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2006, the year that was..

The year 2006 was, to put it mildly, a real milestone for our family. It started with Lydia and I going to Sydney to prepare for our long delayed family migration. We rented a house, bought appliances and by March, we had all moved as a family to the Western suburbs of Sydney in Kellyville. Prior to leaving, word was out that APO was kinda splitting up (not true but we took advantage. Ha ha) and so we had a series of very successful shows called The APO Experience which ran a number of times to a full house each time.

We are officially residents of Australia now---Ala, Lydia and Mio especially since they have stayed here the longest. Erica, Ananda and I were able to go back to Manila and stay for 4 months.

I left for Manila last Aug. 13 to fulfill some APO obligations and to begin my stint as Headmaster in the very successful reality TV show called Pinoy Dream Academy. At first, I turned down the show but was glad that I gave it a second look. The show was highly successful and was some sort of milestone in Philippine Television. I am proud to have been a part of it.

This year also saw a resurgence of APO’s music which was brought about with a tribute done by the bands to us. Called KaminAPO Muna, the CD of 18 songs turned gold in 6 days and is now working its way to a 4th platinum. It continues to be no.1 in sales and in ringtone downloads. It has 5 music videos all from one album, The good news is a part 2 is underway to be released early next year. What it has done for APO’s career is that it has revived it to the point that young people are once again attending our concerts! APO continues to be booked heavily for the coming months.

Danny, Boboy and I were also lucky to have performed in  Melbourne and Sydney last July, Guam and in Saipan last October and do many shows the past few months in the Philippines. We are gearing up for many more shows this February and in April in North America.

This year is also monumental for us as a family since we have bought a house in Glenwood that Lydia and the kids have turned into a real home.

Meanwhile, our house in Loyola was spared from a big fire that raised our next door neighbor Chinchin’s house to the ground. We are grateful for that but quite distressed  at the same time, seeing Chinchin, her mom Ching and their two maids suffer the loss of everything they have.

Another milestone for me is the fact that I am now  a columnist for the Philippine Star and basing it on the number of letters I get, I guess I am becoming popular as a writer.

Mio is now on his senior year. Ala was accepted at the University of Sydney for her masters in Developmental Studies. Erica started a new clothing business in Manila and in Sydney. Lydia’s health continues to hold out pretty well and for that we are very thankful

2006 has been a year of discovery, trials and triumphs for everyone of us.

From all of us, we wish you the peace that Jesus brought into the world. May this Christmas find you basking in the love of your families and loved ones. And may the new year awaken you to more than what you have tasted of life.

Hooked on the net and writing!

OK. I know this lj has been pretty much abandoned the past few weeks. Actually it is not. I just don't want the pressure of having to write regularly on it. At first that was my intention but since I already get that from writing a weekly column for Philippine Star, I don't feel the need to do it here.

God, I've been writing a lot. Or at least it seems like it. I have my blog, my column, this, and all the email that I answer. I really try to answer all the letters I get. From the Star column alone, that's about 10 to 30 a week depending on the subject. Add another 15 minimum from my blogs per new entry. Then there are the egroups I belong to and friends and relatives, etc. Ang dami.

I opened a Friendster account about a few years ago. Why? I do not know. Silly me! I do not really pay attention to it and I do accept practically all requests to be friends. I have only rejected about two or three for the simple reason that the guy sent a naked picture and said he lusted for me. ha ha ha !! The other two did not even have the decency to put a real pic. They put famous artists' pics instead. So much for that.

I also have a multiply account which I have neglected for the most part. I visited it last night and have decided to revive it and make it an active site with pictures and music. I put in Pinoy Dream Academy pics last night and after a few hours, I noticed so many had viewed the pics already.

I visit the APO page often too and read the forum and answer what needs to be answered. I also am the one who updates it with news and stuff. I do believe I spend an inordinate amount of time on the net.

I do need a life, and one good reason why I should get some is so that I can write about it. Gosh, I'm really hooked on writing!


Got back from Guam and Saipan last night. Was bone tired when I got home. The flights going to and from Saipan have really inconvenient schedules. They are 3 AM which means you do not get any sleep at all since you will have to be at the airport at least an hour before flight. Make that two since they don't have an x-ray machine which means every bag is inspected manually. Amazing!

Today I was at PDA in the afternoon to do my monday classes. I give them classes on creativity and some tips on how to become more functional as artists (as opposed to 'dysfunctional'). I also had to have one on one talks with some of them. Nothing really serious. Just clearing the air on some issues. I won't tell you what we talked about since I do not wish to spoil your viewing pleasure.

I got a very excited text from Lydia an hour ago to say that they finally have broadband. Wooo hooo!! Sa wakas. Now everyone can go online at tyhe same time. ha ha. For awhile they were all getting cranky sincfe they could not share pics and even go online whenever they wanted. I'm glad life in the new house is normalizing.

It's signal no.3 in most of Luzon today. They say the storm will be quite fierce. I woke up to string rain and winds today. So far nothing spectacular is going on but let's wait. I may not even have internet connection later. Who knows?


Nothing much to write.  I am basically just filling up this page to keep this lj from becoming stale. Alas, no muse seems to be cominhg to coax me out of this shallow ladida I am in. Ha ha. Actually, I am writing this while taking a breather from an essay I am doing for a major newspaper. I am now  a weekly columnist. No I won't tell you what paper it is until the first essay comes out.

Eto na muna. The other column is far more meaty and interesting. Will probably put it on my blog once it comes out in the papers na.

the joy of creating

Had a good zen sit this morning. After I woke up, I went straight to my pillows and did my 25 minute meditation. It was a good one. I felt I sort of touched on the core of impermanence as I tried to make sense of all the emotional turmoil that the kids in PDA are experiencing since 4 of them are nominated for expulsion. They  are all having a hard time coming to terms with it maybe because it's the first time someone is actually leaving, but more because they have already bonded and can't bear to think they will lose one other.

While the emotional storms are deeply felt, I realised during my sit that like all things that they have ever experienced, this present one iincluded is just as transitory as any other moment. This too shall pass. That's the real, bigger  story on top of what seems to be THE story of one of them leaving.   All that crying and drama, truly a tempest in a teapot.  Of course none of them know it yet. I hope I can convey to them this message and muster compassion for them  to deal with the pain of their own illusions.

Today, our topic is songwriting and I will convey to them that the only thing that they have and is real is the present moment. The past is dead and gone and the future is not here yet, and may not arrive. Besides, the future and past are a series of now points also and that's all anyone really has.

And what does this have to do with songwriting? Everything. In the present is where all creation happens. You HAVE to be present to create. And when one is not bogged down by past worries and future anxieties, one can come from a very creative moment of presence. That's the time we create REAL joy  which nothing, not even this TV set-up with all its artificial rules can take away. Last night I was talking to some of them and i was telling them that the best creations spring from the joy of being and expressing oneself and not as a response to the market out there. We create not to be liked, admired, praised or bought but because it is what you are all about. It's as simple as that.  Being admired annd liked may or may not happen. It's not important for an artist to worry about it. Once you get to that pure intention of creating--the moment without the expectations and the idea of pleasing others, then you create beauty. I will emphasize on that later.
It 's quite a relief to hear from Lydia that they got the hot water running in the house thanks to good friends who fixed it They also have internet although it's still gonna be a dial-up service until about three days. They also have TFC. Lydia watched her first episode of PDA awhile ago and she saw me. She was waiting for the Sharon Cuneta replay but it was replaced with a 9-11 docu. Baka mamaya.

Today was a good day. Had a simple day. I was beginning to feel the tension at the PDA house since the
reality of one of them leaving by saturday is sinking in. I gave them a workshop on how to deal with
disappointment. I hope these kids can handle the pressure. If they can't then they have little chance of
surviving in showbiz, although admittedly, all this attention their getting this early is a lot of pressure. The best we can do is to ease it a little. My goal here is for them to look back at the PDA experience as a growth spurt for them regardless of whether they complete the course or not. All in all it should be a positive experience.

i need it too

This is my worse bout with loneliness yet. I feel so helpless that I am not in Sydney while Lydia, Ala and Mio are having a hard time getting things going in the new house. They can't even get the heater, internet going. It is so frustrating for me to get an update on what's wrong and I can't do anything about it.
I just wanna get on a plane and be there but I lknow I can't I just need to vent out, I guess! Bwisit!

I stayed in my room just lying on my bed. I couldn't even sleep since I was getting too many calls from everyone about this and that. I just ended up watching the room get dark. Masarap din pala magmmukmok.

I need to seriously get into something I really like to do for my sanity. I hope I can get a shoot going this coming week. Tomorrow am back to PDA to conduct a workshop. I think I will make wednesday's workshop for tomorrow. I had scheduled a workshop on handling disappointment and rejection on wednesday but I think the kids need it already by monday. Four of them are up for expulsion already. Besides, I think I need it too.

On a happy note, APO had a great show at Angeles yesterday. Good crowd and lots of fun. We have another one on Friday at Allegria. I can't wait for THAT!


Today, my family in Sydney is moving house under heavy rain. This is the second time this happens to us. The first time was when we moved to our first  house in Fairview QC. It was a September also and it was pouring. Our beds and appliances, all being carried on an open truck were soaking by the time we got to the  house. I guess we can expect the same again.

The good news though was that the Fairview house was such a wonderful home for us. It was a time of family bliss and  wonder. It was probably because we moved to the first house we had ever purchased. I am betting that this new house in Sydney will be the same for us. Ala and the kids had an instant good feeling about it the moment we entered. Lydia and I were a little bit more cautious since we are the ones paying for it, I guess.  I can see many happy moments there, including long, late night conversations over the kitchen counter.  It's raining too. Rain is also a sure sign things will be good for APO. One of our biggest hits after all is Pumapatak Ang Ulan.

I can't wait to get home. Last night I dreamt of a very beautiful Lydia by side. She was smiling and just beaming beside me. This morning as I did my morning sits, I concentrated on creating space so that life can come in unimpeded and so my love can come out unconditionally. I sent out lots of love everywhere, especiall to my family.

My job in Pinoy Dream Academy can get quite complicated. I am beginning to deal with some of the personal problems of the kids now. I will soon have to help them deal with the elimination process when it begins next week. I started last night when I reminded them that it was going to get harder the coming weeks. They all fell silent. They have all bonded so much and I guess the prospect of losing one another is distressing. I hope to make it a kinder world for them by helping them cope with the trials of it as best they can. I have two seesions with them this week. One will be about rejection and how to face it. But in the end, they WILL have to face it. Such is life.

I have a show today in Pampanga with APO. I can't wait. We are gonna rock the place!


I fell for it again. The last time was when I turned 40 when Lydia gave me a surprise party. Tonight, Lydia, through Erica did it again. When we went to my in-laws purportedly to pick up Dada and join the Camposes fopr dinner at the Fort,  I was suddenly greeted by family and friends with a big Happy birthday song. I was stunned and did not know how to react at first. It took a while to connect the dots  but the moment it did, I noticed Lydia's fingerprints all over the place. No doubt. It had tell-tale marks of an experienced  surprise birthday plotter! Ha ha

Lydia, salamat talaga. I have been feeling  down the whole time since I arrived here from Sydney except for a few moments with APO and PDA. I was so happy tonight to be with my sibs, my in-laws, friends and my TCU book club. It really made my day, and probably the next few days. Ha ha! Life is good and I have the best wife and family I can ever ask for.

Salamat God/Universe!

*     *     *

APO had a great concert last night at the Mall of Asia Premier Theater. It was a full house and we got two standing ovations. I noticed more young people than usual. They were brought by their parents and they probably wanted to after discovering our songs through the tribute album of the young bands to us. kaminAPO muna turned platinum a few days ago and it is not showing any signs of slowing down. Amazing! APO is on its 5th wind already. I can only be grateful. Life is full of surprises and one never knows how the cards will be dealt.

Salamat na naman.

*        *         *

happy today

Had a good afternoon today. I finsihed dubbing the Western Union Jingle. I thought I was through with it the other day but I hated it when I listened to it in the evening. This time, I am happy with my singing. It's a good song.

I hardly had sleep last night. I had an anxiety attack about the unknown, about my work here, about my family beimng in Sydney and about all the negativity that's been directed by commenters on my blog. My decision was to act on something that I could control and changed the settings on my blog  and moderate the comments and decide which goes to print. I will not put anything that is out of topic especially those who get a free ride on my blog just to express their negativity towards everyone. Today, I sat with Lauren, my producer in Dream academy to iron out certain issues that are not yet clear to me or have not been addressed. I came home early and slept awhile. I woke up feeling much better. I am sure i will sleep well tonight. It's good to actively address our concerns.

Tonight was the first time I really enjoyed a meal since I got here. I've had knots on my stomach for two weeks na probably because my family is not here. I am beginning to relax here. But my heart is Down Under pa rin!

I am glad there is such a thing as chat. I can talk to Lydia at different times of the day. And Mio and Ala too. I just can't imagine how difficult it was years ago before internet and cell phones. Puro sulat lang which took forever to reach.

This is it na muna. Just a simple entry. I feel good. I love life. This is my true equilibrium. Will think of running TCU while I am here. Probably in October.

This too shall pass..

It's been a roller coaster ride. Yesterday I woke up with the Inquirer bannering I had given up on the Philippines which got me quite distressed. I was swamped with emails of concern, anger and support. By noontime, I was in ASAP (a TV show) with my friends as we were being paid tribute to by the hottest bands in Manila. The whole show was dedicated to music we had made through three decades. It was so bizarre. On the one hand, a major newspaper is spreading venom against me and on the other, a TV show was, to put it plainly, adoring us.

Today, I was practically in front of the computer answering all these letters about the Inquirer article. It's been quite stressful. I went out awhile ago to get a massage. That felt good.

All throughout this, I've been trying to maintain a Bhuddist stance of non-attachment to everything. This troubles will not last, and fame, as I know intimately is always fleeting. The only wonder is that APO has managed time and again to shake the fame tree and enjoy its fruits. We are way past the so-called allotted 15 minutes of celebrity. We are on our 37th year already and we have the biggest, fastest selling CD today. A gold CD in 7 days! God must still be smiling on APO and our remarkably long career.

Someday, one or more of these bands will be in our place, enjoying tributes done by the younger talents to their music. I wonder if APO's music will still be played by then. Who knows? And from a Bhuddist's point of view, does it matter?



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December 2006


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