Life! Music

Get to know 10 of Cebu’s notable drummers

By: - May 10, 2024

CEBU CITY, Philippines–In the vibrant music scene of Cebu, there are drummers who stand out to become the heartbeat of its musical landscape. 

With their rhythmic prowess and dynamic performances, these drummers not only provide the backbone of the music but also elevate live performances to unforgettable experiences. 


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FACES OF CEBU: Jimmy Ricks Grajo, 22, rising musician

Who are among Cebu’s noted drummers these days?

As we celebrate International Drum Month this May, let’s dive into the world of Cebu’s top drummers and get to know more about these rhythm masters of the Queen City of the South.

These are some of Cebu’s more notable drummers:

Eimer “Eimstar” Tabasa


Eimer “Eimstar” Tabasa

Eimer “Eimstar” Tabasa, 44, is a drummer from Talisay City, Cebu who plays for famous Bisrock bands Missing Filemon and Lovesatellites.

He started playing the drums when he was 16.

“I was a bass player during my highschool days but bass guitar is too big for me that’s why I decided to shift [to playing the drums].

He says he likes to play the drums because he can do his own style.

His favorite genre is new wave and his favorite drummers are the famous Ringo Starr of The Beatles and Raymung Marasigan of the Eraserheads. 

He has a very interesting message to aspiring drummers:

“If you have extra money, buy new sticks and never put a tape on broken sticks ‘coz it will never give you the best sound.”

Nice advice! 

On the  challenges of being a drummer, Tabasa says “Our gears are very expensive and some drummers don’t care and just say, ‘Hey we’re next, can I borrow your gear?”

Mikko Otinen

Cebu drummer

Mikko Otinen. | contributed photo

Mikko Otinen  is the drummer of the band  Ismut Priksyun.

He likes progressive music and started playing because of “necessity.”

“I had to recreate the music I am hearing in my head. And in ancient times, you have to play and record actual drums on actual tape,” he shares.

Inspiration? He says it’s the “voices and sounds going on in my head.”

Mikko says what he likes about the drums is that it  is a lot easier than other  instruments.

This is his message to aspiring drummers:

“Be creative, practice, learn and avoid blame shifting on tools and equipment.”

Dennis “Suakito” Suarez

Dennis Suarez

Dennis “Suakito” Suarez. | contributed photo

Blues and punk rock lover Dennis “Suakito” Suarez is among the big names in Cebu’s drum scene.

He played with noted bands such as Left of Center, Shrapnel, Mea Culpa, and Urbandub.

His current bands are Queen City Crew, UnO, and The Ambassadors.

Suarez started playing the drums when he was 14 years old.

“My older brother inspired me to play the drums and I have a buddy who often invites me to attend their non-Catholic church so I can practice and play the drums,” he shared.

His favorite drummer is American Matt Cameron, who is known for being the drummer of famous rock band Pearl Jam.

Suarez says he likes playing the drums because “It just feels great!”

” It’s like using your body to solve a rhythmic puzzle.”

For aspiring drummers, this is Suakito’s advice:

“You’re about to go out on an exciting journey. As you dig into your passion, remember these three things: practice, learn and practice more.”

Jed Boni ‘Gbox’ Deiparine

Cebu drummers

Jed Boni “Gbox” Deiparine. | contributed photo

One of the more known drummers in Cebu is Jed Boni “Gbox” Deiparine.

Known by many as Gbox, this Cebuano drummer started playing drums when he was 15.

Bands played with include Twinkledudu, Exegesis, Barang, Stray Adventure, Cosmic Chasers, Crooked Symphony, Pipebomblandmines, Trio Amorsiko, and Busking side project.

Now 40 years old, Gbox, who is from Upper Inayawan in Cebu City, is a master of almost all beats but loves New School Punk Rock.

What got him into playing drums?

“As a kid, I was loud and restless while only drums can compensate. I felt in love with it, electrified, and inspired by the critics,” he says.

His inspiration include his supportive wife, his kids, who are also so into music, and his father, Papa Boni, who is a guitar enthusiast.

His favorite drummer is Dennis Suarez of the Ambassadors.

What does he like about playing the drums?

“It speaks emotions that you can’t put into words. You gain a lot of friends. You inspire a lot of people.”

His message to aspiring drummers is to “invest, share your skills, explore and keep falling in love with it.”

Edric Shed

Cebu drummers

Edric Shed . | Contributed photo

Edric Shed is a drummer from Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, who loves rock, alternative rock, hip-hop, progressive metal, and punk beats.

He has played with The Line Divides, Nicholay, WTC11, NECRO ,Groovematics, and many other bands here.

He started playing drums when he was just 6 years old. He is now 35.

“My cousins play in a band, and they presented me with the drums. Every time they had a rehearsal, they allowed me to practice on the kit,” he said on how he got introduced to drumming.

While his inspiration is his family, friends, and God, Shed says his favorite drummers are Taylor Hawkins, Dave Grohl, Tre Cool Aaron Spears, Questlove and Danny Carey.

What does he like about playing the drums?

“I like playing the drums [because I can] explore creativity, let go of energy, and express emotions.”

His message to aspiring drummers: “Keep the beat alive! Remember, practice makes perfect. Feel the beat. Put your heart and soul into every hit.”

Res Fuentes

Res Fuentes drums

Res Fuentes. | contributed photo

Like most good drummers, Res Fuentes is a “Church drummer since birth.”

He plays for The Rapture, Juress, Still and sessions for Cuarenta, Eves Garden, Lui Castillo, among others.

He has done studio works for Room11, Wonggoys (Organic album), Jericho Streegan, Cattski, Lourdes M, and many others.   

This noted Cebuano drummer started playing at around 9 years old.

Fuentes is surrounded by a family of musicians. 

“My family is mostly classically trained musicians. My aunts, uncle and cousins read and write music. My mama and papa plays music also. Our lolo is also a musician. So, it runs in the blood,” he said.

“I learned the piano first because it was required, but eventually, I got enrolled to a music school when I was around 9 or 10 and had drum lessons. And that was it. I played drums for our church. Met a drummer in church named Orly Dela Pena. He trained me well and inspired me to continue my drum journey.”

Of course, Fuentes’ inspiration in playing is “God and my family.”

Asked what he likes about playing the drums, Fuentes said it’s the freedom he feels when playing.
“It’s my freedom. Freedom to express. Freedom to innovate. Freedom to be me.”

His message to aspiring drummers:

“Go out and play with a band. Keep practicing. Practice makes permanent. ”

Jeriel T. Laraño

Jeriel T. Laraño drummer

Jeriel T. Laraño. | Contributed photo

Jeriel Laraño is one of the drummers who played for the church.

In fact, he is the founder of Drum and Bible.

He is known for his stints with Wonggoys and some Vispop artists.

Jeriel started playing young, at 10 years old.

“My aunt is a keyboardist at church and she encouraged me to learn music. She is my inspiration. Growing up, I also watch a lot of Dave Weckl, Tony Royster, and Mike Portnoy videos,” Laraño shared with CDN Digital.

He looks up to local drum icon Michael Alba, who he considers not just his favorite drummer but also his  teacher and mentor.

Jeriel says he likes playing the drums because he is able to express himself.

“It’s also the ‘best seat in the house!” he says.

What are the challenges of being a drummer?

“Practicing! it’s very hard to practice without annoying your neighbor.”

How good is Jeriel? You can check out some of his Youtube videos, particularly one video which shows him playing in a drum god competition.

Oh by the way, he did win a drum god competition.

Brian Rivera

Cebu drummers

Brian Rivera. | contributed photo

Brian Rivera is one of the top, if not the top, reggae drummers in Cebu.

Rivera has played with Selahdub Warriors, CDMC, Rootikal Foundation and Jr. Kilat.

He says passion is what got him into playing drums since he was 17 years old.

His favorite genre is reggae music and he says he likes playing the drums because it “makes me focused and it’s fun.”

Hs favorite drummer is Grammy-winning drummer Courtney “Bam” Diedrick, who tours with Damian Marley.

He urges aspiring drummers to keep on practicing and have the willingness to learn.

Vincent Cuadra

Cebu drummers

Vincent Cuadra. | contributed photo

Vincent Cuadra, 32, is the current drummer of Tremors.

He has also played for Icarus, Perpetual Fear, and False Graveyard.

This metal drummer started playing the drums at 14 years old.

“I started learning drums when I got my first band but I wasn’t the originally the drummer. I learned the basics and some few OPM songs and when my band’s drummer left, I volunteered to fill in the vacant spot,” he said.

He says Green Day’s Tre Cool inspired him to learn the playing the drums but he has a lot of favorite drummers from metal to pop drummers.

“My current favorite drummer is Josean Orta from the band Fit for an Autopsy,” he said.

What are the challenges of being a drummer?

Cuadra says one of the challenges of being a drummer is keeping “on-time” as drummers typically control the feel and the pace of a song.

“The tighter the drummer is, the tighter the band is as a whole.”

He has this message to aspiring drummers:

“Just keep practicing the correct way. Learn the basics and everything else will follow until you find your drumming ‘Identity.’

Cyril Perez Villarante

Cyril Perez Villarante drummer cebu

Cyril Perez Villarante. | contributed photo

Cyril Perez Villarante, 37, plays with Ashtrays to Gaza, Bustin’ Jieber, Bombo Pluto Ova, Cross Three Runs, and Offals.

This Liloan, Cebu native is actually a late bloomer. He started playing the drums at 31, proving it’s never too late to start playing the drums. 

“My fascination with percussion started back when I was still in 6th grade. But I never really got the chance to play the instrument until I got older. It was a band called Nirvana that got me inspired to play the drums.”

Although he likes Nirvana, whose drummer, Dave Grohl, is among the best in the world ever, his favorite drummer is Zach Hill, the drummer of math rock band Hella.

“One thing I think I like the most about playing the drums is that I can beat the heck out of it. Can’t imagine doing that to a guitar or any other instrument for that matter.”

What’s his favorite genre? 

“If there’s such thing as art pop avant-garde experimental electronica, then that would be it. But if that thing does not exist, then I guess i’m gonna stick to triphop as my favorite.”

Villarante also has a message to young drummers out there.

“Capitalize on your curiosity. Research and explore.”

And of course, since he proves that it’s never too late to become a good drummer, he also has this message to the old ones who still want to learn to play the drums.

“There is no such thing as ‘too late.’ Whichever generation you consider yourself to be in, just do everything with passion. Practice, practice, practice and practice some more. Lastly, work on your double strokes and dont forget to stretch.”

Cebu is home to a diverse and talented community of drummers who continue to push the boundaries of rhythm and percussion. These are just some of them. Each drummer brings their own unique flair and personality to the music they create. Together, they form the rhythmic heartbeat of Cebu’s vibrant music scene.

Who’s your favorite Cebuano drummer?

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