The show goes on for APO’s Jim and Boboy

Nathalie M. Tomada - The Philippine Star
The show goes on for APOâs Jim and Boboy
Apo Hiking Society’s Jim Paredes (left) and Boboy Garrovillo headline the Valentine’s concert All Heart on Feb. 14, 8:30 p.m., at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
Photo from Jim Paredes’ Instagram

Jim Paredes and Boboy Garrovillo looked back on their favorite memories with the late Danny Javier, and how the “fun and friendship” from 50 years ago led to them becoming the iconic trio APO Hiking Society.

“Too many but since we’re in front of Ateneo, we met Danny in the counselor’s room, he was a new student, we were from Ateneo High School, and Basil Valdez was there. We would just sing spontaneously. It was a great memory,” Jim told The STAR during an interview held at a restaurant fronting Ateneo de Manila University, where it all began for them back in 1969. “Initially, Danny was attracted to Basil kasi parehos yung choice of songs nila. Tapos, biglang nag-gravitate si Danny towards us.”

Boboy shared, “We didn’t know Danny was older than us. He was ahead by four years… Ang nakakatuwa kay Danny talaga, when we started, we were playing the guitar, but nung humawak na siya ng gitara, sobrang mas magaling pa siya sa amin. You know, Danny even played the banjo. We thought to ourselves, ‘Who’s this person? Mukhang magaling ‘to.’ So, he became our barkada.”

“He was also able to arrange a party between our class and the girls in the international school so we became very popular,” Jim recalled. “So, our song Saan Na Nga Ba’ng Barkada, (with the lyrics), ‘Nagsimula ang lahat sa iskwela…’ that was really it. That’s how we started.”

Jim and Boboy hinted at plans for a tribute show to Danny this 2023, which happens to be the 50th year since APO performed professionally.

In October 2022, Danny died from “complications due to prolonged illnesses,” his family’s statement said. He was 75.

Jim and Boboy are aware that people expected them to do a tribute of sorts last December when they mounted an intimate yet full-house show at 19 East.

Boboy said, “19 East was planned way, way before. Then Danny got seriously sick and he passed,” adding that it was “too small of a show to be a tribute to Danny.”

Jim and Boboy during the presscon for the upcoming show with Raymond Lauchengco, Ito Rapadas, Wency Cornejo, Roselle Nava and Joe D’Mango.
Photo by Nathalie Tomada

They also avoided interviews afterwards because “we didn’t want to talk about it,” Boboy admitted. “Because even if I’m in showbiz… ayokong gamitin yung pagkamatay ng isang kaibigan mo para mag-promote ng something.”

According to Jim, “For us, the death of Danny wasn’t a surprise. For the people out there, it was a shock because they had no idea he was sick… Even during the campaign, people were expecting Danny was going to show up, but it was impossible. I mean, you can’t make him wait in a dressing room the way he was, and stand up and sing there like, ‘I’m okay,’ and everything.’ Hindi talaga pwede, so we were just avoiding it.

“But even if we expected it, masakit pa rin. We’re kind of very depressed.

“But I remember, when we were thinking of a title, we knew Danny had a sense of humor. So crazy time, we’re catching up like that… ‘APO Minus One,’ sabi ko, Danny would appreciate this, but not our audience, they’re still mourning, so ‘wag muna.’”

Nevertheless, a tribute may happen, not yet in their next show as headliners of the Valentine’s concert All Heart, on Feb. 14, 8:30 p.m., at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), but still this year.

“People are expecting some time that we are going to have something, that we will have a little tribute for a loved one. So, this year, we will probably come up with something like that,” Boboy hinted.

Boboy and Jim began performing together about two years after APO “officially retired” in 2010. It all started with an invitation to sing at Ateneo, followed by requests to perform at weddings.

“It was difficult to start with. Jim and I were even asking, ‘Who’s going to do the lead voice of Danny?’ Danny’s voice is one of a kind. So effort kami ngayon. We’re thankful that we’re still healthy enough that we can still project our voice na lumabas naman na tunog APO pa rin,” Boboy said.

But since it’s impossible to render their songs as a “duo,” they’ve been getting backup singers to guarantee the signature APO sound. “It’s unfair if ‘di naman lumabas ang tunog na APO, which is really the harmony. We’ve worked on that. The two voices will always be there, but we always need a third,” said Boboy.

Jim is grateful that even if there are only two of them onstage, their songs can carry them throughout a show.

“We’re very grateful to say this that even if it is just the two of us onstage or even if I’m just alone, the moment a song starts, it’s sing-along already because people know our stuff,” he said.

“It’s our song that carries us now. When you have a new recording, you carry the song because people know you. ‘This is an APO song, let’s listen to this.’ When the song gets popular, even if there’s only one APO or two APO singing it, the song has a life of its own.

“We are thankful we have many songs like that. That’s why we’re still around.”

Just like what happened at 19 East. Jim said that while they knew they had fans, the “worst moment I imagined (because) we’re not on the radar, we’re not being played on radio, we’re not on TV.”

“When I went there, I thought, buti nalang small (venue) ito. If we don’t do well, it’s alright. But the reception was so amazing. Every song was a sing-along,” he shared.

Expect the same at their All Heart show since they’ve selected their best and “sweetest” love songs for their repertoire.

The STAR had to ask Boboy and Jim to name three of their favorite love songs.

In response, Jim mentioned When I Met You, which took months to finish. “There was a flow the moment I wrote the song, ‘There I was… You gave me a reason for my being… And it all began when I met you…’ Stop. I didn’t continue. Seven months later, when I played it, pumasok yung… ‘You taught me how to love.’ Dun ko lang natapos (because) you can’t dictate inspiration. You just have to catch it.”

Boboy, on the other hand, shared the story behind Paano. When he wrote the song, people asked him why he came up with it when he was already married.

He explained, “May nakilala kasi ako na babae na nasaktan talaga at naghiwalay sa love niya. She was so angry with men she didn’t want to fall in love again.”

“I was thinking, that must really hurt, kawawa naman. If I were to court someone like that girl, it would be difficult, right? Hurt na hurt, tapos kailangan mong kausap… That’s why there’s a line there, ‘Subukan mong magmahal o giliw ko.’”

Jim is also proud of the group’s heartbreak songs such as Tuyo ng Damdamin.

“A friend of mine called me and told me his wife had left him,” Jim shared.

“He said, ‘I can’t fake it anymore. There’s nothing left.’ I wrote that in Tagalog, ‘Kahit anong gawin ‘di mo na mapilit at madaya. Aminin sa sarili mo na wala ka ng mabubuga.’

“So, I thought every group should have a great heartbreak song. That’s why I wrote that.”

APO’s hits, now classics, from over 25 albums continue to weave their OPM magic, even revived and reworked by younger artists.

“We didn’t try to be whatever artists of the Philippines. We wanted to write the theme songs of the love lives of ordinary Filipinos. I think that caught on because that’s real,” Jim reflected.

“For me, in this world, you either set the trend or you chase it. When you chase a trend and the trend is at an end, you’re at an end. In our case, parang we just wrote what we felt. The feeling was organic. When it’s organic, it’s real. Mas kakapit sa tao because you are not trying to get stylized. You are not being pretentious or anything like that. That’s one element, I think.”

“(It’s like) you’re a traveler and others ask you what direction you’re going, you point to the mountain. Sundan mo lang ‘yung bundok. In our case, without us planning it, kami ‘yung naging bundok. We’re lucky.”

Meanwhile, when asked by The STAR about any plans of re-releasing or re-recording old songs, they shared that they hoped to showcase their “non-hits” in a concert.

“To be honest, marami kaming songs na hindi naging hit. We’ve talked about doing a show where we will do our ‘never-heard’ songs. Yung mga songs namin na baka na-mintis niyo lang and this time, when you hear it, ‘Ay o nga. Bakit hindi nag-hit ‘yan?’,” Boboy said.

“Jim calls those songs our ‘misses.’ Not our misis (wives), but our misses — songs that got away. There’s one song that Danny did, wrote and recorded but we never actually sang it. It’s a very jazzy number and it tells everything about the person that’s Danny. That song is Care.

“In time, I’m sure Jim and I will find a way of bringing up these old songs that you missed and we will give them back to you.”

(Tickets to All Heart, which also features Raymond Lauchengco, Ito Rapadas, Wency Cornejo, Roselle Nava and Joe D’Mango, are available via Ticketworld with prices ranging from P700 to P7,500.)



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