Pinoy pop

BINI members shine in first live solo performances at La Union show

Gelo Gonzales

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BINI members shine in first live solo performances at La Union show

BINI poses on the stage after their performance in Alpas, La Union, Thursday, May 30

Gelo Gonzales/Rappler

BINI caps off the summer of Pantropiko rightfully in one of the country's surfing capitals by showcasing each member's individual singing abilities, covering OPM classics

LA UNION, Philippines – It’s a known fact that some of the things that fans have come to love about OPM girl group BINI are their strong harmonic singing and well-executed group choreography. 

But for at least one night, at their La Union show, Thursday, May 30, the eight members had to go at it solo, with just the accompaniment of a live band, at a setting that had a vibe similar to a bar gig in the metro rather than a traditional P-pop stage. 

It was also a relatively more intimate setup, with an audience size in the hundreds, compared to their recent live stages in the thousands. 

The girls’ solo numbers punctuated that vibe, with each one momentarily dropping their traditional designations as main dancer or main vocalist, to be their very own frontwoman, picking songs from iconic acts like Eraserheads and Kitchie Nadal. 

The usually cheeky Maloi looked most comfortable in the rockstar role, and got into the song emotionally, and owned it, giving justice to the classic tune “Huwag Na Huwag Mong Sasabihin” written by whom she called “the one, the only Kitchie Nadal,” professing her love for the singer-songwriter. 

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Jhoanna picked just the right song to match her high energy, Rivermaya’s “Kisapmata.” The BINI leader has also done some theater work, playing Eds, one of the main characters in 2023’s Tabing Ilog: The Musical, and there was some of that energy at play in the La Union show. “Alam mo ‘yung feeling na minahal ka naman, tapos biglang nawala? Ang sakit ‘no?” Jhoanna said as she introduced the song (You know the feeling that you were loved, but then they disappeared? It hurts, right?). 

Amusingly, in one moment, the member let a wayward moth settle on her finger almost theatrically, before blowing it away (“Nakikijoin siya eh!”) (It wants to join!) barely missing a beat.

Sheena, the group’s main dancer, couldn’t hold in her need to dance. At one point during her performance of Moonstar 88’s “Torete,” she did a little twirl, and a little squiggly arm dance – before suddenly remembering that “Torete” doesn’t have choreography, promptly waving off the audience amused by her antics. 

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BINI Sheena at Alpas, La Union, Thursday, May 30. Photo by Gelo Gonzales/Rappler

Stacey, known as the group’s “princess,” leaned into the said personality with a light number, a sweet rendition of “Ako Na Lang,” a 2011 pop hit by singer-songwriter Zia Quizon.  

And then there’s Aiah, who suddenly transformed from Golden Retriever to a werewolf when, out of nowhere, she growled and screamed  “La Union, make some noise!” and ran and circled the stage wildly, like a metal vocalist riling up the crowd – except she wasn’t about to sing a Greyhoundz or Slipknot tune, she was going to sing a ‘Heads classic, “Ang Huling El Bimbo.” 

The running enthusiast, off-stage and apparently on-stage too, afterwards said “Sorry if nabigla kayo sa pasigaw ko beautiful people of La Union!” (Sorry if I surprised you with my screaming, beautiful people of La Union!)

BINI fans have seen the members’ individual personalities in TikTok videos and other meme-fied pieces of content online, but for fans at the event, seeing how their favorite members perform individually was yet another way to get to know them more – from their song choices to how they performed their songs to how they handle being vulnerable on the stage.

Some fans online also comment whether an album with solo covers may be a good idea to put out down the line.

On the so-called “nonchalant” line as opposed to the “OA” members already mentioned above (Gen Z currently has an obsession with categorizing themselves as either the quiet, reserved “nonchalant” type or the loud, extroverted “OA” type) are Mikha, Gwen, and Colet. 

Colet, the group’s main vocalist along with Maloi, let her voice do the talking as she did the only fully acoustic song of the night, with her cover of the OPM classic, IAXE’s “Ako’y Sa’yo, Ika’y Akin”. 

While Colet’s already one of the top singers in the group, she said after the set, “Nahihiya ako,” (I’m feeling shy) perhaps showing that performing solo in a live performance as a BINI member had indeed been a different experience, and different challenge for these young performers. 

Mikha, singing South Border’s “Rainbow,” was cool and steady from the get-go. The red-haired member is often more laid-back than the others, but in her solo set, she showcased a different confidence, and smiled throughout, thoroughly enjoying the song. 

Gwen showed fighting spirit in her set. “Ba’t ito napili ko? Baka ma-trigger ako,” (Why did I pick this? I might get triggered) she said, referring to her song pick, The Eraserheads’ “With A Smile.”

The trigger came during the part that goes “When they’re closing all their doors, they don’t want you anymore,” her voice cracking at the last word. Looking for an expression, she smiles, unable to really sing the next line (“This sounds funny but I’ll say it anyway”). 

The crowd screams in support as Gwen lets out a tiny shout, to get the nerves out. (“Girl, I’ll stay”) Gwen wipes the tears with her left hand (“Through the bad times”). And then finally she collects herself. You can see her say, “Okay” – as in okay, I’m going to power through this, okay, I can do this – as she stands. 

And do it she did, delivering one of the night’s most heartfelt performances, getting the crowd to sing that song’s iconic “too-doo-doo” part, and treating adoring fans to some vocal adlibs. 

A fan at the event explains that there had been a few recent incidents from fans that had unfairly put pressure on the BINI member, possibly leading to the emotional moment. The group has heightened expectations given their meteoric rise this year, and because they’ve performed consistently and have seemingly adjusted well to the new pressures, it could be sometimes easy to forget that they are still young performers, 5 of whom are barely a year removed from their teenage years.

While it was just for one night, BINI doing renditions of classic OPM hits was a good, creative move for the group: it served as a way to reintroduce older songs to the younger generation, and possibly a way also to reach out to the non-Gen Z (ahem, older) crowd.

BINI also performed Sugarfree’s “Makita Kang Muli” and with Champ Lui Pio, who co-owns the event venue Alpas, the Hale song “Kung Wala Ka.” 

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BINI Jhoanna (left), Champ Lui Pio of Hale, and BINI Stacey at Alpas, La Union, Thursday, May 30, 2024. Photo by Gelo Gonzales/Rappler

At Alpas’ Sunset Sessions, BINI closes the summer of Pantropiko as May ends.

There had been a downpour the night prior, and Alpas had already been telling goers to prepare rainwear, but the rain thankfully gave way to that night’s set of fast-rising but still up-and-coming voices.

In June, the group will hold its “National BINI day” to celebrate the group’s third anniversary, and will launch its new website and merchandise. With the BINI 3-day concert happening at the end of June, the group will likely use this month to prepare, with full public performances expected to be less frequent than their packed April and May calendars. –

Disclosure: Samsung is a coverage partner of Rappler for BINI in La Union, and sponsored the travel and accommodation expenses. BINI is a Samsung endorser this year for the brand’s midrange A35 5G and A55 5G smartphones.

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.