From left: Herbert Hernandez, Maysh Baay, Bon Sundiang and Buddy Zabala
Eighteen years after its release, the mellow pop-rock song “Torete” by the band Moonstar88 remains popular even to this generation’s young music fans and singers.
Moira dela Torre, for instance, covered it last year for the romantic comedy “Love You to the Stars and Back.” The hit single is currently at the top spot of Billboard Philippines’ Catalog Chart (for songs at least three years old), and remains one of those tunes almost every aspiring guitarist learns early on.
For Moonstar88 lead singer, Maysh Baay, the enduring quality of “Torete” can be attributed to its accessible and no-fuss structure. “The formula of the lyrics is honest, organic. The chords and arrangement are simple,” Maysh told the Inquirer recently. “And most of us can relate and has experienced the story of the song.”
The group, which was formed back in 1999, had undergone lineup changes throughout the years. But still, its current members—Maysh, Buddy Zabala (bass), Herbert Hernandez (guitar), Bon Sundiang (drums)—remain active on the scene.
“That the group works as a team is a big factor. We trust each other and other people—producers, engineers, directors and, of course, the fans,” Herbert said. “We maximize what we have; we ask for help for the things we don’t have.”
Maysh echoed Herbert’s sentiments, stressing that the team indeed operates “like a family.” “There’s the passion and hunger for new music and performing. We have a good dynamic, we complement each other,” she said of the group, which was one of the honorees at last year’s Alta Media Icon Awards being given by the University of Perpetual Help.
To show their gratitude to the fans—fondly called “Moonstareros”—the band recently released a special edition “Torete” shirt to commemorate the song’s 18th anniversary.
Herbert likened Moonstar88’s ongoing musical journey as a “marathon.” “We never stopped running—not as fast as some of our contemporaries, but we never stopped doing music. The band evolved consistently,” he related, adding that the group had veered away from following trends.
“Hindi kami nakiuso. We do what we love. Ever since, hindi nauso ang Moonstar88 kaya hindi rin ito nalalaos,” he pointed out.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.