Chairman Bayani Fernando: joining "Celebrity Duets" has nothing to do with politics

MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando says that if hecould choose one singer to perform with in Celebrity Duets 2, it wouldbe Gary Valenciano. "Idol ko si Gary V, napanood ko siya nung nag-concert siyasa Marikina."



Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman BayaniFernando arrived yesterday, September 15, at Annabel's restaurant on Tomas Morato, Quezon City wearing ablack coat and a crisp white polo bearing his initials BF on its chest pocket.He went around greeting members of the press before sitting down to answerquestions from the media regarding his stint in the GMA-7 singing competition CelebrityDuets 2.

Clips of his past three performances were shown to thepublic and he said it was his first time to see his own renditions. Theformer Marikina City mayor performed a duet with Renz Verano ("MachoGuapito"), Andrew E ("Hahabol-habol"), and Janno Gibbs ("Beyond the Sea").

In Celebrity Duets 2, Bayani is competing againstcelebrity chef JL Cang and Fil-Brit soccer player Phil Younghusband. The other contenders are Joey Marquez, beauty queen Carlene Aguilar, and fashiondesigner JC Buendia. The sister of Joey, Melanie Marquez, and beauty andwellness guru Cory Quirino have already been eliminated from the competition.

Foremost on people's minds is that Bayani may have joined the GMA-7 show to gain media exposure, in time for thecoming 2010 elections. However, the politician denied this by declaring,"Actually, it looks like [that] since it is a very popular show. Everywhere I go,people were mentioning the show... I don't know how much it will help my politicalcareer in 2010, but it was actually never intended [by me] to use this forpolitics."

Bayani revealed that he was already invited to join thefirst season of Celebrity Duets but he declined. "This is the secondinvitation I got from the producers, nahiya naman ako to turn it down a secondtime. The first time, I turned it down because I was afraid that I may not havethe time for it. But now, I'm not sorry for having accepted thisopportunity."

Does he think that joining this show is beneficial for himsince the ratings of the show are doing well according to AGB Nielsen? "Ididn't realize that until after the first show, saka ko na-realize ganun palakabigat ang rating nito."


Bayani has tapped Nonong Pedero to serve as his vocal coachand he practices three times a week for the show. On Wednesday, he has a pianorehearsal, on Friday the band rehearsal, and on Saturday, he performs hischosen song during the actual taping of the episode.

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According to Bayani, a portion of his winnings will go toCHILD Haus (Center for Health Improvement and Life Development), adormitory-type halfway home for pediatric patients from the province. Thisinitiative was formed in 2003 through the efforts of the Ricky ReyesFoundation. In fact, beauty consultant Ricky Reyes was present during the pressconference to show his support for his family friend Marides Fernando, the wifeof Bayani. Currently the mayor of Marikina City, Marides has been married toBayani for the past 25 years.

During the press conference, Bayani narrated an interestinganecdote about singing when he was in Grade 4. "Pinakanta ako ng teacher ko pero pumiyokako. E, meron akong crush dun na girl in the other room and naisip ko bakanarinig ako. Since then, hindi na ako kumanta kasi that was very traumatic forme. After college, 'pag nakainom na ako, slowly kumakanta-kanta ako. Di pa usoang karaoke noon, e. I'm so happy for developing that passion for singingwhile my friends were all drinking."

Bayani has clearly overcome that traumatic experience sincehe has already performed in several concerts with his partners: then Secretaryof National Defense Angelo Reyes and former Secretary of Interior and LocalGovernment Joey Lina.

PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked Bayani tocompare performing in front of a live crowd and singing in front of cameras."Mas mabigat 'to, katulad din ng concert, no second take. But in a concert, 'pagnagkamali ka, nakaka-recover ka pa. Pero ito, sa isang minuto na pagkanta mo,kailangan perfect. Kailangan bawat galaw mo, tumama dun sa kanta mo. Walangpagkakataon na maka-recover ka. Saka dito, ang isang minuto mong kanta, youspend something like eight hours of rehearsal."

When asked to react on reports pitting him againstheartthrob Phil Younghusband, Bayani laughed before saying, "Okay lang yun.It's a compliment of my standing, e. He may have a good following kasi angguwapo."


Will Bayani live up to his name of being a hero? "Kung ako'y papalarin, wala na akong gagawin na ako'y isang bayani, pero buhay na bayani, ha," he joked.



Does he want to be known as The Singing Hero? "Hopefully, if I can promote my advocacy through singing, why not? Kasi ang singing tumatagos sa damdamin ng tao. 'Pag may composers diyan, i-compose n'yo ako ng songs na puwedeng maka-deliver ng gusto kong sabihin sa bayan. I'm willing to shell out some amount coz I really believe music is a very effective medium."

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