It’s never easy to say goodbye to anyone, least of all someone who has been practically an institution for decades. As the lead vocalist of the APO Hiking Society, Danny Javier’s passing is being mourned by everyone, especially the OPM community. It seems fitting, really — he coined the term himself, after all!
Today, let us celebrate his life through his unmatched body of work. As part of the APO Hiking Society and even on his own, Danny Javier spent decades serenading us, entertaining us, and leaving an indelible mark on our music and culture. Let’s remember just 8 of those amazing contributions he has made.
Awit Ng Barkada
This song easily reflects the distilled friendship that bonded the three members of the APO Hiking Society through changing times, tides, and even political divides, reflecting on the lyrics today perhaps brings on a new meaning. You could argue “Saan Na Nga Ba’ng Barkada” is probably a more apt song to reflect on times lost, but “Awit ng Barkada” is quintessential in that it doesn’t need any particular occasion to bust out: like a true barkada, it’s always just there, perfect for any occasion — and certainly perfect now.
Because people tend to forget that the APO Hiking Society were political activists even well before 2010 onwards happened, let’s remember that APO Hiking Society had no issues singing “American Junk”, an anti-US screed, in 1987, at a time when Cory Aquino was actively currying the favor of the American government. Yes, it may have been directed at her predecessor, but by the time the song came out, we were right smack in the middle of the new era, and that protest song lives on beyond the performers themselves, who were anything but anti-American in the last decade or so.
Batang-Bata Ka Pa
If there’s a song that seems frustrating for younger generations to hear, it might be this one. But the reality is, “Batang-Bata Ka Pa” is not a reminder that you, the next generation, have a lot to learn. It’s a reminder that we, as in all of us, have a lot to learn, and there is always someone older and wiser than you who probably did earn the right to say it, and you passing on all this knowledge isn’t an admonishment, but you helping the next generation along.
Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo
Let’s not forget that many songs we now associate with the EDSA Revolution were actually songs commissioned by the Marcoses (“Ako ay Pilipino“ comes to mind). That being said, “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo” was written as a response to some of these songs. It was pretty much our “We Are The World,” considering the star-studded cast of performers at the time.
‘Di Na Natuto
A song made more popular by the Gary Valenciano remake, we tend to forget that while yes, APO Hiking Society remade this song, the original songwriter was Danny Javier himself. “Prolific” doesn’t even begin to describe him.
Given new life by Spongecola in the aughts and Rachel Alejandro even earlier, this hit song has had the great fortune of being remade at just the right time for newer generations to really appreciate the genius behind the music. If there’s ever a song to sing about relationships falling apart for no apparent explanation, this is probably it.
When I Met You
Probably one of the most videoke-friendly songs in the APO discography, this soft ballad is an underrated great that proves the OPM band is more than capable of writing great songs bilingually.
There are a lot of memorable ballads out there that we haven’t even touched on, and some essential APO favorites like “Ewan” and “Mahirap Talaga Magmahal ng Syota ng Iba” and of course, “Panalangin.” But if you want to see Danny Javier sing the hell out of a song, you need to watch any video of him performing “Pag-Ibig”, because he really pulls out all the stops.
Thank you for the music, Danny Javier. You will always be cherished.