YR 47 Issue 1 2011
 
 
Faces
The man behind the funny antics       
By AZER N. PARROCHA
Playing the part

When he was young, Mr. Fu saw himself heading toward the advertising industry. According to him, he thought he was going to be a junior account executive of a leading soap brand, but his real dream was to become a newscaster.

Even as a student, he knew he wanted nothing more than to speak to an audience. Prior to his graduation, he wrote a letter to television anchorwoman Pia Hontiveros after finding inspiration to work for her after she gave a talk in UST.

“I thought of writing her and applying as a production assistant (PA),” he said. “ABS-CBN called up and told me that Pia recommended me. I landed a job as PA of
World Tonight, at the same time, a researcher. I did that for a year until there was an opening in RPN-9 as a police reporter.” As much as he wanted to speak to an audience, he wanted to be seen on camera instead of being hidden behind a microphone.

“I did not want to become a disc jockey (DJ) because I wanted to be on camera,” he said. “I  wanted to become a newscaster.” He then decided to leave ABS-CBN to pursue his dream to become a newscaster. He had that job for seven years until he had thoughts about his career and where it was leading to.

“While I was a reporter, I realized I was not earning much money,” he said. “I asked myself, what is happening? What now?”

Mr. Fu was later discovered by radio man Manny Luzon while he was working sideline as an event host. He was immediately accepted at 91.5 Energy FM where he said he tried hard and gave his best as a DJ. He was unaware that his stint as a DJ will serve as his ticket to fame. “It was my career, I left RPN to become a full-time DJ,” he said. “People from noontime TV shows like
Eat Bulaga spotted me and then after a month or even less, I was on TV.”

Student leader

As a college student, Mr. Fu ran as president of the Arts and Letters Student Council (ABSC) under the political party Dekada.

“No CA student has been elected as student council president that time,” he said, adding that he immediately took the challenge. “My friends urged me to run, and then I did, and won.”

Having missed some classes for the council, he liked to think of it as a priority. In his high school days, he was also student council president at St. Lourdes School.

Although he never thought of entering politics after graduation, Mr. Fu saw a big part of himself being a student leader. “By nature, I lead people. That is what I want to do,” he said. “I do not believe that I have to be a politician in order to serve. You can be of service to others in your own simple way,” he said.

Artlets rearing

He recalled the time he used to have production classes and how much he enjoyed and used them to show off his extraordinary hosting skills. “I did not care even if my female classmates were the cameramen,” he quipped. “I just had to be the talent, even if they had to carry the equipment. In class projects, I was always the on-cam talent.”

As for professors, he had a few favorites. Among them were ABS-CBN Corporate Communication Head Ramon “Bong” Osorio, CA professor; EJ Lopez, Economics professor and then adviser of the student council; and Faye Martel- Abugan, CA professor who helped him land a job after graduating.

He also mentioned that he never got in the cum laude list for having an average of 1.78 when the list requires 1.75. During their graduation, Mr. Fu said it was Osorio who acknowledged that he was the first CA student who became president of the ABSC.

Kapag sinabi nilang CA, ang naiisip agad, bakla, bobo, puro showbiz lang ang alam,” he said. Being a CA student, he wanted to prove that they also have smart students as well. “Being president of the student council meant a lot to me.”

He said that one college memory he would never forget was having Professor Arsenio Salandanan as panelist during his thesis defense. “I almost thought I would not graduate. I almost failed thesis!” he said. “I had to revise my thesis many times, but I realized I also learned something from that experience.”

He remarked that while it was an honor to be the first CA student to become president of the council, it was not as important as graduating. He did not want to reach the point where he would be the first council president who would not graduate on time.

Mr. Follow-up

Mr. Fu admits that he makes it a point not to overuse his prize catchphrase “me’ganon” in the company of his friends because they might consider it stale by now, but his name, Mr. Fu, has completely been embedded up until today.

“I was hosting a public service program that always asked me to “follow-up” the concerns of the people,” he said. “Since I looked Chinese, I decided to use Mr. Fu (follow-up) instead.”

Mr. Fu recalled the first time he found out that “Fu” in Chinese meant luck; he felt it suited him perfectly. From then on, from station to station, he brought that screen name with him.

“Even my friends call me Fu,” he said, expressing how fewer people were calling him by his real name, Jeffrey. “When people call me Jeffrey, I forget it is me they are calling.”

“I am a happy person, very positive about everything, including life in general,” he said, adding that the trick is to always think positively. “I put aside stress and try to avoid watching negative news.”

He added that he does not force himself to work when he does not feel well—physically or emotionally—explaining that it will be unfair to the listeners. Aside from that, he added that he does not want the audience to get involved with whatever he is experiencing. As long as he can project he is happy on-air, he will do it.

Bawal maging malungkot si Mr. Fu,” he said, narrating how he still went to work even after his father died. “Sabi ko kulang nalang ilagay nila sa kontrata, kapag naging malungkot si Mr. Fu, walang bayad.

He knew that keeping a positive attitude despite sadness would make his father happy. According to him, comedians do not complain because it is the profession they chose.

“I am the same on and off cam,” he said. “But I am quiet when I am by myself. I am aware I can be a bit exaggerated on television, but it is for my job. It is just a part of me executing things creatively.”

Passion for radio

Mr. Fu prioritizes his radio job despite having different TV offers in various stations. Even now that he is seen on TV, all his tapings and other commitments should not affect his radio show, he said.

“Taping should be after lunch. If it is in the morning, I have to reschedule it—make it a Saturday or Sunday or else I will not go,” he said. “My radio career will always be my priority because I owe the radio industry so much.”

“I was a DJ for only a month and they found out I existed,” he said. “Unlike in TV where I worked for seven years, I never made a name for myself.”

He added that he would someday want to help other aspiring DJs to get a career in the radio industry. “My TV talent fee might pay all my bills and much more, but radio is my passion,” he said. “TV is my element. Radio is my passion. It is more interactive and accessible; you get people’s reaction almost immediately.”

According to Mr. Fu a DJ should possess at least five qualities that would make him last in the radio industry—character, content, clarity, connection, and creativity.

“I give advice and criticisms in a constructive manner,” he said. “That is how I started. That is my character. There should also be content, what you say should mean something.”

Being the down-to-earth guy Mr. Fu is, he said he does not need to pretend to look intelligent on air for a DJ does not need to be too deep, he said.

“I wanted to tell stories in a casual, conversational manner,” he said. “That is important. That is the peg and listeners should be able to relate to you. You should speak well, even if you speak quickly. You have to be understood.”

“I hope ten years from now I will still have the same voice,” he said. “I might have a husky voice by then, but my radio career will still be my priority.”

Being a Thomasian

Mr. Fu said that most of his family members including his mother, aunts, and cousins were Thomasians, so it was no surprise he ended up in the same University.

“I took the exam late,” he said, adding that he barely made it in the last batch of UST entrance test takers. “I was already planning to apply for a job in McDo in case I did not get in!”

When asked what the best thing about being a Thomasian is, he answered that it is their value system.

“With my Thomasian workmates, all of us were willing to work immediately after graduation,” he said. “We were willing to learn and to take any task without second thoughts.” Futhermore, he said that the best part of being a Thomasian Artlets student is liberalism at its best, something which he knows he also has the knack for.

“Artlets students are said to be well-rounded,” he said, mentioning that the reporting profession is not the profession for those who want to become wealthy.

“If you want to get rich, do not be a reporter,” he said. “Of course there are reporters and broadcasters who have ‘leveled-up’ like Arnold Clavio, Mel Tiangco, but that is a different story. It takes time to reach the point they have reached now.”

“Of course, the job of a DJ will be set apart. A DJ is like crazy person alone in the booth,” he continued. “One should learn to talk to the audience and never alienate them. It is the DJ’s job to make sure they are part of everything.”
F
Year 47 |  Issue 3 |  2011
Jeffrey Espiritu a.k.a. ‘Mr. Fu’   
“The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future  for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

AFTER hosting a radio show from morning until noon, a man with the sunniest of dispositions has not at all showed the slightest trace of exhaustion.

Being a naturally cheerful person, he ends the show with so much optimism that it just rubs on everyone else, especially the listeners.

With the popular expression “
megan’on?” copyrighted to his name, radio jockey, television host, and comedian Mr. Fu (Jeffrey Espiritu in real life) is almost impossible to misidentify. A graduate of AB Communication Arts (CA) in 1999, he makes it a point to make everyday fun-filled the first time he realized he had the drive to do so.

Heard in radio station Wow FM and seen in TV shows like
Celebrity Samurai, Wow Mali, Talentadong Pinoy, and Paparazzi at TV-5, Mr. Fu manages to fit all his hosting jobs in his schedule perfectly.
Year 47 |  Issue 4 |  2012