The Journey Is The Destination

If you’ve ever wanted to be an entertainer and had caught yourself casting a moist eye while watching a visiting performer in a concert, then you may find this entry interesting.

I imagine that for most people who watch us, it seems like Danny, Boboy and I live exciting, glamorous, easy lives , traveling from one place to another while reaping praises heaped on us by adoring audiences. I don’t blame them. To outsiders, they can only come to conclusions based on what they see and that is, APO performing and having a good time in concert, signing autographs, etc. And that’s it! ‘Ang sarap ng trabaho niyo’, I have often been told. I agree. I love this job. But it is not as easy at it all seems.

There are so many behind-the-scenes activities that must be taken cared off before we even set foot on a foreign stage. It takes months to plan a tour, and a tedious process to follow up on papers to secure proper visas, plane tickets, etc. There are the rehearsals before we leave and a million other details to take care of. And when we arrive at the destination, things REALLY shift into high gear.

Almost from day one, there are the endless promo visits to Filipino supermarkets, stores, restaurants, beauty salons, karaoke bars, church gatherings, offices, sponsor visits, even law firms, parties—anywhere where Filipinos congregate— to promote the shows. With all that come an overwhelming dose of food: kare-kare, pancit malabon, crispy pata, pinakbet, bagoong, lechon kawali, kaldereta, bibingka, etc. It is not unusual that we end up eating around 6 times a day. At times, we actually feel like we are ‘overdosing’ on Pinoy food and sneak out for a different cuisine!

And there’s the endless driving on freeways, sometimes up to 500 miles in one day. That’s like going Manila-Baguio and back twice! That also means using strange toilets and if you are the picky kind, this could be a Fear Factor experience. Luckily, none of us are, and it is a credit to the US that there are always clean toilets available. (I think of my American niece Cristina who wonders where all the toilet seats are in Manila since almost always, there are only bowls sans the seats in public toilets! Oo nga, where are they indeed?) Airports are something to endure since holders of Philippine passports are deemed to come from a terrorist haven and more often than not MUST go through intense inspection separate from ordinary or regular passengers.

Meeting hundreds of people, posing for countless pictures, (and with the advent of digital, EVERYONE seems to have a camera and wants to take at least four pictures—one with each APO and one with a group ) signing autographs, CDs, engaging in constant talk with people who see you not just as a celebrity (a.k.a. some sort of oddity) but as a direct link to a memorable past they miss so much. All this goes with the job. And all of it is almost always easy if

a) you had a good night sleep the night before,
b) you are feeling great,
c) you are not homesick.

I almost always enjoy this a lot although admittedly, there are times when I’m just not into it. In such moments, I just want to disappear, go somewhere alone and just anonymously fade into nondescriptness. ‘Home’ is a hotel room where we stay no longer than three days, longer if you’re lucky. Living out of a suitcase, planning laundry days, squeezing in a little shopping time, or seeing old friends and classmates can be tricky amidst all this frenzy.

A tour can be a series of small lessons on impermanence. Faces come and go, stage lights turn on and off, and settings are constantly changing as we travel on an open road that seems endless. Amid all this, the only semblance of permanence are the songs we made years ago, and the three of us who continue to sing them.

While I may sound like I’m complaining (and sometimes I am), I willingly go through this for that two hour gig bliss we stand on stage and become one with our audience. That golden chance on stage is what performers definitely live for. Showered with applause and appreciation, I feel wonderfully thrilled like the heavens just kissed us in public!

The long rides and the ritual signing, picture taking, etc. that builds up to show time need not be tedious and boring. During promo tours, I indulge the mystic in me by being present to every moment– before, during and after the performance. This way, I enjoy myself. Everything in the process becomes important because I go through them with fresh eyes. Nothing has to be wasted or thrown away. Every moment is all there is.

The journey really IS the destination!

30 thoughts on “The Journey Is The Destination”

  1. Yah, i do agree with you Mr. Paredes…its really one hell of a job you got there..and one heaven of a job too. Nakakapasyal po kayo.

    I Like your music though, I like those jazzy activists music…you have made during 80’s…

    Like you sir, i like music that are not famous but artistic, nakakasawa din eh yung pop.

    Cool site! Can you give me ideas how did you do those links sa side ng website..its cool..

  2. Good day,Mr.Jim!!

    Yep,the limelight is so
    exhausting..,perhaps you
    and your “brothers” are
    really blessed coz uncoun
    table people love you…

    Honestly speaking,I didnt
    appreciate OPM when I was
    in the PHIL.,but now,I feel the hunger…as if I`m craving for them….

    Hope you perform here in
    Japan(esp.Tokyo)..I also
    want to be one of those
    “misty eyes”..Keep my fingers crossed… 😀

    salamat po!!

  3. jim,

    thanks for your behind-the-scenes perspectives. there’s always seem to be a trade-off in everything. as as the old adage goes: “If you find a job you love, you’ll never work for the rest of your life.” well, there’s still that element of work but the highs will be worth it.

    and at least you get to experience the “fiesta” atmosphere everytime you go on tour. man, six meals a day! 🙂

  4. “to whom much is given, much is expected.”..

    at least you know that for all there is to endure, you’ll never run out, not only of of people’s love, but also of meals throughout the day! he..he..

    i love apo.

  5. enjoy the ride, jim, while it lasts…you’re going to miss it when you are forced to stay put. hope it won’t be before i see you 3 live in concert.i just wonder when? any european tour this year?

  6. awww! this brought back fantastic memories of the glee club’s past tours. can totally relate to 6 meals a day (kaso puro cold cuts and cheese haha) and long drives (i survived a 21-hour bus trip by sleeping thru the entire thing!).

    wishing you more of the things you love about touring — misty eyes, radiant smiles, and quiet moments to yourself.

  7. the good thing is you love your work, for me sapat na yun para ma overcome yung mga bagay na kasama sa work mo pero hindi mo naman gusto 🙂

  8. Hi, Jim. Long time…. I can see that you are enjoying your tour and at the same time raring to go home 🙂

    I still don’t understand why Pinoys here in the US (or maybe anywhere outside Pinas) almost always serve Pinoy dishes in welcoming kababayans who just arrived from Pinas??? On the day I arrived here in the US, my friends gave me a welcome party and served Pinoy dishes! Eh, feeling ko pa naman, nasa Tate ako kaya dapat pati pagkain pang-kano. Siguro para di ako ma-homesick – ha ha ha. (E, paano naman akong maho-homesick noon, e, kadadating ko pa nga lang.)



  9. hi mr. jim,

    your blog entries always give me fresh insights. you can sieve rare seashells in a massive heap of sand. after all these years of performing, APO has not lost its magic in your heart. i think that’s what charms your audience the most.

    thanks for all the great songs that have touched our lives in special ways.

    friendster cel

  10. juandelacruz, coolmel, bu– thanks.

    anonymus, we might go to japan sometime this year. Keep your fingers crossed!

    Girlie–dapat may europe pero wala pang word as of now. We’ll see!

    John, Jey–Yeah. I was having withdrawal symptoms too. Will try to post pag may broadband sa hotel.

    Deepa–ha ha. I guess you know what all this feels like huh?

    darkblak–as Joseph Campbel says,
    the only way to live is to follow one’s bliss!

    Maricar!—SINABI MO!m ha ha! But even if I complain sometimes, Filipino hospitality is tops!!

    Anonymous–salamat din

  11. Hi Mang Jim,
    Nako, now I’m starting to reflect on the day we met you in Geneva. Sana we did not tire you too much. Pero totoo yung point nyo for me na its like “a direct link to a memorable past I miss so much.” kaya I was so fascinated by you. And thanks for the tip. If our paths should cross again here in Europe, we’ll definitely prepare european foods for you pramis!

  12. Hello Mr. Paredes, it’s been too long since I’ve seen any of Apo’s show (it must have been 15 years or so, I believe it was with Nonoy Zuniga (?), and everytime I hear that you are performing it’s more like .. you already have performed coz the memo flew and missed our area. I still remember that show we saw in San Francisco, we really did have a good time.

    My sister who is in Southern California was lucky to be able to share the stage with you or was that just picture taking? One can never tell.

    Hope to catch your show next time, hopefully the memo will land right on our noses and not miss it.

    One of your adoring public,

  13. “the journey is the destination”

    the same thing can be said of living our lives. it’s not the dreams or the goals that matter, it’s how we get there.

  14. “Everything in the process becomes important because I go through them with fresh eyes. Nothing has to be wasted or thrown away. Every moment is all there is.”

    This is the secret to obtaining peace and tranquility in our daily life. To see things with fresh eyes — every moment is indeed all there is. To free ourselves from our own attachments, expectations and fears.

    These sage words were reiterated by Yoda to Anakin in Star Wars III, Revenge of the Sith.

    Your wisdom is profound Master Jim.
    Thank you for always sharing them with us.

    Peace be with you.

  15. balikbayan–thanks

    alamander-i meeshootoovedymuch

    Karampot–ha ha! Don’t worry. I complain about eating too much more than the cuisine itself.

    slim whale and anonymous–mismo!

    anonymous–I hope you catch us next time we are around!

  16. ironic po tlga… the highs and lows of being a well-known celeb… though i know it can be touching esp if the people made your music a part of their lives…

    ingat sa trips! don’t eat too much.. ang figure (one thing i wonder about you also — bkit hindi po kayo tumataba?mm…)

    i love apo!!!

  17. Isco, give me your email so I can write you. But remember that I am on the road and I do not always have internet access. I will be frank, don’t worry.


    Hi Jim!

    No problem. Whenever you have time. My e-mail ad’s

    Thanks a bunch!

  18. I saw your show in Knotts and I thought it was great. this was the first APO concert I have ever seen and I was blown away and was in awe for the whole show! we laughed through the entire show and we really had a great time. Hope to see you guys again.

  19. again… another refreshing entry.. i love reading what you write because it always takes me to another place!

    Hey, i put a link to your photo website in my my blog i hope you dont mind! 🙂

    hope to see you soon!

  20. San na kayo sa tour? Good luck!!! When you come home, I will email you about some new stuff for your site 🙂

  21. your post shows that you are just human… that although you enjoy what you do, you get tired too.

    thank you APO for the music! God bless!

  22. Hi Jim,
    We saw your show in Stafford, TX, and it was a blast. I myself was so tired for driving on the way to your show as we were from Dallas which is about 250 miles drive. Anyway, my eyes stayed wide open during the entire show, grabe, ang sakit ng mga panga ko sa kaka-tawa. Thank you for coming to Houston, kahit na pagod na pagod kayo from Atlanta, etc. Thank you for spending some time signing the CDs and shirts, and pictures sa restaurant after the show. Medyo, na-guilty ata kami duon sa pagkuha ng pictures ha, buwisit na Digi-cam kasi eh, low batt na, kaya you have to wait a few seconds for me to take the shot. Sa susunod na pagbisita niyo, I’ll make sure I have spare batteries fully charged, hehehe.
    Again, thank you for making our MEMORIAL DAY weekend, a truly MEMORABLE one.

  23. I don’t know why people here in the states that everytime they have visitors from the P.I.they always serve Pilipino foods.

    Anuway Jim that was the highlights of my time when I meet the Apo in person at my friend restaurant in Temecula, the day your concert in Pala Casino. If you remember it’s me and my wife who were chatting outside the restaurant before you went back to L.A. that night. I am the guy who asked how’s your wife Lydia.

    I’ll see you again on your next concert in Southern California.

  24. Hello Mr.Paredes!
    Hope you are in good health and in high spirits wherever you are,you need to be! (^ _ ^ **)

  25. Hi,Jim,

    I’m a huge fan!

    Now, you must have heard that a million times, and hey, you will probably hit a zillion tomorrow during your coffee break! Youbetyourcincongduling, it’s not going to stop with me, dawg!

    You must love those furry and hairy friend of ours! I mean, the dogs, askals. You love dogs, di ba?

    Here’s shooting for the star. Maybe you’d like to visit my organization’s website: and while you’re at it you can give a worthwhile glance my BLOG:

    Ha! Maybe next time? You sure love those hairy and furry-friend of ours, di ba? I mean the SOBs in the government who are doing nothing to strop the evil dog-trade in this doggone country of ours. Man, i’m cool,dawg…

    Thanks for making yourself accessible, mon!

    By the way, you love Earl Klugh, right? When are you going to turn jazzy to all of us, Jim? I mean, you can play jazz with your classical guitar, right? Who has done that here?

    You’re d’ man!



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