Tired but happy

Danny, Boboy and I just finished our 10th and final show for this last tour which took us through Zamboanga, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Tacloban, Davao, and of course Manila. The last stretch (Tacloban and Davao) were particularly tiring. We left on an early flight last friday to do the show in Tacloban on the same day. The show finished close to twelve midnight and as luck would have it, my room was close to the lobby with a band playing till the wee hours and so I hardly had any sleep. I was up at 5 to catch our flight to Davao which took us first to Manila before enplaining for Davao. Crazy schedules.

We were exhausted by the time we reached Davao. We slept in the afternoon to be functional enough to do the concert at Central Bank that evening. Once again, we fiished close to 12 midnight and I tried to catch some sleep before waking up at 5AM to catch my flight to Manila. With the help of a sleeping pill which I try not to rely on, I was able to doze off a bit. The worse part was that waking up early to get on an early flight did not pay off since PAL was three hours late! Ugh!!!

All in all though, it was a great stretch. Doing concerts for APO’s old crowd and the ever-increasing younger set that watch us now is always rewarding. It feels good to have our songs appreciated after all these years especially by the next generation who seem to find us three old men ‘amazing’.

But despite the adulation, I still felt lonely quite often during this visit to Manila. Perhaps it was only the moments on stage that freed me from the loneliness I felt being away from Sydney where my family is. For some reason, it is quite easy to feel the reassuring ‘THIS is all there is’ mantra while I am performing that keeps me present to the moment. Maybe it’s because the unfolding repertoire makes being present and impermanence easier to appreciate. I am literally just enjoying the fleeting fame.

Loneliness in Manila has a different flavor compared to the loneliness I feel when traveling elsewhere. When I am touring America or Europe or any other place, the newness and unfamiliarity of the places we go to makes loneliness more bearable. It does not cut the way loneliness in Manila feels like. Being in my house which I shared with loved ones before, and now finding it empty is painful and melancholic. A consolation though is the whole changed scenery makes one pause and ruminate more about life and impermanence which are great spiritual agitations that remind us we are on the path. Pero mahirap pa rin.

Writing is both a curse and a beam of grace. Before I actually start writing my weekly article for Philippine Star, I notice a heaviness building up in me. I am beset with fear, doubt and inertia about writing. I am stumped by the perenial questions most writers face which is, what to write about. What do I really want to say? But often, the moment I sit down and commit to write, something does happen. It’s like inspiration always shows up when we go through the trouble of asking Her to. And yet, the fact that it happens 99% of the time is not reassuring enough for me. Often, we fixate on the 1% that things will go wrong. I guess that’s the accompanying angst that writers go through. It’s a paradox. Without the accompanying doubt, the beam of grace like the cavalry that comes to the rescue, is worthless.

I am exhausted physically. Lately, because of the number of shows, I have not been getting enough quality sleep. And I actually get mild anxiety attacks about not being able to sleep enough. What if I am not rested and can’t sing well the next day? What if I get sick? Full of ‘what ifs’. I know those fears are there because I project too much into the future which is not yet. Only centering myself in the present helps me. And yet the thing is, I don’t even remember to do it qucikly enough when my anxieties start. But at least I do remember eventually each time and only then manage to get some rest.

— A pleasant surprise greeted me in Tacloban. I got a hero’s welcome when we visited the STEFTI school. Five years earlier, I gave a team building workshop to a group of teachers, administrators of a renowned school there who had decided to go on their own and establish a new school with the values and goals that resonated with them. It was a time of uncertainty and doubt then as they struggled to find the star to guide their collective journey. My job then was to facilitate a workshop that helped them with their Vision/mission and action statements.

Five years later, they invited APO to see what they had established– a new school with a sizeable enrollment and an impressive academic standing nationally. STEFTI placed second in the NAMCYA nation-wide 3 years ago. It was heartwarming to see this community so vibrant and full of life in Tacloban. They presented dance and song numbers and then honored me specifically with a board resolution proclaiming me as a member of the school.

In the midst of all the hoopla and gratitude they showered, I was beaming inside because I knew that the workshop did amount to a great outcome. I was so grateful to have been part of something that gave birth to something wonderful.

A memorably funny thing happened when we got to the Zamboanga leg of the tour three weeks ago. We got off the plane and walked to the airport and were greeted by military personal with long arms who I suppose were there to guard the airport. As we entered the terminal, we could here them sing ,
‘Heo na, Heto na, Heto na..’ and they sang all the way to the refrain of Doobidoo.

We had definitely arrived! ha ha ha.

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anne
anne
14 years ago

The guards singing is definitely priceless. It shows how much joy you have brought to the lives of so many. I visited friends in Lorton last Friday and blasting on the IPOD dock was “Pumapatak na naman ang ulan…” What is even more surprising was his 12 year old daughter singing along with every word. This girl was born and raised here in the States and you still put the joy singing in her heart. After Miami i swore i would promote APO again so here i am. Promoting “Kumustahan sa Amerika 2007” I was told I will be hosting you guys for dinner HAHAHA it will be a blast but I hope my stepmom whose cooking you guys adored almost 3 years ago will come up to help me with this one. She sounded optimistic on the phone but after being diagnosed with cancer soon after your Miami gig, she hasn’t really been traveling much. But she may actually come up to Washington DC just to be here for your music. You do make a lot of people happy. Your work is very much appreciated, thank you. I hope to see you again soon in May.

anne
xianghua71@yahoo.com

pen
pen
14 years ago

Kudos to your tour!

Hehe, it’s funny reading about your what-ifs and worrying about not getting enough sleep. I am so annoyed when that happens to me, and it has never failed me whenever I need to do something big the next day. How does that centering work?

I sang your song “Pumapatak na naman ang Ulan” to my German and Italian friends =) they were prodding me to sing one when they declared ‘cultural night’ in one of the nights we spent together. It was the first thing that came to mind coz it’s been raining for some days. They loved it and I got one of them to study Tagalog in her Uni in Frankfurt. =) Pretty cool.

Doo-bidoo-bidoo, bidoo-beeedo, bidoo-waaaah!

Cheers!

lance
lance
14 years ago

that was really exhausting. but heck! what is exhaustion compared to satisfaction upon completing a tour.

and the fact that APO is still widely appreciated, and their music never dies. your music never did.

manong jim, let me have a simple advertisement. this isnt for me, but for the country.

dont forget to vote for KABATAAN PARTY LIST
watch the party list video with angel locsin, dennis trillo and other youth icons HERE

lance
lance
14 years ago

salamat po. salamat sa maraming taon ng pag papaligaya at pag bibigay kulay sa buhay ng mga tao sa pamamagitan ng inyong musika. kayo talaga ang mga icon na hinding-hindi maluluma at makakalimutan. nasa puso kayo ng lahat ng tao.

Jim
Jim
14 years ago

anne–sorry to hear about your mom. May our performance bring her some good times. Glad that you wrote.

pen–centering is accepting that one is ONLY in the moment. When that happens, what’s there to worry about? ‘What ifs’ disappear. What remains is ‘what is’.

lance–thanks for the info. I want to give good people a chance to serve.

Jaja
Jaja
14 years ago

oh true!writer’s block is a bitch!pardon my french.inspiration comes at inopportune times, like taking a shower.LOL!that’s why i always have pen and paper in hand in case something comes up.

loraine
loraine
14 years ago

sana, minsan visit naman ang APO dito sa NZ. bigyan nyo ng kulay at ingay ang buhay ng mga Kiwi! for sure, isa ako sa mga uunag pipila. =)

Adrian
Adrian
14 years ago

Re: loneliness in Manila

Perhaps you felt “homesick at home” that’s why it was strange?

And it’s true that in times of loneliness there are still consolations. It makes us stronger especially when we use it as an opportunity to reflect on the more important things in life.


“At kung meron kang tatawagan
Trenta sentimos ika’y makakaltasan”

🙂

Jim
Jim
14 years ago

jaja–totoo! I get inspiration at the oddest times. I’ve written a song during a bus ride.

loraine–NZ is definitely a must-visit-again place. We were there 4 years ago and it was a highlight in our career.

adrian-hindi na ‘treinta sentimos’. We actually say ‘Phonecard nalang”. ha ha.

loraine
loraine
14 years ago

OIC… sana nga bumalik kayo dito sa NZ. Almost a year pa lang kami dito kaya I did not know that you’ve already conquered the Kiwis. =)

Nicholas
Nicholas
14 years ago

Now that’s what I call a hectic schedule…

Regarding your sleeping pill.

It reminds of an anecdote.

“I don’t feel as old as my age (forties), in fact I feel as if I’m still in my twenties… then, I look in my medicine cabinet, with all the pain pills, sleeping pills, and other medications, and I am suddenly brought back to reality”

Thehellyoucare
Thehellyoucare
14 years ago

Hi Jim,

I feel for you. The very first cassette tape I bought was APO’s the next was The carpenters.

It gives me a sense of connection to my childhood everytime I hear your old versions.

Probably, what I feel everytime may somehow close to what you feel in Manila.

Keep writing. It makes me sane.

Thehellyoucare
Thehellyoucare
14 years ago

God bless.

Jim
Jim
14 years ago

loraine–sana nga makabalik kami. I think NZ is a great country and more beautiful than Oz.

nicholas– yup. An ageing body sucks. That’s why it’s important to sgtay healthy.

thehellyoucare–You inspire me to write knowing part of your sanity hangs in the balance. I will continue writing.

sonia
sonia
14 years ago

>Dear Jim,
>The children (and the not so young) still haven’t gotten over the visit of the APO Hiking Society to STEFTI. Thanks again for obliging us.
>I recall that we talked about the possibility of your coming over as Commencement Speaker. Our Grade Six will hold their graduation on April 1, 2007 at 4:30 p.m. We wonder if you would be available during this time – something like giving the school a booster dose of the Jim Paredes effect.
>Thank you and God bless you and the APO Hiking Society – and your respective families.

>Sincerely,
>SONIA C. PALAMI

sonia
sonia
14 years ago

>Dear Jim,
>The children (and the not so young) still haven’t gotten over the visit of the APO Hiking Society to STEFTI. Thanks again for obliging us.
>I recall that we talked about the possibility of your coming over as Commencement Speaker. Our Grade Six will hold their graduation on April 1, 2007 at 4:30 p.m. We wonder if you would be available during this time – something like giving the school a booster dose of the Jim Paredes effect.
>Thank you and God bless you and the APO Hiking Society – and your respective families.

>Sincerely,
>SONIA C. PALAMI

michael roy
10 years ago

just want to say hi. and hope you have a wonderful day ahead of you. 🙂