Life!

Phoebe Fernandez, she’s got the look

INSTAGRAM feeds that ensnare us—retro bangs, devil-may-care curls—Phoebe Kaye Fernandez is poised for hair #inspo super-stardom.

The stories? Infinity and beyond.

“Eventually, kung mo daghan na among customers and their stories, amo na ma-compile to influence other people. Nadak-an nako ang mo-feature og stories,” she beams as she sets up the social media accounts of her new venture Colors and Peach Studio Salon on F. Cabahug corner President Roxas streets in Kasambagan, Mabolo. “We want to feature real people, real stories. Ang among ipang post kay mga tawo.”

On TV, she radiates the luster of incandescent talent in a riff and shift of idiosyncrasies. From being a Star Patrol news presenter on “TV Patrol
Central Visayas” to being a trailblazer on the magazine show “Mag TV Na” and on the morning current affairs platform “Maayong Buntag Kapamilya” on ABS-CBN Cebu, she’s now a panoply of delights.

How the bored, confused young girl became the toast of women who assume their most exhilarating role ever: She is intent on building an empire of friendship.

It’s still a quiet riot. But the road back to where all these were mistakenly prophesied has sparked a thought— what was once her finest asset is
showing signs of neglect, true or false? In the meantime, let the sunshine in for a brighter future ahead.

After Miss Lapu-Lapu, Miss Cebu, and Miss Mandaue, you veered away from beauty pageants.

Actually, gi-offeran ko ni Mommy Jonas (Borces) lagi sa una to join Miss Earth. Padung na gyud ko ato, palargahon na unta ko niya, iya na kong
gi-bookan og tickets, ni-pass nako, Mandaue akong i-represent. Didto pako naka-realize nga dili ko ganahan. Unya naa man sab to’y opportunity ang ABS-CBN nga himoon kong Star Partol ba, na-excite ko kay mag news nako unya daghan baya na’g learnings kay live baya. Mao na pud to nga time nga gipahuwat nako ato kay anytime, mag Star Patrol nako. I told Mommy Jonas nga mag-lisud ko and that I wasn’t ready. Di gyud ko ganahan og pageant, to start with.

But you had a good start with it.

I started with Miss Lapu-Lapu with (then handler) Aki Casajoras. The only reason I joined was I wanted to prove to myself nga maayo ko motubag. Na-challenge ko. Kana ganing daghan kaayong babae nga mag tubag-tubag sa screening … ganahan ko ana. Nakasulod ko, dayun gipa-apil man ko nila og Miss Mandaue, I said, dili nako. It was around May, unya gi-ingnan ko nila, i-ampo ka namo nga dili ka maka-pasar og board exam. Praning baya kay ko. All throughout sa screening, nag mug-ot ko. Pero na-inspire ko kay na feature ko sa newspapers nga I was a top contender.

And it went on and on …

I wanted to bail out from the Miss Cebu screening. I told Aki that I wanted to rest, ingon siya mo apil lang ko para dili ma-break ang momentum. But I felt it was the wrong time. Nag-buwag akong parents, and my heart wasn’t set to win. Pero tuod man, sa Miss Cebu pud mi nagkita ni Cinbeth Orellano who asked if I was interested to be a Star Patrol host.

So television your escape from the pageant world?

Dili baya. Pero half-hearted kaayo to nga decision. Dili kaayo ko as passionate ato, dili kay ko naning. I am not as passionate as those you really moved to bigger pageants, bilib kaayo ko ana nila kay passion gyud na. So the offer I think was God’s way of letting me choose my path. If I had chosen the pageant world, di ko siguro og asa na pud ko karon. Pero thankful ko ni Mommy Jonas. It was very difficult to turn him down—as in, he prepared everything for me.

How is Colors and Peach Studio Salon doing now since it opened last February?

In fairness ha, it’s doing well. Pero kahibaw ko nga daghan pa kaayo mi og bayranan since bag-o pa mi ga-open. Amo na gyud nang gi-plot—six months, we will shell out money again. Kana gani’ng worst case scenario, usa ka adlaw nga wala gyuy mo sud? Amo na gyud ng na plot. We have already studied it. My boyfriend, who has an MBA (Masters in Business Administration), takes care of the finances. Ako, sa operations, research, products. I did product research about the scalp, the proper care of the hair. I researched about hair fall, the causes of hair fall. The conditions of the hair, why it’s brittle.

I make it a point nga makakita og products nga wala pa gyud ma bring in sa Philippines.

How did you choose this kind of business?

Nag sige mi og huna-huna og unsa kay nakatigum nako. Year 2016, among thinking pa ato kay mga food stalls at the mall. In 2017, January, siya na ang ni-ingon, what if salon … didto na nag sugod. Sige tabangi ko pag April, na stagnant, pag July, I saw this place. Kita ko sa mga balay balay sa luyo. Naa nakoy mga tawo nga gi kuha, stylists. My boyfriend Chad, and Mika Caram are my business partners.

What are the challenges?

Grabe gyud ang challenge. This is the first business we have ventured into. We don’t have knowledge of opening a salon. I know what a salon is, but running it? I don’t know anything about it. The first day was funny. Pag Feb. 22 pa mi na human sa lighting kay grabe man kaayo ko ka meticulous sa lightings. Sige mi og usab usab, gi dagdagan. Pag Feb. 24, mao na ni ang opening, naa mi gi-run nga promo ato nga free haircut for the first 10 customers would get free hair spa. We came in at 8 a.m.; opening was 9. When customers came in, naa’y nag pa mani-pedi (manicure-pedicure) hasta gapas wala mi, hasta colorless wala mi—the smallest things I thought I was very much prepared for. Hasta kwarta sa cash box, wala mi. I went to the store to buy baskets, too, kay naka realize mi, wala man diay basket ang tagsa tagsa ang mga manikyurista nako. The smallest things I would never realize until I would run the salon. All the salon chairs were stranded in Manila because of the typhoon. But we had to open. Mao ra gyud to amo kay amo nama’ng gi-post.

What is your projection in the next five years?

Many branches. In fact, naa mi gi-eye nga property sa Banawa, property sa Banilad now. Especially ako nga na anad ko sa culture sa Mag TV nga to build a community nga dili ko ganahan nga nay barriers. We don’t want VIP areas. Sa akong huna-huna, nay mga arte nga gusto sila ra usa pero ganahan ko nga lounge type, maka sturya. At the salon, you’ll meet a lot of people.

Who has inspired you?

Ang pinaka dako gyud nako nga inspiration kay si Mommy Jonas. Makakita ko niya how passionate he is. Gi unsa niya pag build, hangtod ni saka na siya. He took care of his mother.

Aside from the services, what makes it extra special?

Kung maka bantay ka sa among social media, we don’t want to feature models. We want to feature real people, real stories. Ang among ipang post kay mga tawo. We put their names; we put what they do, who they are. Mao na among ganahan. Eventually, kung mo daghan nami og customers and their stories, amo na ma-compile to influence other people. Nadak-an nako ang mo-feature og stories. Dili ko ganahan nga ma salon lang ni para sa datu.
I want this to be a salon for all.

/CDN PHOTO

Did you plan all these?

Nothing that I planned for came true. Back in high school, we were asked to list down three least favorite courses to enroll in. I wrote: engineering, medicine, and mass communication. Di ko ganahan magreporter, di ko ganahan naa sa TV.

But you’ve stayed longer than eight years.

Ang Mag TV, ni ingon ko sa akong mama nga one year ra gyud ‘ta to. But I developed my skills. Kana gyu’ng hosting, na-challenge gyud ko, specially when I began hosting for bigger companies in the corporate world. Tungod kay ma-challenge siguro ko, mao ng ma-ganahan ko sa industry. Naganahan nako karon kay nakasabot na ko og unsa iyang nature, unsa siya ka helpful, unsa siya ka dako nga medium of influence.

Do you think you have evolved as a person?

Oo, uy. I matured with all the things that have happened to me. Sa una, wa man ko paki-alam uy sa akong future. Ang akong pakialam no kay kong kinsa ang akong ma uyab. Sige ra kog huna-huna nga kinsa man akong ma date no? Gamay’ng heartbreak, dali kaayo ko mo-give up. Ni abot sab ko sa time nga nag self-pity ko: Unsa man tawn ni uy, hosting ra man ni uy. Unsa may unod aning tanan? Katong nag-Mag TV ko, that was the lowest time. Ug wala’y Mag TV, wala gyud koy gibuhat. Matulog, mag movie marathon.

All these are sort of a whirlwind rise.

Looking back, I thought, dili gyud ko productive. Gi-offeran ko og “Patrol,” okey na but with Patrol, it gave me the chance nga mo salig ang mga tao nako og hosting. When I started working for MBK, it really changed my image. People in the corporate world had a different view of me. Sa una, bata gyud ilang tan-aw nako. Ang Mag TV man gud sa una, I was young. Ilang tan-aw nako, kiat-kiat ra man ni uy.

TAGS: Fernandez, Phoebe
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