Higit sa tagumpay at kasikatang tinatamasa internationally ng Filipino-born American rapper, record producer, at miyembro ng Black Eyed Peas na si Apl de Ap, mas nakakaramdam daw siya ng tunay na kasiyahan sa ginagawa niyang charity work sa pamamagitan ng itinatag niyang foundation na Apl Foundation.
“You know, I think beyond the success and accolades that I’ve received, this is what brings me joy.
“This is what motivates me because I was one of those kids that was helped out, was sponsored and brought to the U.S., and became a Black Eyed Peas.
“So I’m just following the footsteps of my adoptive father, Joe Ben Hudgens, and his foundation that helped me get sponsored.
“You know, I’m one of those kids that used to run around with my tsinelas and play basketball.
“You know, I wanna give those kids an opportunity to become somebody.
“And I think, me being adopted and having the success in life, I think I’m supposed to give back and follow dad’s footsteps," ang panimula niya nang makaharap ang press sa launch ng itinatag niyang Southeast Asian-based artist development and brand marketing company, ang BMBX (pronounced as boombox) Entertainment, na ginanap sa Oz Bar ng Holiday Inn and Suites sa Makati City noong Hunyo 25.
Inorganisa ang naturang event sa tulong ng Curve Entertainment, ang exclusive marketing partner ng BMBX sa Pilipinas.
Sa pagpapatuloy ng Kapampangan na singer, “It’s so joyful to see that now we have 14 scholars in Angeles.
“And these kids they’re like valedictorian, summa cum laude, you know what I mean?” pagmamalaki pa niya.
PLANTING THE SEED. Gaano ka-fulfilling ito para sa kanya?
“It’s very fulfilling. It’s beyond anything.
“That’s what keeps me going, that what gives me a smile on my face.
“And then you think back, ‘Wow, these kids, they’re actually doing it!’ And now they’re doing their own outreach programs.
“It’s almost like you planted the seed and it’s growing. And now, other seeds are being planted in other places and it just keeps growing,” patuloy niya.
Nakatulong na rin daw si Apl na makapagpagawa ng mga paaralan. Personal niyang binisita ang mga ito para makita ang progress.
“I go visit the classrooms and schools that we helped build and say hi to the kids.
“I just don’t want to do it one time and that’s it. I wanna keep up and see the progress.
“When a kid hands you a CD that she made and edited on her own just to show her appreciation, you just can’t describe how great that feels!” masaya pa niyang kuwento.
UPLIFTING THE YOUTH IN TACLOBAN. Kasabay din ng launch ang pagpapakilala sa dalawang BMBX talents na sina Jessica Reynoso at Miguel Antonio.
Pupunta sila sa Tacloban para i-shoot ang music video tampok sina Jessica at Miguel sa kantang “Hope of One Voice."
Isinulat ito ng Singaporean at award-winning woman entrepreneur na si Elim Chew, na present din sa presscon. Ang lahat ng kikitain ng naturang kanta at music video ay mapupunta para sa mga kabataan ng Tacloban bilang beneficiary.
“Miguel and Jessica sang the song, they already recorded it, and then we’ll shoot the music video in Tacloban. I think it fits perfectly on what’s going on in Tacloban,” kuwento ni Apl.
Hindi raw ito ang unang pagkakataon na magbibigay siya ng tulong sa mga Taclobanon na naging biktima ng pananalasa ng Bagyong Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) noong Nobyembre 2013.
Bukod sa mga isinagawa niyang benefit shows at concerts, nag-organisa rin siya ng music and arts therapy program.
“We actually started a music and arts therapy program in Tacloban when Haiyan-Yolanda hit after everything else.
“The program actually just finished recently. You know, the teacher had to learn how to teach in a therapeutic way.
“They had to go to school for that. With Tacloban it’s beyond building structures, I think it’s rebuilding the people,” pagpapasalamat niya.
Ang latest trip nila sa Tacloban ay pangatlong beses na niyang pagpunta dito.
“This will be my third time. The first one, I was there two weeks after the devastation.
“Back then, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. People are still digging, looking for their family or putting their thing together.
“You know, it breaks your heart. But, at the same time, people are so resilient. But you have to do something."
Kaya raw hanggang ngayon ay tumutulong pa rin siya para tuluyang makabawi ang Tacloban sa dinanas nitong hirap. Naisip nga niya ang kantang “Hope of One Voice.”
“The song, you know, I almost got tears when I was singing along with the song.
“Such a beautiful song with a great message. I think this would uplift the spirits of the youth in Tacloban,” paninigurado niya.
HELPING YOUNG SINGERS. Samantala, natanong siya ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) kung hindi ba siya nanghihinayang na hindi naging coach sa The Voice Kids, kung saan maraming kabataang singers sana ang matutulungan niya?
Tanging sa regular season lang kasi ng The Voice of the Philippines kasama si Apl. Sina Lea Salonga, Bamboo Mañalac, at Sarah Geronimo lang ang coaches sa The Voice Kids.
Paglinaw niya, “Regrets? No, not at all.
“Actually, they just need three coaches for The Voice Kids, and I think that goes on everywhere, I think in U.K., Australia.
“They just need three coaches, so I don’t feel that bad. I am a little jealous but then it gives me time to do what I gotta do.”
Sa pamamagitan ng BMBX ay nakakatulong siya hindi lang sa mga batang Pinoy kundi sa mga kabataan sa Southeast Asia. Katulad ng ginagawa niya ngayon sa The Voice of the Philippines season one finalist na si Jessica at sa Filipino-Singaporean teen singer na si Miguel. Bilib nga raw siya sa dalawa.
“They are two amazing talents that just needed attention. They just need the opportunity and it makes me feel great that I can give that opportunity to them.
“It makes me feel like a proud dad when I see them singing onstage and giving their all and the passion.
“You know, I was once one of those aspiring artists, I have to grind, dedicate myself, and sacrifice to get into the music industry. And I can see that in them, so that’s my motivation,” diin niya.
Kasalukuyang pino-promote ni Jessica ang latest single niyang “Crazy Bout U,” kung saan nakipag-collaborate siya kay Apl, habang si Miguel naman ay pinu-promote ang second single niyang “Breathe You In.”