By Kristofer Purnell
When Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, Black Eyed Peas member apl.de.ap—born Allan Pineda Lindo—had just recently moved to the US permanently with lawyer Joe Ben Hudgens. Even thousands of miles away, the rapper knew about the devastations caused by lahar and ash fall to his native province of Pampanga. The massive changes and improvements that followed over the years is what prompted him to take part in the Philippines’ hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
“I feel truly honored and proud na proud na magaganap ang part ng SEA Games (that part of the SEA Games will take place) on my stomping ground,” apl.de.ap tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “I’m just so excited! I even volunteered to do the torch run because I really wanted to represent as a Kapampangan.”
Apl.de.ap was among the performers who participated at the opening ceremony of the 2019 SEA Games on Saturday night, alongside KZ Tandingan, Iñigo Pascual,Christian Bautista, Elmo Magalona, among others. The rapper shares that he had a lot of songs to choose from, but in the end it was clear that he had to perform “Bebot,” his most iconic song. “I was going through so many songs in our Black Eyed Peas catalogue, and I wanted something new but… I just gotta do the most iconic song that represents us, our country, my birthplace, and who I am,” explains the artist, who turned 45 last Thursday. “Even though I’ve sung that song a million times, it feels like the perfect song to be sung at the opening ceremony.”
Apl.de.ap shares that he had to keep up with the likes of KZ and Iñigo during their rap ensemble. “I had to give 110 [percent] more energy, but it’s amazing to see!” Apart from “Bebot,” the artists also performed songs of Elmo’s father, the late Francis Magalona, like “Man From Manila” and “Tayo’y Mga Pinoy,” to which he was proud to see them adding their own twist to such classic songs. “It’s beautiful to see that the Millennials are involved in the SEA Games, and representing the next generation of OPM.”
The singer’s contributions don’t stop there. He will also be performing at the closing ceremony alongside Arnel Pineda, and the rest of the Black Eyed Peas—will.i.am and Taboo. “I had to hunt down Will for like a month because he has obligations like The Voice UK. Every day I go, ‘Will, are you gonna do it? You gotta do it, man. Do it for me, this is a special moment, a historical one for my country. Please, be a part of it,’ and I got the ‘Yes!’” exclaims apl.de.ap.
During their performance, the Black Eyed Peas will be accompanied by former The Voice PH finalist Jessica Reynoso, who was under apl.de.ap.’s team during her stint on the show, having finished touring with the group throughout Europe and Australia. “Of course [we’re performing] the Black Eyed Peas hits, and a new song called RITMO, which has 200 million views on YouTube right now,” says apl.de.ap, hinting that he’ll try to also perform another iconic Filipino song of his, “The APL Song.”
What he will remember most about the opening ceremony is its magnitude and presentation, and how proud Filipinos are: “There are so much cultural moment that we showcased, and of course it’s historical for me to be part of what’s basically our Olympics. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this, and I will cherish being able to involve my team in it.”
But apl.de.ap isn’t stopping once the SEA Games 2019 is over. He wants to continue being involved in the economic growth of Pampanga. “My dream is to create a production company in Clark [where] creatives can have a home and place to make content, and really represent the Philippines and Kampampangan teleseryes (television series), culinary, stuff like that,” he says, adding that Clark is turning into a new green city and eventually a metropolis, and attributing to projects in Angeles City.
With the SEA Games officially in motion, apl.de.ap ends by telling what sport he would have joined: “I love boxing, so that’s where I would have been a part of.”