippine Kiss opened the stage for the more seasoned performers. 

Project Materia doing their Final Fantasy expressions

Noteworthy performances by the bands Project Materia, Madeon, Yami, Mean Jay and Mr. Bones and Boneyard Circus complemented the enthusiasm and good vibrations of the crowd dressed up in their rocky horror garb! 

Project Materia did their unique renditions of Final Fantasy soundtracks. Madeon opened with a fun cover of the Ray Parker classic theme to the movie hit  "Ghost Busters". Yami, the band of Rock Academy teacher Jake Yu Dy, gave us a glimpse of their own style of progressive rock expressions. Mean Jay, led by 18-year-old guitar prodigy and Rock Academy teacher Joko Reantaso, got everyone singing to his guitar chops with an instrumental version of Purple Rain. The event culminated with an energetic set by Mr. Bones and the Boneyard circus that featured a surreal interlude with friends in their Adams Family attire leading the crowd to sing the theme song to the cult classic ! 

Madeon performing in their ghost busters jumpsuits 

Music and Pop Art tourism in Makati

Numerous reports have noted  Barangay Poblacion in Makati City's growth in tourism and night spots. Several establishment owners I've talked to have compared the growth in Barangay Poblacion to the golden era of Malate's arts and culture night life. Darcy, who used to own the bar Heckle and Jeckle, located within the same vicinity as Jupiter Street and Barangay Poblacion, is positive about the booming growth of tourists, restobars, party hostels and music spots in the area. 

"Since moving to the Philippines more than 18 years ago we have seen the Makati area change greatly, becoming a thriving cultural international city. We have seen the Jupiter area thrive in the 90s. It flattened out for some time with the development of BGC [Bonifacio Global City], but now we see a rejuvenation. I believe it would be fantastic to see this area become a hot spot for night life and showing some of the great Philippine talent, food and entertainment. We hope that the local barangay would see this opportunity to develop this area into a world-class entertainment district, and we believe the great Philippine music industry could drive this," he says. 

A performance by Mr. Bones and te Boneyard Circus


More to come

Despite challenges and shifts in the local recording music industry, it was very refreshing to see bright futures. New ideas of opportunities for our local talent to spread their wings and help our tourism grow would pop out in my mind while I enjoyed jamming and hanging out with the kids and teachers of Kahuna Rock Academy. 

So, I'm capping this with the perfect message from iconic words taken from the outro of the Kiss version of the song "God Gave Rock and Roll to You": 

"You have been given a gift. You have been given a role and this role's name is ... Rock and Roll..."

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"God Gave Rock and Roll to You" is a 1973 song by the band Argent covered by Kiss in 1991, ULE-GFA-SOA-CEB-GSF-RRO featured on the soundtrack to the movie Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, and was later included on Kiss' 1992 album Revenge. The single was also the first to feature Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley sharing lead vocals since "I" from 1981's Music from "The Elder".

Kahuna Makati continues to promote music on most Friday and Saturday nights, with their Rock school happening on Sundays. 

Check out their FB page https://www.facebook.com/KahunaMakati/ for their upcoming events and other packages open for families, groups and corporate offices. 


John Paul C. Tanchanco is a travel, food, party, film and music aficionado. He is also an economist, businessman, MYX/Awit award-winning media producer and Kala guitarist.

"ThaGoodLife" is a blog about pop culture, travel, music, entertainment, business, food, luxury, clubbing, shopping and events.

For questions, features and comments, e-mail him at jptanchanco@yahoo.com or tanchancotrimediaproductions@yahoo.com