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APO Hiking Society holds series of farewell concerts on February to May

Philippine music icons The APO Hiking Society is holding a series of farewell concerts on February to May after four decades of great music and timeless hits that melted the heart of many music lovers and fans.

The ageless trio of Danny Javier, Jim Paredes and Buboy Garovillo, who comprise the APO Hiking Society sang the hit songs “Blue Jeans” and “Pumapatak na naman ang ulan” (The rain is falling again) and “Awit ng Barkada” (Song of the Gang).

They worked under the labels of Vicor Music, JEM Recording and Universal Records Philippines.

Paredes, Garrovillo and Javier, the ageless triumvirate of the ‘70s and ‘80s pop music, announced during a recent press conference they are bidding farewell to the music scene with their series of shows from February until the end of May as their final curtain call.

“This last stretch, we will really like to see as many as you. The best shows we’ve ever done in our career will happen right now in our last stretch. We are coming to an end,” Paredes told reporters.

The APO members said it wasn’t an easy decision to disband. They said it took almost a year of rigorous deliberations before they finally agreed that it is time for the group to leave the music industry.

“Through the years, our creative process is decreasing. That’s how APO was created 40 years ago. We asked ourselves where we are going ? What did the group started way back ? This is it, the creative process is gone, ” Garrovillo said.

“The performances will always be the same. We still enjoy performing. But we will do it over and over again and there’s nothing new and we’ll get bored. Before we get bored, let’s put a timetable to it,” he added.

They also took note their last five albums were unsuccessful. “It’s knowing when to leave and not to overstay your welcome forty years. I think is a very good time,” Javier said.

APO made 27 record albums, hosted several television shows, including their own noontime Sunday show “Sa Linggo nAPO Sila” over ABS-CBN and launched hugely successful major solo concerts and countless provincial, dinner, and corporate shows.

The group performed in over 50 cities in the United States, Canada, Singapore, Indonesia, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Japan.

The legendary trio was also behind the all time favorite songs “Batang-bata Ka Pa,” (You’re still young), “Kabilugan ng Buwan,” (Full Moon), “Di Na Natuto” (You never Learn) and “When I Met You.”

Their Valentine concert, dubbed as the “Last Valentine nAPO,” on February 13 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City will kick off this “last stretch of performances.” Actress-comedienne K Brosas will be their special guest.

Garrovillo, however, clarified: “Don’t think when APO retires, the people behind APO will also retire. No. It’s the name of the APO Hiking Society which will retire.”

Paredes said he will continue to write and collaborate with other singers. For Javier’s part, he will let fate take its course. “I believe in the saying life begins after you make your plans. So, I don’t plan. I’ll just let it begin.”

He is engaged in photojournalism and writes a photography column in Manila Bulletin.

Javier said he is taking a break from music. “I have a son who is very talented and very serious about music. I will have to check out what he’s doing without my influence so he can go on his own,” he said.

The Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society, later popularly known as Apo Hiking Society or, simply, Apo, had its beginnings in 1969 at the the Ateneo de Manila high school.

They comprised of 13 members namely Lito de Joya, Sonny Santiago, Gus Cosio, Renato Garcia, Chito Kintanar, Kenny Barton, Bruce Brown, Butch Dans, Kinjo Sawada, Ric Segreto, Goff Macaraeg, Doden Besa, Jim Paredes, and Boboy Garrovillo.

The group’s name was an irreverent reference to the paralytic Philippine revolutionary intellectual and hero, Apolinario Mabini, and later shortened to “Apo”, an Ilocano term for a wise man, and later re-branded to “APO”.

As the students advanced into college, Danny Javier joined the group. After graduation, the majority of its members left to pursue individual careers, with only three members remaining: Paredes, Garovillo and Javier.

In the span of their professional career, Apo emerged as a principal adherent of the musical movement termed Original Pilipino Music (OPM), a milieu in which their original musical contributions and cultural influence became essential.

The Apo became involved in record production, talent management and organizing artists under the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (O.P.M., acronym translation: “Organization of Philippine Singers/musicians”).

The group expanded its activities into establishing and furthering the careers of new OPM artists in the Philippines.

Two hugely successful tribute albums were produced in 2006 and 2007 by its management group, featuring numerous young bands freshly reinterpreting Apo’s expansive repertoire.

The group frequently utilized their brand name, “Apo”, as a clever component for Tagalog puns in titles for television shows, live pragrams and marketing materials (for example, as in nA PO, which transliterates as “already” (polite/formal usage), and also as apó (meaning, “grandchild”). The puns have been minimally extended into English, as in (APOcalyptic). (PNA Features)

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