Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Archive for January 23rd, 2010

Breaking up is hard to do 8

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.

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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.

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

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