Phoebe Kaye Fernandez: A welcome change

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SHE was once a  teenager in solitary pleasure at her home so engrossed in the outpour of her thoughts through pen and paper. She envisioned to be in a habit with white coif and  serre-tête at a nunnery where boys are non-existent! Fast forward to 15 challenging years and we  saw a woman in dresses and sashes owning the stage—Miss Lapu-Lapu 2008 first runner-up and then Miss Mandaue 2009 first-runner up.

The camera loved her and she started taking on regular TV programs. Now the people whose lives she has touched over the years know her as “Ka-Mags” Phoebe Kaye Fernandez. As for boys, well, now Phoebe wishes to  meet her Prince Charming one day.

The 28-year-old host of ABS-CBN, who sat with the Play! pool together with her co-hosts in 2014, is now breaking the news about her big shift from hosting a magazine show to doing an early morning program. Phoebe will now handle the “Maayong Buntag Kapamilya Sabado” (MBK Sabado) where she aspires to take on a more serious role with greater responsibilities that’s going to  tap a more diverse audience.

That’s all well and good—Phoebe thrives for human stories. It’s no surprise this beautiful soul can easily connect with people she encounters on- and off-camera. She may leave “Mag TV  Na” but it’s not a goodbye for Phoebe as she will still be with her kapamilya though just on the other side of the pasture.

Phoebe recalls how much she has improved over the years, from a young girl pondering about life to a woman touching many lives. For this talented, smart, independent woman, growth is impossible without change.

When did you find out that you will now be in the “Maayong Buntag Kapamilya” show?

It was in September last year. Some people in production already knew, but I was the first to know among the co-host of KMWK (“Kapamilya Mas Winner Ka”) and “Mag TV.” There’s a need to produce a new show for Saturday which is “MBK Sabado” to replace “TUBAG.”

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We couldn’t just neglect the slots so we need to fill in a new fresh show. TV Production Head Ms. Neda said to the department heads that I always guest for MBK. If Reena isn’t around, I’m the guest. If there are special events, I’m also the one for them. They want fresh young faces for MBK Sabado. Joworski and I worked together before in a segment and they noticed that we have good connection, maybe because we’re good friends off-cam. So the department heads went through a
deliberation, and that was how it started.

I was then told that I will be in a new show called “MBK Sabado” but she (Ms. Neda) can’t keep me anymore for “Mag TV” because it will be too much to have me on “TV Patrol” from Monday to Friday, and “MBK Sabado” and “Mag TV.”

It’s a blessing actually because for seven years the “Mag TV” hosts are all young. I started with Blinky and Billy when Mommy Tikay and Kuya Erwi Billy was replaced by Dan and Borgie. Batan-on gihapon mi. (We’re still young.) Dan is replaced by Jonathan, and since then it has always been us for the longest run—I, Jonathan, Borgie, and Blinky.

We, as young hosts, couldn’t cater to our main audience who are the moms. That’s why Reena is pulled out to guest for us. We saw that she’s fitting because Mag TV is pegged for moms and it’s on Sundays. She catered to the audience really well. From my end, they saw what’s lacking in  “MBK,” a young bubbly type of girl because that has been my training in “Mag TV.” They saw that both of us were able to tap different shows. They saw the potential growth we both need.

For my part, it really is a growth for me. I’m a graduate of “Mag TV” being this young and vibrant host to taking a more mature everyday life sort of thing. Reena, on the other hand, can be more of herself as a mom because she can share her DIY’s and cooking recipes. It’s a win-win situation.

How will this affect your lifestyle given that it’s a daily morning show, and you have hosting gigs at night?

Difficult, but I’m already used to it. That time when Reena had to go to Europe or travel somewhere and she’d be gone for a month, and also during her maternity leave, I got used to waking up in the morning from Monday to Friday. Even now I still have the Saturday slot for “MBK Sabado.” As for the gigs, my schedule on that is really hectic to the extent that I had to be absent for “Mag TV.” “Mag TV” requires longer time especially when we go travelling. On “MBK” I can quite manage it because the 6 to 7 a.m. time schedule is fixed. But there was a time when I had to go straight to “MBK” after a night gig.

What about your Nursing background?

That is the big question! (Laughs.) It’s hard to pursue that now. It has been eight years since I studied that and now it’s difficult to go back and study it all over again. I already fell in love with what I’m doing right now.  It’s hard to give that up now. If I do, that would be the biggest shift! From hosting to ICU! (Laughs.) But, no, I can no longer picture myself practicing nursing. What I’m doing now aside from hosting… I focus my time on business ideas that I may venture into.

What do you do on your free time?

I really love to read.

So what are you reading right now?

“The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. I like self-help books maybe because I’m entering mid-life crisis! (Laughs) I like Paolo Coelho’s books because of the great impact they  brought to my life. But I will always love rom-coms like Eleanor and Park, that kind of thing. The hardest part with  reading is how to start, but when you are already so into the book, the hardest part is how to stop.

Phoebe with her “Maayong Buntag Kapamilya Sabado” co-hosts Jun Niño Nalipay and Joworski Alipon

Phoebe with her “Maayong Buntag Kapamilya Sabado” co-hosts Jun Niño Nalipay and Joworski Alipon

Where do you see yourself years from now? Will you still be hosting?

Maybe I’d be married by then. (Laughs).That’s  hard to answer. (Laughs).

Let’s narrow it to your bucket list for this year.

To buy a house and lot for myself, and establish a business.

Have you started working on these?

I’m working towards a clothing business. I bought stuff and planning where to put them. I’m saving for this now. I really can’t picture myself anymore to be in the corporate world. To be honest, when the “MBK” opportunity was presented to me, I can now breathe a little. I was really struggling with my schedule and they too are struggling with me because I can’t meet their schedules. Sometimes we’re on taping and I had to go back to the station, and my co-hosts are already leaving. Sometimes I juggle “MBK,” “Mag TV” and “TV Patrol” in a day.

Whom do you usually seek advice from? Whose opinion matters the most?

Of course, my boyfriend has a say in what I do. He did say this is good for me because I’m tired already. I don’t have time for myself. When it comes to hosting, it’s usually Jonathan that I approach. I told him that I was leaving. I have Kuya Adrian for “Mag TV” advice. Actually, I have so many friends at ABS-CBN because I’ve been a part of that family for so long already. And there’s my mother for the emotional part…  life in general. I also have my brother.

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Did you see yourself in the TV hosting career when you were young?

I wanted to be a nun! (Laughs)


I hated boys. That’s why. (Laughs). I really hated them back in sixth  grade. I told myself I wanted to be in an all-girls school when I get to high school. In autograph books, I put there “to be a nun”! But I never got to an all-girls school, and so there were boys and it turned out I like them after all! (Laughs) I was in second year high school when I had a crush. (Laughs)

If I were to choose a course back then, Mass Communications was at the bottom. A graduate of MassCom has to work on TV or paper and I didn’t like that back then. I chose Nursing because everyone was into it. But I was already into delivering lines, reading aloud. I’m just always at the side as a narrator.

How old were you when you first joined a pageant?

I was in high school when I was forced to join a high school pageant. I needed extra points for my grades. I needed to have extracurricular activities because I was aiming for honors. I also joined extemporaneous speaking. I joined feature writing contests. I do write but at home. It’s not something I’d do for the public.

It so happened I represented Ms. Intramurals for Nursing in San Carlos, and I won. They gave me the task to host Mr. and Ms. Nursing. I started it from there. I did tell them I needed a script. They loved my hosting, someone saw me, and another and another and another, and there I was. I joined Ms. Lapu-Lapu in fourth year college and won first runner-up, then came Ms. Mandaue and I also got the first runner-up. I can’t get the crown it seems! (Laughs). But even without a  crown, the opportunities came. Here comes “Mag TV” and the rest is history. I’m really thankful for “Mag TV.” What I am now I owe  to them. Seven years is not a joke. I have so many learnings.

What are the most memorable interviews you had?

A lot of them. Most memorable are the experiential. When we were garbage collectors for a day, when we went to mountainous areas without cellphones and everything, engaging with special children—maybe because I have a younger sibling with Down syndrome—and this interview with a mother who has cancer but who she kept it from her children… all these human stories. We travelled Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao but I was always more interested in the faces of traveling. The places were just a bonus. I’m not really the adventurous type who will jump off  a cliff. I’m more on life stories.

What are you looking for in the field of broadcasting.  What’s your ultimate goal?

I don’t see myself in the likes of Haide Acuña or Karen Davila yet. It holds such big responsibilities. If they will offer me that I would have to decline. The peg I set for myself is a segment host for now. But then we don’t get any younger so I see to it that I always develop myself in speaking Bisaya because deep Bisaya is harder than conversational Bisaya.

I really hope to tap more people than I did before. When I was in “Mag TV” people look at me as a juvenile doing youth-oriented talk shows. They call me “ka mags” or “taga-ABS.” They don’t know Phoebe.

It’s different in “MBK.” People see me as a mature person. And   I hope to earn people’s trust. It’s all about inspiring people at the end of the day. This takes more responsibility, more credibility, and more accountability.

TAGS: beauty queen, Cebu, host, hosting, pageant
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