What could be Anna Fegi’s best moment?
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo () - January 25, 2003 - 12:00am
When Anna Fegi mounts the Hard Rock Café stage tonight at 10 in This is the Moment, her first solo concert, she will remember dozens of memorable moments in her life but not that moment at dawn last Thursday when she lost her 2001 Civic Honda (The City) to carnappers along Timog Avenue while she and some companions were having an early breakfast of lugaw after another rehearsal.

"It happened so fast," said Anna, "that I couldn’t believe it. Ang bilis nila! The carnappers got the car right under the nose of the security guard who claimed that he didn’t see anything unusual happening. It was my first car, bought with hard-earned money, so I feel really, really bad."

Well, what can poor Anna do but charge it to experience. If you’re at Hard Rock tonight and notice Anna singing with even more feeling, you should know why.

Anna’s manager, Bibsy Carballo, chose that title because the concert traces Anna’s progress from being a small-town girl in Cebu to a versatile singer to be reckoned with. Take note of the repertoire and every song marks a milestone in Anna’s life and career, such as:

• One Moment in Time
– "I was 13 when I sang that song in an amateur contest in my hometown, Lotopan (Toledo, Cebu). In the middle of the song, just when I was hitting a high note, my half-slip fell."

• Paraiso
– "When I joined the Smokey Mountain, that was our standard piece; we always sang it in our gigs. I belonged to the last generation of Smokey Mountain. The first was composed of Geneva (Cruz), Tony (Lambino), Jeffrey (Hidalgo) and James (Coronel). I replaced Shar, member of the third batch, when she got pregnant. I wasn’t introduced as a Smokey Mountain(eer) in the Philippines because when I joined the group, it was finishing its contract in Japan. I toured with them for six months; my contract was good for one year and a half and it expired seven years ago."

• Someone Like You
(from the soundtrack of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) – "This song represents the ‘theater’ part of me. I’m also active in theater kasi, e, and Someone Like You is my favorite song from a musical."

• Loving You
– "The most requested song when I was with the Passitivity band. Our audience(s) never seemed to get tired of it."

• Color of My Love
– "Theme song namin ni Sir Rudy (Francisco, musical director) when I was performing at (Hyatt’s) Calesa Bar. I was the only one then who was singing that song which also happens to be one of Sir Rudy’s favorites."

• Anyone Can See
– "It’s an Irene Cara song which I revived in my album. What is its significance in my life? I don’t know. I just love that song."

Anna Fegi: This is the Moment
(with Toti Fuentes as musical director, Manolet Garcia as director, Side A as "special guest performers" and The Manouvres as back-up dancers) is a dream come true for Anna who seemed to have waited for eternity for this her one moment in time.

"I’m overwhelmed," said Anna. "A lot of people are helping us in this project and they’re not even charging us; libre lang talaga. Most of them are friends of Miss Bibsy na naging friends ko na rin. May businessmen, may doctor, iba-iba; mga nakakasama namin sa bowling."

Before Anna started singing professionally with the Smokey Mountain, she was a campus singer in Cebu (high school at Andres Soriano Memorial School La Salle in Toledo and College of the San Jose Recoletos where she enrolled in but didn’t finish a course in Masscom). She honed her singing skills by joining amateur contests during fiestas and doing (particularly) kundiman in campus events.

Born Anna Marie Fegi (pronounced Fe-hi), Anna comes from a musically-inclined family. Her mom, Socorro Encienzo, used to sing with the church choir; while her dad, Gaudencio Vic Fegi, competed in singing contests. She’s the middle among seven children (two sisters and four brothers) who all sing, although it’s only Anna who opted to pursue singing as a profession.

How did she get into Smokey Mountain?

"The group went to Cebu to promote an album. At the same time, they held auditions. I was in high school and my teacher asked me to audition. That’s when I met Tito Ryan (Cayabyab, founder/manager of Smokey Mountain) who flew me to Manila to train for one month. And then, I went back to Cebu and resumed my studies. Several months later, Shar got pregnant, so they asked me to take her place. I was already entering college then and since I was a full scholar at SJR, I continued my studies even while I was doing solo stints."

Her trademark spiral locks have been there since Anna can remember.

"In high school," she recalled with amusement, "they used to tease me as The Walking Microphone. Ang dami kong kuto noon, pero wala na ngayon."

As in the case of Regine Velasquez (who had to be submerged in the sea to force her to "vocalize"), it was Anna’s father who acted as an early coach. It was only when she got to Manila did Anna get formal training from Ryan Cayabyab’s music school and then in sessions with Jay Sabas.

"But I also learned a lot from my favorite singers, such as Barbra Streisand and Natalie Cole with whose music I grew up. They were my father’s favorites and he saw to it that I learn from them. As I grew older, I became fond of Black singers like, aside from Natalie Cole, Dionne Warwick, Patti Austin and Aretha Franklin. During singing contests, however, I did sing songs by Whitney Houston and Regine (Velasquez). My Mom was into Pilita Corrales and Dulce so I learned from them, too."

What she considers the "song of my life," though, is Color of My Love.

"Listen to the song and you’ll see how beautiful the lyrics are. It’s an original by Celine Dion ... about a woman so deeply in love with somebody."

For one to sing so beautifully with such intense feeling, Anna must be in love – constantly.

Very reluctantly, she admitted that she has a boyfriend (not from showbiz) but they have no plans of getting married just yet.

"Besides the fact that I’m busy with my career," said Anna, "I think I’m too young to settle down. And I have yet to fulfill my promise to my parents to ‘pamper’ them."

As it is, Anna is working very hard for more memorable moments in her life and career.

"The best (moment) is yet to come," she smiled.
Willie back on MTB soon
As Funfare has been predicting (with the help of my DPA from Bohol Avenue), the ABS-CBN noontime show MTB is up for a major revamp, euphemistically called a "reformatting." In the process, heads wil have to roll. That’s how relentless television can be, with apologies to nobody.

The "new" MTB, untitled just yet, will take a bow on Feb. 13, eve of Valentine’s Day, with Willie Revillame reinstated as one fo the hosts, along with Randy Santiago as his tandem. What will happen to John Estrada? "Sorry," said the DPA, "but he’ll have to go, together with the rest of the hosts except for three – Bayani Agbayani, Dennis Padilla and Ai-Ai delas Alas – who will complete the new MTB team."

Willie’s return to MTB comes as some kind of a "vindication" for him after he was first suspended (along with Randy and John) and later dropped like a hot potato. That was almost two years ago. During his "jobless" days, Willie must have done a lot of soul-searching. The first sign that ABS-CBN was softening up on him was when he was hired last year as host of the Saturday afternoon show Willingly Yours.

Now, the questions: Has Willie mellowed? Will he be more, uh, "wholesome" this time around? Will his tandem with Randy, helped along by entirely new features, prop up MTB to a competitive level with GMA’s Eat, Bulaga!?

Let’s wait and see.

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