Pinoy Rock Icon, Guitarist, Composer, and Storyteller

September 25, 1958 – March 29, 2022

Wolfrando Xavier Guerreva Lavalan Jr., better known as Jun Lopito, was a Pinoy rock icon, legendary guitarist, musician, composer, and storyteller. He was born on September 25, 1958, and died from complications of liver disease on March 29, 2022.

His father was Wolfrando Ilas Lavalan, popularly known as “Lopito”, a comedian and co-host of Tawag ng Tanghalan, a singing-talent search show in the 60s. He used his father’s name, Lopito, onstage and added Jun, as he was his junior.

Jun attended grade school at Don Bosco and continued his studies in Marulas where he immersed in his favorite hobby: planting vegetables. It was his brother-in-law Tony Jalandoni, guitarist of The Downbeats–the country’s leading “combo” at the time– who taught him how to play the guitar. By the time Jun was twelve, he had begun to tag along on the band’s gigs.

In 1982, he became a member of Soka Gakkai International of the Philippines (SGI Philippines) where dedicated his life to faith, practice, and study of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism.

His song “Pure Soul” from the Bhodisattvas album was recognized as the Best Rock Recording by Awit Awards in 1996. In the same year, he was also recognized as the Best Guitarist by NU107 Rock Awards.

He would later on go to play for numerous bands such as Airwaves of Pepe Smith, Sampaguita, Coco Jam, and Anak Bayan II. They played front act for Deep Purple, rubbed elbows with New York Dolls’ Johnny Thunder, and had drinks with Rod Stewart on On Disco. Since 1975, Jun had never stopped playing and creating music. In 2020, he mentored and collaborated with young musicians, releasing BODHI3NMRK under Ely Buendia’s Offshore Music.

“(Filipino) Music will never be the same without him,” says Jun’s sister.

Jun would always tell his friend Liza Putian how in the heyday of the “Gapo Days,” or the Olongapo music scene, when the American base was still in Subic, he was encouraged to continue his career abroad, tempting him to look for a greener pasture. But he had chosen to stay.

Jun always followed his heart.

Before his passing, Jun told Liza how he had returned to gardening and that he mostly spent his days enjoying the company of his rescue dog. He also articulated his great dream: that someday, all of the stories he had shared, and all of the history he had made would be passed on to the future.

Categories: Obituaries

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