Three Decades of APO
The APO HIKING SOCIETY first gained recognition
in 1973 when they gave a farewell concert at the plush Meralco Auditorium
in Metro Manila. Just out of college, the group was the talk of
the Ateneo University and adjoining campuses for their music and
It was only when two of its four members
were about to retire from the field of amateur music, however, that
the APO, then known as the Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society, finally
had a city-wide audience. One of them was scheduled to leave for
Turkey as an exchange student. The other had a position waiting
for him in his father's advertising firm.
Why a talented young man of 21 would want
to go to Turkey, every young man in the early seventies would probably
understand. But what the APO could not understand was their fourth
member's decision to leave the irresponsibility of being unemployed
to join the ranks of the corporate world.
The trip to Turkey did not materialize and
the APO, now a tentative trio, pushed on steadily towards fame and
Looking back, the APO members Danny Javier,
Boboy Garrovillo, and Jim Paredes do not regret never having been
regular wage earners. Their farewell concert, which had SRO audiences
for two stormy nights, not unexpectedly became a hit record the
In the three decades since that "farewell"
concert, the APO has made 22 record albums; hosted several television
shows including their own noontime Sunday show "Sa Linggo nAPO
Sila"; and launched hugely successful major solo concerts and
countless provincial, dinner, and corporate shows. They have performed
in over 50 cities in the United States, in Canada, Singapore, Indonesia,
Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Japan to bring Original Pilipino
Music to Filipinos the world over.
In October of 1987, during their annual
US tour, the APO became the first Filipino pop artists to perform
at the Main Hall of New York's prestigious Carnegie Hall. They also
performed at the equally prestigious Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada's
music capital. Both concerts, as well as the other shows held during
that particular concert tour, were sold out. The APO were also the
first Filipino artists to perform in a public concert in the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia. In 1987, they were one of the first Filipino artists
to be recorded on compact disc. And in 1994, they were awarded the
first Dangal ng Musikang Pilipino by Awit Awards - the Filipino
equivalent of the Grammy. They have also been conferred the Tanglaw
Ng Lahi Award, the highest accolade given by Jesuits in the field
of culture and arts.
The APO also earned international recognition
for Jim Paredes' anthem on the bloodless Philippine revolution in
1986. "Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo" was recorded by 15
Filipino artists in April 1986. A few months later, the English
version "A New and Better Way" was launched in Australia.
In February 1987, the first anniversary of the Philippines' People
Power revolution, the song was released in London, England. The
lyrics of the song are embedded on a wall of Our Lady of Edsa Shrine,
the center of the revolution.
Original Pilipino Music