Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Breaking up is hard to do

Posted on January 23, 2010 by jimparedes

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) Updated January 24, 2010 12:00 AM

The APO held a press conference a few days back to promote our upcoming Valentine show. It was billed as APO’s last Valentine gig and it will be held on Feb. 13 at the SMX venue in the Mall of Asia.

At the presscon, we decided to finally announce that the APO Hiking Society as an entity would be winding down and doing the last shows of our 40-year career. By end of May, APO will stop performing, recording or being a showbiz entity altogether.

There was a deafening silence in the room. The media was speechless. At first we thought that there was no interest in the announcement, thus the silence. But the barrage of questions and emotions expressed that came after indicated that the announcement we had just made was more of a shocker than a sleeper.


Yes, Boboy, Danny and I are calling it quits. But before we do, we have a few more shows to do here and abroad. So if you are an APO fan, or if you’ve never watched us, now is the time to do so. We will have several farewell shows towards the end of May, most likely in small venues. We don’t want to be stressed out doing a big-venue extravaganza since we really want to enjoy our last few shows.

In the first two days after we announced that we were disbanding, I received close to 600 tweets, Facebook notices, and e-mails expressing regret, respect, dumbfoundedness, admiration, sorrow and other similar emotions. They were not any different from what we in the APO are feeling as well.

So why are we splitting up?

Ironically, we made our announcement at a time when many people are telling us that, lately, we have been doing the best concerts ever in our career of 40 summers. We have been on a roll these past five years. While we have managed to keep the older generation (meaning people our age) interested in us, our current audiences have had a lot of people watching us for the very first time. Kids are discovering us, digging our music and enjoying our shows. And we are more comfortable than ever performing together. Musically, we are tight and our stage rapport is wonderfully intuitive and smooth.

Forty years is a long time and as much as we have projected unity all throughout or career, we have also had our differences. Monolithic as our triumvirate may seem, Danny, Boboy and I are actually very different people who like doing different things — our individual hobbies, passions and pursuits — outside of the collective effort of APO. And that was a good thing.

For years, we believed that whatever knowledge, reputation or advantages we personally gain from what we do individually, can only add to and enhance APO’s reputation. Everything we do adds up to the wealth of experience we all can delve in and profit from as a group. That’s how it was and it indeed served us well.

Thus, Danny is into Pidro, his T-shirt company and is doing consultancies. Boboy is into acting and golf. I am into writing, teaching, photography and workshops. Aside from these, the three of us have gone into collaborative social causes that range from environmental, electoral, educational, nationalistic — all pointing in the direction of people empowerment and the enhancement of our democracy.

But as varied and mixed as our interests are, APO has always been our home base. APO is the repository of all our experiences where we process everything, which has somehow added value and benefit to the group and made our shows, our spiels and our songs richer and more interesting.

Then there is also our friendship which has sustained us, given us a lot of joy and allowed each other the leeway to be different yet accepted, distant at times but not becoming alienated.

But 40 years is a long time. The repetitive nature of any career can get boring. That’s why in the past few years we have been individually looking at other horizons. We are all creative and, by nature, there is a gnawing restlessness in all of us that needs to be constantly fed with new experiences. And our personal journeys have brought us to different paths, made us drift apart and led us to interests that demand more and more of our time, making our commitment to APO and all its obligations less tenable.

These are some of the reasons why we are disbanding, although there are individual reasons as well. I will leave it to my friends to state the reasons that are theirs alone.

While all of the above are true for all of us, I speak for myself when I say there is no compelling reason to want to end APO. The only reason I see is that since it is bound to happen someday, it is best to end APO while we are still respected players on the scene. If breaking up is inevitable, why not do it now?

We can’t complain; the past 40 years have given us a good run.

APO has always been a united endeavor. It is a synergistic organization and that’s why it has worked so well all these years. More than three individual members, it has always been the “we” that has given APO life.

The group has been the longest-running commitment the three of us have made in our lives. We have been APO longer than we have been married to our wives, longer than we have been parents, or students, or any other endeavor we have said yes to individually. Ending it is therefore a very big deal for us, collectively and individually. It is not just a life-altering move, it is also a monumental reminder of the impermanence and finality of our mortal experience.

I have many conflicting feelings about our decision to disband, even as I am comforted by the messages I have received from many people: that APO’s music has been a signpost and a soundtrack to their lives as Filipinos; that we have made our mark as real OPM artists; that we will live in their hearts; that yes, there is meaning to everything we have done.

I do love performing with my friends and the three of us invariably feel great every time we pull off a concert doing our original stuff that we have creatively (and sometimes courageously) conceived, executed and perfected throughout our career. I cannot begin to express how much I will miss all that.

But I believe that as much as we are called to vocations and unions, we are also, at times, called to move on to other things. We have given our best years to APO, which has given us so much more in terms of the joy of performing, affirmation as artists, material blessings and stature.

It is only right that we honor it by ending while we can still perform together at our most joyful best. Anything less would be disrespectful to what APO has always been about and to the management, musicians, crew and our audience who gave us full support all these years.

I end with a promise that all the shows we will be doing from now to the end of May will be the best we will ever do. To be truthful, that is not anything new, since that is a promise we have kept all of these past 40 years.

* * *

This is the last call.

Experience your most empowered, creative and joyful year, and the rest of your lifetime.

The 50th run of “Tapping the Creative Universe” workshop is set for Jan. 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and Feb. 1. It’s from 7 to 9 p.m. at 113 B. Gonzales, Loyola Heights, QC. Cost is P5,000 for all six sessions.

* * *

Write to emailjimp@gmail.com, or call 426-5375, 0916-855-4303 for inquiries and reservations

0 to “Breaking up is hard to do”

  1. Julia says:

    When I first read your post regarding the disbanding of your group I felt so sad… but at the same time grateful and happy! Sad because after May 2010 I won’t see you perform as a group anymore, grateful for the great music and the friendship I had with the three of you and happy that you will continue to pursue other things that will even bring the best in each of you as individuals and still(I am sure) will make a difference in other people’s lives. It is not the end when APO stop performing but a continuation of the great journey in life the three of you have. THANK YOU for everything and enjoy the journey! See you whenever and wherever my friends…

  2. Mabel says:

    Hi Jim. I’ve just seen APO’s live performance once, but I’ve been a fan since I was in my teens, sticking in front of the TV on sundays watching the noon time show sa Linggo n’APO sila and all other tv shows that guests APO. Hearing this news made me sad indeed but I knew the group had a reason for deciding that now is the time. And I clearly understand it now after reading news articles and this post.

    Thank you APO. Thank you for sharing your music, your life journey and making a mark in each person who has heard your music. I can sense that each of you, individually, would continue doing so (Hey, you already did, in me, as a TCU participant) as you thread different paths. Maraming salamat muli, Jim, Danny and Buboy…ang APO, ang isa sa mga haligi ng OPM! I will miss you.

  3. noname says:

    was in high school in late 70s when i got my first APO album. moved overseas soon after that. i never got to see a live APO concert or TV show. but thanks to youtube i’m now able to watch some clips of your performance although the quality is not very good. sanAPO meron kayong DVD! an APO documentary plus a live performance on DVD would be nice. or is there one already and i just don’t know about it? anyway, i wish all of you all the best in your future endeavours. and thanks for the music—everybody has a cherished “lumang tugtugin” and APO has given me mine.

  4. Ruth says:

    Hi Sir Jim,

    I first watched an APO concert back when I was still in high school in UPLB. My friends and I tremendously enjoyed it. I remain your loyal fan to this day as do my eldest son who’s a teenager now.

    Before you finally leave the entertainment scene as a group, I’d like to echo the sentiments of the comment before mine … please leave us with a DVD that would let us remember APO by. I’m sure a lot of us would repeatedly watch that to continue enjoying your songs in the coming years. I hope to catch one of your shows before May.

    Blessings 🙂

  5. Atty. Cecille Burayag says:

    Can you bring the TCU here in the South? I want to join but the venue is incompatible with where I’m staying now-Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

  6. BabyPink says:

    I’ve been hearing about the news of APO’s disbanding since the day it was made known and I’ve read this blog entry of yours many times, but I just couldn’t get myself to comment or send you a message about it. It’s just heart-breaking for me. This is the first time that I’m actually facing it and saying something about it.

    APO has been a part of my life like no other band/group has. You’ve always given me happiness like no other performers have. Remember the first time I saw you in concert? I wrote about that in my blog. I cried the moment you, guys, came out on stage. I’m sure there are lots of people out there like me.

    I know, too, that no matter what I do or say, I can’t stop the disbanding. So, instead of continuously feeling sorry and crying (every time I think about it), I think it’d be better if I basically become positive about all this. APO will disband, but, at least, there was an APO! Thank you for all your songs and wonderful music. Thank you for the happiness and the company and inspiration you, through your music, provided whenever I felt alone and defeated. Thank you for everything, Sir Jim. Please extend my heartfelt thanks to Boboy and Danny.

    The APO Hiking Society will live on… 🙂

  7. Negrosbabe says:

    Please come visit us again in Bacolod, I was out when you did a show here. I felt bad about that because I had wanted the children to experience APO.

    Hindi ko alam kung pano ipaparating sa inyo ang halu-halong lungkot, panghihinayang pero higit sa lahat pasasalamat. Bawat kanta nyo, themesong ng bawat yugto ng buhay ko (lalo na ang Awit ng Barkada). mula 9 years old hanggang sa na-remake na ang mga kanta nyo.. yes, 40 years may seem long, but for who we consider as family/friends, parang wala atang time limit…

    Sabi ko nga sana ako na lang si Juday, napakalaking karangalan na maharana ninyo sa kasal.. hehe.

    nagkasama po kami ni Danny sa EDSA 2, at minsan na rin kayong sumagot sa e-mail ko tungkol sa Handog ng Pilipino youtube video…Regards na rin kay Buboy…

    salamat ng marami…

    tuloy lang ang laban..at ang musika..

  8. Czar Lorenzo says:

    APO’s music is timeless. I remember singing along to “Batang-bata ka pa” when the APO sang that song in an episode of Batibot. Dun ko yata first na-discover ang musika ng APO. I became a fan ever since.

    It’s sad na APO’s disbanding, pero I guess 40 years worth of music is enough to last us a lifetime. Good luck and good riddance to Sir Jim, Sir Buboy and Sir Danny. Thank you for the music and the memories.

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