The Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society, popularly known as Apo Hiking Society or simply Apo, is a Filipino musical group (and contrary to popular belief, the "Apo" in the group's name is not Mount Apo). Formed in 1969, the group was originally composed of 13 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, all students from the Ateneo de Manila high school. Danny Javier joined the group when they were in college. After they graduated in college, the other group members eventually left the group to pursue their own careers. Only three members, made up of Jim Paredes, Boboy Garovillo and Danny Javier, remain and continued performing.
During the span of their career, Apo has been one of the primary adherents to the Original Pilipino Music or OPM music movement and have made several contributions for the said movement. The Apo is also involved in record production, talent management and even organizing artists under the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM). The group is also instrumental in establishing careers of new artists in the Philippines.
Apo Hiking Society has made 22 record albums in the first three decades of the group's career in the Philippine music industry, and has made a few more through the years. Two tribute albums have also been made, honoring its contribution to OPM music in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
The group regularly uses the "Apo" in their name as a Tagalog pun for their albums, shows, and marketing materials - most commonly as nA PO, which means "already" (polite/formal), but also as ap? (grandchild) and other possible applications in English (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 recenyly 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 two-night concert on September 25 and 26.
"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.