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Writing on Air by Jim Paredes


Archive for September 14th, 2008


APO, Ang Dakilang LUMPO (Lumang Grupo) 10

Posted on September 14, 2008 by jimparedes

I am reprinting a write up by Joey De leon, APO’s long time colleague, competitor and (though little known to everyone) a friend of long standing. Read his account of when we all met, in the style that only Joey can muster. Salamat Joey

Philippine Star
Entertainment

ME, STARZAN By Joey de Leon
Sunday, September 14, 2008

KURAK, TUMPAK, S’YANG TOTOO AT TAMA PO,
ANG INYONG KOLUMNISTA AY MAY PANGAKO —
MAY PAGKILALA’T PARANGAL NGAYONG LINGGO
SA APO HIKING NA AKING PABORITO.
AT SIYANG TUNAY PO ANG NABASA NINYO,
SA AKIN PO’Y PINAKADAKILA ITO —
SA LAHAT NA NG LUMPO O LUMANG GRUPO,
ANG NUMERO UNO SA AKIN AY APO.
HOY, HOY, HOY, ALAHOY! HUWAG MAGTATAMPO —
MABUTI NA NGANG LUMPO ANG ITAWAG KO,
KAYSA NAMAN LASING — O ‘YAN, GUSTO NINYO?
LAOS NA SINGER, IBIG SABIHIN NITO.
ORIHINAL NA TUGTUGING PILIPINO —
SA PALAGAY KO’Y DITO’Y WALANG TATALO
SA TATLONG LALAKING TAGA-ATENEO,
SA KANILA KASI LAHAT ANG TRABAHO.
PAKIRAMDAM MO, ISIP MO AT SULAT MO,
TINIG MO PA — ‘YAN ANG HINAHANGAAN KO,
LALO’T HIGIT KUNG ANG ILANG P’YESA NITO
SULAT AT LIKHA PARA SA IBANG TAO.
KASI PO SA GANANG ABANG LINGKOD NINYO,
KATULAD DIN PO ‘YAN SA PAGKOKOMIKO,
ANG ‘DI SUMUSULAT BUNGANGA LANG GUSTO,
PARA SA AKIN, KULANG SA KWENTANG TAO.
IPAGPAUMANHIN PO ITONG DILA KO
KUNG MAY KATALIMAN, IYAN KASI AKO,
TALAGA NAMANG DITO SA’MING TRABAHO
MAY MGA TSAMBA LANG, WALANG LAMAN ULO.
BATU-BATO SA LANGIT
TAMAAN SANA KAYO!
* * *

They could have been called the Jose Rizal Gun Club, or simply UZI Rizal. Or perhaps, Andres Bonifacio Shoe Factory, or simply Bonifashoes. But they chose to be known as the Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society.

Nice choice — because like their chosen hero, who we know as the Utak ng Katipunan — Jim, Boboy and Danny are also mauutak — to be able to compose, write and come up with those beautiful and catchy APO songs through the years. Galing talaga!

History has not been so detailed as to why the so-called Utak ng Katipunan was really called so. According to some Hip-hop historians, they have always thought and insisted that Mr. Mabini was branded as mautak because hindi lang siya mautak, magulang pa! Wais, ‘ika nga. Sa totoo lang daw, naniniwala sila na hindi siya talaga lumpo! Ginagawa lang daw niya ‘yon para hindi siya maglakad at mapagod! Parelaks-relaks lang siya sa kanyang duyan. Ngak!

And according to these people na nagmamarunong, they suspect that his story was even included as part of the original lyrics (daw) of a national anthem study, lalo na at kaya nabanggit ang salitang “duyan” — “Lumpong hinirang, duyan ka ng mautak — pag napasabak, siya’y nakatitiyak…” (nakatitiyak siyang hindi siya sasaktan ng mga kalaban dahil sa kanyang kalagayan). Ngek!

Meanwhile, another group of people addicted to history (hindi kaya mga historians na adik lang ito?), claim that the person in question is not just paralyzed, but also totally sightless. Nang tanungin namin kung bakit nila nasabi ‘yon, ito ang sagot nila, “Eh kasi, hindi ba siya ang tinatawag ng mga Amerikano na ‘So Blind Paralytic’?” Ngik! Sablay!

The APO are just like their superhero — walang kapagud-pagod — sa kanilang pagsikat at pagtagal. They enjoyed what they did, and that itself is success. Congratulations again, my friends. We are all very lucky (DBJ and TVJ) — we all have jobs where we are having fun while having funds! ‘Yan ang masarap na trabaho — effortless, pero airport-ful!

Seriously, at ngayon lang n’yo malalaman ito — kung hindi dahil sa APO, baka walang TVJ at malamang, walang Eat,Bulaga!

Ganito kasi ‘yon — tandang-tanda ko pa — (this is only from this writer’s recollection) — a little less than two years before the declaration of Martial Law, the Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society was offered to do a TV show on Channel 13. This was after they had a successful show at the Meralco Theatre. Rollie Grande was the director and Bong Serra was the executive producer.

According to Bong, after watching two pilot episodes, the management and the production staff had something different in mind — they thought of not just an all-musical format for their new show but something else — a musical-comedy show made up entirely of new talents. So on the first taping (again), it was like a potluck party — the director brought in his bowling pal, Tito Sotto, who came with his two brothers, Marvic and Valmar (Vic and Val). Tito was then doing commercials and had a stint with his brother Val as members of the Tilt Down Men, the Dave Clark Five of the Philippines. Vic looked so young and appeared like someone who couldn’t even hurt a fly — ang tahimik at ang kapal ng salamin. He was studying at La Salle at the time. Like I always say, I am one of the few who witnessed the transformation of Bossing Ungassis from good to evil! Ngok!

On the other hand, the executive producer came with his disc jockey friends from ABS-CBN — the late Ricky Manalo Jr., who later became and played “Tom” in the TV Series of the comic strip, Baltic and Company, and the “never late for tapings,” Joey de Leon, who had a radio record of working on board ALL the seven radio stations of ABS-CBN in Bohol Avenue! (DZYK-FM, DWOW, DZMM, DZAQ-Radyo Patrol, DZQL, DZXL and DZYL). I was the “Spare For All Seasons/Stations.” During that time, that sort of animal was known as a “utility announcer.” Doon sa mga tanga na baka akalaing ang “utility” ay ang inuutusan na kumuha ng kape ng mga announcers, nagkakamali po kayo. Ang ibig sabihin po niyan ay pwede kayong ilagay kahit saan at kahit ano mang format or programming ng istasyon. In short, and in truth, lagi kasi akong naka istambay sa ABS lalo na sa saklaan kaya madalas akong matawag! Nguk!

The show was called, Okay Lang. We were 19 in the cast, which included: George and Raffy (Javier and Paredes), Monette and Noel, the Casado brothers, Christy Mayuga and Cathy Earnshaw among many others. Tough Hits, which undeniably gave a kick to TVJ’s career as a trio, was born on that show. Doon kami nag-masters ng Knock Knock and Use In A Sentence Jokes. At doon din ako nahasa magsulat — ng mga kalokohan!

Again, to Boboy, Jim and Danny, salamat at nasama kami sa show ninyo. It was our first big break on television. Natutuwa ako ngayon dahil lahat tayong anim ay Okay Lang pa rin.

This coming Saturday, Sept. 20, the APO will hold their very first concert at the Araneta Coliseum after being together for 39 years! Mabuhay ang APO of the Philippines!

Awit ng Barkada 0

Posted on September 14, 2008 by jimparedes

I am reprinting an article out today by Philippine Star entertainment writer/ editor Ricky Lo. It has long been a dream of the APO to be interviewed by him. Thanks Ricky.

Entertainment
Awit ng Barkada
CONVERSATIONS With Ricky Lo
Sunday, September 14, 2008

apo-isip15.jpg
Pumapatak na naman ang ulan sa bubong ng bahay…

Funny but on the afternoon Conversations talked to the APO (Jim Paredes, Boboy Garovillo and Danny Javier), it was raining cats and dogs, punctuated by thunder and lightning, a “bed” weather perfect for, as the APO song goes, doing di-inaasahang bagay, such as mag-laklak ng beer magdamagan.

Instead of drowning in beer, it was nice to drift into sweet slumber at matulog na lang ng mahimbing.

But how can you sleep while tripping with the APO down the well-trodden Memory Lane, a week before the Durable Trio’s pre-40th-anniversary concert, titled APO of the PHILIPPINES, at the Big Dome (on Saturday, Sept. 20)?

On my music-player, The Best of the APO Hiking Society CD kept on playing the well-loved APO songs that are easy to remember, easy to memorize, easy to love and easy to sing along with because they sing of the ordinary things in life such as falling in and out of love (Pagibig), friends crying on each others’ shoulders in times of crisis (Kaibigan), the frustration of loving a girl who loves somebody else (Mahirap Magmahal ng Syota ng Iba), the magical beauty of a full moon (Kabilugan ng Buwan), the emptiness of a love-weary heart (Tuyo Na’ng Damdamin), the healing power of a smile (Show Me a Smile), the bitter-sweet effects of making up after a lovers’ quarrel (Di Na Natuto) and, yes, the thrill of guzzling bottles and bottles of beer on a rainy afternoon.
In short, mga awit ng barkada.

That’s what we will be hearing at the Big Dome — mga awit ng barkada.

The trio sounds exactly the way they did when they got together musically while studying at Ateneo, not missing a beat these past 39 years. Check out their latest album, Danny, Boboy at Jim, which consists of songs they sing only during concerts and never recorded, and you will know what I mean. The APO themselves are releasing the CD as an “indie” production — “‘Yan ang uso ngayon, di ba? Indie,” said Boboy.

Jim, 57, is married to Lydia Mabanta with whom he has three children (Erica, Ala and Mio); the couple has one grandchild. Boboy, 57, is married to Bong Agcaoili with whom he has two sons, Fonz and Anton. Danny, 61, is “twice married, twice annulled” (as he put it), with four children from his second failed marriage — Justine, Juliene, Jobim and Jamael.

Would the APO have lasted this long if you were not good friends?

Jim: I don’t think we would because there are so many areas to fight over…like money, fame, schedule, everything! You have to sacrifice for a bigger goal and you have to like the persons you are sacrificing with.

Boboy: The group has survived because we are barkadas, because we are good friends. We were not one of those groups which, you know, “Let’s get together for music.” Hindi ganoon, eh. We have been really good friends, we hang out together up to now, and the music just came along. We came from the same school, so have like minds, like philosophies in life. Medyo madali kaming magka-intindihan.

Danny: It’s the friendship that keeps us together. Not the money nor anything. Take away everything else and we would still be friends.

In all the years that you’ve been performing, what was the biggest test that you had to hurdle?

Jim: What we really wanted to do with APO. We were pulling each other into each other’s directions. I wanted it to be like this and like that; I was complaining about standards because I felt na parang bumababa ang aming standard. I was being too critical, at ganoon din sina Boboy at Danny. I guess ‘yon ang pinaka-matindi naming pagsubok. We got to a point when, you know, we said, “Sige, tapusin na natin ito!”

Boboy: Money was never a problem, huh. There was a time in the ’70s when disco music came in and our career hit a real low. We put up our own record company with the help of somebody. We were thinking talaga na, you know, “This is it!” We should just work, maging executives na lang sa isang recording company, and just stop singing. We were producing records for the likes of Hajji Alejandro. Come to think of it, career-wise that was not a real low because we were still doing something for the industry. But as performers, ‘yon ‘yung akala namin it would end na.

Danny: In any relationship, there’s one trait of the others that becomes unbearable, whether it’s kakulitan or whatever. Kapag natawid mo ‘yon, wala ka nang ibang kailangan tawirin pa. Sabi nila, dapat may communication. So I said, “Para walang communication gap…tanggap.” That’s the solution to the communication gap. Tanggap.

Of the dozens and dozens of songs that you have recorded and composed for other singers (the most popular being Di Na Natuto for Gary Valenciano), which is the most memorable to you?

Jim: My favorite changes all the time. But for me, it has to be Batang-Bata Ka Pa because I wrote that when my eldest child was born. It’s such a direct composition na hindi ko inisip; the lyrics and the melody just came out naturally, spontaneously. I’m happy that the song has a universal appeal, not only with parents but also their children can relate to it.

Boboy: It’s hard to choose just one. Outside of APO, I would say Di Na Natuto which we wrote for Gary Valenciano. It was a hit. Among us, I guess it would be Awit ng Barkada which is, up to this day, being played during reunions. It has a very reassuring effect, di ba?

Danny: It’s the song that Gina (Valenciano-Martinez) asked me to write for Gary — Di Na Natuto. It was almost like a commissioned work. It was a hit, played and played on the radio for almost two years; palipat-lipat ka ng istasyon and that was the song being played. At the time, there was only one other song that was a hit, I’ll Never Say Goodbye by Willy Cruz (sung by Nonoy Zuñiga). In all my 61 years, there has never been a song na kasing-hit ng Di Na Natuto.
Aside from love of music, what do you have in common?

Jim: We really just enjoy each other’s company. We enjoy the fact that we did something really special, I think. When we started, there was really no OPM (Original Pilipino Music); it was then known as Manila Sound. When we did something like this, it was some kind of an act of rebellion — you know, when you’re young, you want to resist conformity. Pagkatapos, it bore fruit. We really felt that we did something more important than just build a career. By the way, it was Danny who thought of the term “OPM.” We put it in our records and it caught on with everybody.

Boboy: Hmmmm…Kung tutuusin, not much really. Kami ni Danny, we are into golf. Jim is into scuba-diving and biking. I also play tennis and am into a lot of other sports. Jim is a bookworm.

Danny: We are a community of learners. Ang sabi ko nga sa mga ka-kaklase ko, “The nicest thing that happened to me after college is that I began to enjoy learning.” I never studied as much until after college. There’s so much to learn from life. Study, if not imposed by other people, is one of the most enjoyable experiences in life.

Has the “ego factor” ever reared its ugly head among you?

Jim: At the start, we were always competing with each other…in all aspects, pati sa girls. But after a while, you just realized that, you know, nobody would say, “Ang ganda n’ung song na kinanta ni Boboy, or ni Jim, or ni Danny.” They would just say, “Ang ganda n’ung song ng APO.” Nagkaroon kami ng collective identity. We found our right place as a team.

Boboy: Ang “ego factor” sa amin was always internal, just among the three of us, and never about people outside of the group. Ang “ego” sa amin was…what do I want to do? You know, no contract binds us. We can just stand up and say, “Tomorrow, I’m done!” Like Jim could just say, “I’m moving to Australia!” As simple as that.

Danny: It did. We would not be human if the “ego factor” doesn’t come in the way. But like I said, we are learners. We discovered that the three of us when put together are bigger than our sum. Yes, we can stand as individuals but iba ‘yung magkasama kaming tatlo.

How do you maintain and sustain the distinct APO Sound?

Jim: The APO Sound is actually…well, we maintain it by singing and singing and singing all the time. When singers get older, binabaan nila ‘yung key ng song. We are still singing in the same key as when we recorded our songs. So, it’s really practice, practice, practice.

Boboy: You know, that’s a secret na hindi naman secret. I guess we just have a natural knack for harmonizing with each other. I like to think that songwriting needs a certain intelligence and talent, eh. You know, a lot of songs now that you hear make you wonder, “Saan nanggaling ‘yon?”

Danny: Well, kaya siguro na-maintain namin dahil wala sa amin nagpa-sex-change, kaya wala sa amin nagbago ang voice. Hehehehe!

What’s the best thing about making music with your good friends?

Jim: Danny is very intuitive, so it’s quite easy to work with him. Boboy is very spontaneous and that, to me, is a great factor in every show. Kumbaga sa basketball team, si Boboy nakaka-three-point shot madalas.

Danny: The best thing about working with Jim and Boboy is that you have two voices that you can trust. They will not give an opinion that will detract from the beauty of your creation; they can only enhance it. And, of course, they have respect for your final decision as a writer.

(Note: For tickets to the APO concert, call Ticketnet at 911-5555 or Thirdline at 426-0103. More on the APO in Joey de Leon’s column Me, Starzan, Page E-1.)

Surviving the net 0

Posted on September 14, 2008 by jimparedes

Sunday Life
Surviving the Net
HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes
Sunday, September 14, 2008

Never before in the history of man has there been so much information available. The Internet, as we all know is host to an ever-growing body of data that can be accessed by anyone. It is said that the growth of websites, blogs and the like are actually exponential. With the advent of the web now within reach even with one’s cellphone, iPod or PDA, the temptation to browse, surf or, more accurately, to swim and drown in the ocean of information, most of it useless or at least, non-vital, is both irresistible and inevitable.

I confess that I spend an inordinate amount of time on the web. I often find myself using the Internet for hours on end. With browsers that carry features like Stumble Upon which are programmed to take you to “random” pages that you will most likely enjoy, the Internet has glued me to my chair and computer screen for long periods, sorting through pages upon pages that grab my interest.

Sometimes I wonder whether what is transpiring here is still man’s indulgence of an insatiable quest for knowledge, or an increasingly unquenchable thirst for titillation and amusement.

When I was in high school, before the advent of personal computers and the worldwide web, I remember a teacher assigning us to read an essay that dissected the difference between what it called “books of wisdom” against what it pejoratively called “books of the hour.” It was a dig at people who spent too much time reading trivial things like comic books, magazines and other types of pop, contemporary reading instead of the literary classics. I can imagine how disturbed the writer must have been at the proliferation of what was to him, mindless, shallow reading material that had exploded onto the scene during the golden age of printing in the early 20th century. Such works, undoubtedly brought about by the democratization of access to printing by just about anyone, must have irked the writer to comment and make the distinction between proven works of great value and anything newly printed and passed on as “literature.”

He lived in a much slower world, for sure. He simply had no inkling whatsoever that things would get progressively worse in so short a time.

But while one may find it curious or even laugh at the mindset that would feel the need to point out the distinction between “books of knowledge” and “books of the hour,” it is actually worth pondering. The point really is how and with what we feed our minds.

While an active, inquisitive mind is better than a dull and slow one, there is something to worry about when the mind is constantly racing, agitated, titillated, excited — as what seems to be happening to a lot of people today. The world is exploding with so much information that it drives many brilliant minds to explode as well. We have become treasure troves of information but not necessarily of knowledge and wisdom.

We have an armada of statistics, data and information at the snap of our fingers but not the time nor even the inclination to process them and turn them into true and useful insights. We may know the breaking news, sports scores, surveys, the latest downturns of the markets, the weather, etc.; but do not have the time nor the ability to analyze and convert all of this into knowledge that can help us make better sense of our world and of ourselves. Why? Because, well, there is simply more new information coming all the time that needs to be digested. And we hardly digest it. Who has the time? In fact, we may all be suffering from info-indigestion.

The irony is that even as the Internet has opened up most of the world’s data banks for everyone’s use, this has not necessarily created a better-informed and awakened citizenry who can really think things through with wisdom and discernment. Instead, we are a society enamored with and addicted to trivia. You would think that with the classics like the complete works of Shakespeare, Nietzsche or Rumi available for free on the Net, there would be a beeline heading for them. Instead, the kids who are supposed to read these works head for their summaries. And the Internet hits are most probably directed towards the latest videos on YouTube, or gossip about the latest star to fall in Hollywood.

This is not surprising since the ways of the world and the ways of the truly awakened have historically been at odds. I believe they are more so now. Consider that the learning and acquisition of wisdom usually happens at a much slower pace — it can take months, years, or even lifetimes to achieve — while accessing trivia on the Internet is only a few instantaneous clicks away.

Media, including the Internet, can be a noisy place where millions of pages or portals or URLs are shouting for our time and attention, seducing us to be passive consumers of other people’s thoughts, feelings and products. And our consumption of media and the Net makes us mindless consumers of data mostly for the sake of amusement. In fact, we may even be already addicted to the onslaught of electronic data we get every day. Many of us can’t let a day or two pass without surfing the Net. It’s as if the web has become our own mind and exploring it has taken the place of exploring the self. The Zen question — “Are you in control of your mind, or is your mind controlling you?’ — is more relevant than ever.

On the other hand, the cultivation of a mind that knows itself, or an awakened mind, demands that our thinking become uncluttered, spacious, peaceful and unperturbed by the goings-on in the world. The awakened mind is not really an informed mind but an open one. It is not constantly thinking but is, in fact, many times devoid of opinion. It is open to understanding the world as it is, and does not force anything to fit into a preconceived concept. I call the awakened mind a “Teflon” mind because nothing sticks to it permanently. It always can be wiped clean and therefore has a fresh view of life.

So how can an awakened mind reconcile living in today’s world where what we know is constantly updated and upgraded even before we have even come to grips with it? I think the reflective mind may be in a better position to use all this information without being an addicted consumer. Why? Because it does not feel the need to cling to the opinions and knowledge it constantly receives. It is always open to the new, the useful and the truthful.

The awakened mind may be the best mindset to have in this day and age. If it is truly awakened, it can distance itself and even drop out of all the noise when it feels that its spaciousness and equanimity are being assaulted. It can even turn off the computer if it wishes… It is probably the best way to control the Internet, in fact. Otherwise, it can end up controlling you.

* * *
skin-invyt1-public154.jpg

On Sept. 24, my exhibit entitled ‘SKIN: a photo exhibit by Jim Paredes in black and white and red’ will open to the public at the Renaissance Gallery at the Megamall. It will run till Oct. 2, 2008. It is an exhibit of artful nudes taken through the years. Please do come and appreciate. This exhibit is sponsored by Panasonic Philippines. For some of the pics, i used the Lumix DMC-L1, a great camera.

What are your all-time favorite APO songs? 5

Posted on September 14, 2008 by jimparedes

I am reprinting an article by fellow Philippine Star Columnist Mons Romulo-Tantoco which came out today. Thanks Mons!

Sunday Life
What are your all-time favorite APO songs?
WORDS WORTH By Mons Romulo-Tantoco
Sunday, September 14, 2008

Apo Hiking Society is one of the leading music icons in the country and in the history of Original Pilipino Music (OPM). Jim Paredes, Danny Javier, and Boboy Garrovillo have been friends for 39 years. They have recorded 26 chart-topping albums throughout their career and these timeless songs have become part of our lives.

On September 20 at 8 p.m. at the Araneta Coliseum, we will have the chance to once again hear them sing our favorite songs. The concert, “APO of the Philippines,” also celebrates the trio’s 40th year on the music scene.

GB SAMPEDRO, stage and TV director: Paano — “Subukan mong magmahal o giliw ko…kakaibang ligayang matatamo…” It’s hard to fall in love and fall out of love; it’s even harder to fall in love again, but it’s worth the risk. That’s how I interpret my favorite beautiful APO song.

AMY PEREZ, host and actress: When I Met You. It’s my favorite talaga, even before I worked with them on our show Sa Linggo Napo Sila. After all these years, grabe, Danny sings it better pa. Parang hindi tumanda!

MORRIS TUASON, businessman: Awit ng Barkada, which applies to our culture. Classic tune and lyrics that will never fade. The song also brings cheer to a typical barkada setup. Very much Filipino.

SANDRA CHAVEZ, talent manager: When I Met You. It’s a simple, gentle song you can take with you. It is just there when you need it.

Senator CHIZ ESCU-DERO: Batang-Bata Ka Pa. Being young should never be considered a handicap because it’s not. The song talks about the youth’s promise — that of change and that they are capable of doing it now. Not when he graduates, not when he gets rich, not when he’s in power — but now. It’s a song that says the youth can stand an army of traditional norms, events, people and beliefs if and when they will themselves to. The ball is in their hands to make a change now.

VERNI VARGA, singer: When I Met You, a song all about love — first to God and to someone special. For me, it’s an inspirational song, which is the reason I like it.

FRANCIS PAPICA, US lawyer: Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo. It reminds me of how strong we are as a people and the great things the future has to offer if only we put the country before our selfish personal interests. I’ve never met a race of people who has the potential to accomplish- much — if only we put our minds and hearts together.

SARI PAZ VILLAR-TAN, marketing manager, 105.1, Crossover: Pumapatak Na Naman Ang Ulan. The magic of APO is there because their songs have always been about real life. Pumapatak for me is the definitive APO song. It takes me back to a time and place when life was less complicated, and I realize that the worries I had then were actually nothing to worry about. I hear that song, and it never fails to make my heart smile.

Marikina Mayor MARIDES C. FERNANDO: Pumapatak Na Naman Ang Ulan reminds me of when I was still in my school days. There was fresh air, we seldom encountered problems and during rainy season masarap matulog lang kasi when classes were cancelled.


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