Dennis Fabunan, who lived his rock and roll dream with Maria Cafra, passes away

Rick Olivares

Posted at Jan 31 2023 07:19 PM

Maria Cafra

MANILA -- It is a great rock and roll story.

The son sees his father’s legendary band as a child. As he grows older, he dreams of not only playing alongside his father and his uncle who was also part of the legendary trio. The band breaks up and then upon his youthful insistence and passion, they reunite. A second coming as they say.

That is the story of Dennis Fabunan and his rock and roll dream.

He was too young to absorb or even fully grasp Pinoy rock and then the punk and New Wave movement. He did get to see his dad’s band, but they were on their way out. Or so they thought.

By the late 2000s, after his father Jun had passed away, Dennis reasoned, pushed, intimated, and inspired his uncle Resty to reunite the classic Pinoy rock trio Maria Cafra.

As Resty recalled in the vernacular, “Dennis’ enthusiasm was contagious.”

Thus, there was that triumphant return concert at Bistro RJ followed by a second, a third, and so on. The band was rocking like it was 1978. Furthermore, the son was living his rock and roll dream.

However, sometimes, life throws you a curve ball when you least expect it. After a six-year stint with Maria Cafra, Dennis found himself doing something else.

He took to the stage one last time with the band during a show at 70s Bistro in September 2022. But that was it. A cameo appearance as the band had moved on with a new bassist.

And yet, the two surviving original members have only good memories. And they acknowledge that it was Dennis' insistence that has gotten the band to its second life. One that will see them releasing only their third album by February 10 -- 33 years after the last one. And the band is revving up for a lot of performances. 

“Siguro kung hindi dahil sa pagkakulit na magsama-sama kami ulit ay hindi nangyari ang mga ito,” reflected drummer Rolly Averilla.

Even in the early 2000s, before his Maria Cafra gambit, Dennis invited Rolly, his father, and some others to form a band and gig in Korea. That was the plan until his father passed away.

The new band turned into a legacy project with the reformation of Maria Cafra.

His uncle Resty lamented the loss of his nephew. 

“Ang bata pa (Dennis was 41) at hindi pa natupad lahat ang pangarap.”


But in that short window of 2011-17, Dennis Fabunan got to live that dream no matter how short. He took to the stage and performed the Maria Cafra classics “Kumusta Mga Kaibigan,” “Exodus,” “Buhay Gapo” and many others.

He shared stages with Joey “Pepe” Smith, Mike Hanopol, Lolita Carbon, and many others as he literally lived and followed his father’s footsteps. That’s something others can only dream about.

Rest in peace, Dennis Fabunan. You earned your place in Maria Cafra’s history.