Apo Hiking Society
Manila sound, Original Pilipino Music
Quezon City, United States
Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society, later popularly known as Apo Hiking Society or, simply, Apo, was a Filipino musical group. The group had its fledgling beginnings in 1969 at the Ateneo de Manila high school, with thirteen members: 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" (all caps). (Contrary to popular belief, the "Apo" name was not a reference to the Philippine volcano, Mount 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, made up of Jim Paredes, Boboy Garovillo and Danny Javier.
In the span of their professional career, Apo emerged as a principal adherent of the musical movement termed Original Pilipino Music (a.k.a. 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.
Thus far, Apo Hiking Society had released 27 albums in four decades of its career and continues to remain active. 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 programs 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).
The APO Hiking Society first gained recognition in 1973 when they gave a farewell concert at the Meralco Theater in Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. Just out of college, the group was the talk of the Ateneo de Manila University and adjoining campuses for their music and humor.
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 fortune.
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 following year.
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 noontime show from Monday to Saturday "'Sang 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 1987, during their annual US tour, the APO became the first Filipino pop artists with Marco Sison 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.
In 1998, Legandary OPM group APO and defunct band The Eraserheads teamed up for their first "San Miguel Beer" TV commercial "Homeboys". The concept of reviving and modernizing their originals by rock/alternative bands in the 90's paved the way to two tribute albums by various bands entitled Kami nAPO Muna in 2006 and Kami nAPO Muna Ulit in 2007.
In 2007, the group was awarded as "MYX Magna Award 2007" in the MYX Music Awards 2007 achieving the best of opm pop music and also has an achievements in music and recording in the OPM history.
APO Tribute Albums
Just a few years after their hiatus, the tribute album Kami nAPO Muna!: The Music Of APO Hiking Society was released in honor of the group. The Filipino musical artists who did their own unique renditions of The APO classics includes: Imago, Orange and Lemons, Parokya Ni Edgar, Kamikazee, Sandwich, Sugarfree, Itchyworms, Sponge Cola, Boldstar, Sound, Drip, Rocksteddy, Top Suzara, Barbie Almalbis, Kitchie Nadal, Shamrock, and The Dawn. Their second volume, Kami nAPO muna Ulit has also included their new members in the compilation album are True Faith, Silent Sanctuary, Concrete Sam, Up Dharma Down, Chilitees, The Bloomfields, Scrambled Eggs, The Spaceflower Show, and Hilera.
On 20 September 2008, Apo Hiking Society had a reunion concert called "Apo Of The Philippines" which was held at the Araneta Coliseum to celebrate their 39th Anniversary. They sang all of the APO Favorites and all songs from their past releases.
On February 7, 2009, The Apo has recently performing live in FTI Complex Open Air in Taguig. The free concert was sponsored in cooperation with the Taguig City hall. The said of a concert is free. Just before the Eraserheads Final Set Concert one month later.
Apo Hiking Society is back as the group marks its 40th anniversary with a big concert at SM North EDSA Skydome dubbed as "APO Kayang-Kaya Pa. The APO, which comprises Jim Paredes, Buboy Garrovillo and Danny Javier, is set to stage a reunion & anniversary concert November 17 (Originally scheduled on September 26 it was cancelled due to Typhoon "Ondoy").
"It's going be really special for us. It's our 40th year and a lot of people have not seen us for quite a while. So, this is the reason to be there," Paredes told ABS-CBN News.
"From the 1st year to the 40th year, walang nagbago sa APO . We always provide entertainment that you will remember for a long, long time. The formula is the same. We are an original group, with original concepts and original songs that will provide you the best entertainment ever," he added.
Garrovillo shared that the concert is also a celebration of their decades old friendship. Their songs will tell a story of how Apo started, according to him.
Javier, meantime, promised that the three of them will sing songs that are close to the hearts of their fans.
"APO Kayang-Kaya Pa" was produced by Viva Concerts & Events.
Last December 16, 2009, the APO Hiking Society announced that they are already retiring as a group due to "diminishing creative process." They performed a series of shows that started on February 14, 2010 and ended on May, just in time for the elections. They also reunited for the last time to perform in the Inauguration of President Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III last June 30, 2010.