SAN BRUNO, Calif.—“In 1972 I was separated from my wife, my life was miserable, there was no direction and despite success, there was emptiness,” recalled former Philippine showbiz icon Eddie Mesa.
A legend in the Philippine movies and a singing idol in the ‘60s, Mesa remains visible in public, this time, actively serving various Christian churches in California, where he found solace and invigorating spirit through preaching the Gospel.
Mesa sang Christmas carols from Elvis Presley’s albums (“Blue Christmas,” “Celebrating Jesus” and “White Christmas”) and Apo Hiking Society’s’ “Tuloy Pa Rin Ang Pasko,” as he shared personal testimony with hundreds of Filipino-American parishioners at the Church of the Highlands in San Bruno, California, in time for the “Pasko Sa Highlands” holiday celebration on Saturday night (Dec. 21).
Church of the Highlands serves a weekly average of 1,500 Fil-Ams—youths, couples and families—the communities of San Bruno, Daly City, South San Francisco and other neighboring cities with ministries led by Pastor Bert Cortez.
Known as the “Elvis Presley of the Philippines,” Mesa, whose real name is Eduardo Eigenmann is of Swiss-German ancestry. He has reunited with his wife, the multi-awarded actress Rosemarie Gil, and is father to a famous acting brood, Mark, Michael and Cherie.
In the Spirit now
“I came in San Francisco as a musician in 1973,” Mesa told INQUIRER.net, “The late singer Bobby Laigo, a close friend of mine, guided me and showed me the Bible.”
Mesa recounted that he tried one religion after another, only to find himself focused on the teachings of the Christian faith.
In 1977 he became a born-again Christian. “ I was thinking of going back to Las Vegas but only if I knew the simplicity of going to Heaven. But then, I decided to go back to Manila, and share the Gospel.”
Mesa started singing Gospel songs and shared the Bible for most of his stay in Manila’s Fairview Baptist Church. “That was where I grew with the Bible,” he added.
“Whatever you achieve in life, it’s going to be empty,” the reflective Mesa said. “In the heart of every person, there’s vacuum that can’t be filled by any material thing, except God.”
Mesa and Gil are now living in Southern California where they actively serve Crossline Community Church in Laguna Hills.
“Christmas is all about God,” he said. “It shows that in countries with money like America, it becomes so stressful—thinking of what to buy, you have no money–even the Nativity Scene is kept from the public.”
Mesa was the top impersonator of the Rock-n-Roll King in the Philippines and was the leader of the band, The Trippers. They became known as Eddie Mesa and The Trippers.
Fame and glory messed him up. He recalled that as he rose to stardom, he experimented with sex, drugs and alcohol that led him to a more troubled life.
Mesa quoted one of his favorite verses in the Bible, John 10:10—“The thief cometh not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
He left the Philippines in search of inner peace. He has changed for the better. He succeeded in finding his “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
The Eddie Mesa that can now be seen on stage is definitely his real self, a sensitive and expressive performer who exudes warmth and love inspired by his newfound devotion to God.