Alden on AlDub craze: Is it for real?
Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – AlDub has been described as a pairing that “nobody saw coming.” But there’s another reason that the now phenomenal love team of Alden Richards and Maine “Yaya Dub” Mendoza in Eat, Bulaga’s Kalyeserye segment was meant to be.

GMA sources said that it was supposedly the last week of Alden’s hosting stint in Eat, Bulaga when cameras caught Maine breaking out of her stern Yaya Dub character and looking thrilled at the sight of Alden at the studio, watching her “dubsmashing” on the remote Juan for All, All for Juan segment. That fateful July 16 episode gave birth to the one-of-a-kind “split-screen romance” of AlDub.

Alden was put on the longest-running noontime show after GMA Artist Center asked Tape, Inc., the producers of Eat, Bulaga, if the Kapuso actor could guest-host while waiting for network projects at that time.

“It was very providential,” the source said.

Fifteen “weeksaries” after and you have the “hottest” love team in Philippine showbiz today, tapped by one company after another for brand endorsement.

Last Thursday, Alden was launched as the celebrity ambassador of the supplement product Snowcaps, his eighth endorsement deal to date. Six of those endorsements came with the three-month AlDub fever. Expect more to come.

“I’ve prayed for this moment to come in my life, in my career. But di ko naman po in-expect that it will happen this fast. So, every day, when I host on Eat, Bulaga and when I see the people, I still get overwhelmed. And with the number of media present here, I feel overwhelmed. Before, I also had presscons but it was just one table (of press people). But now, ang dami niyo uy!” the 23-year-old actor laughingly told the media, imitating another Kalyeserye main character Lola Nidora (played by Wally Bayola). 

“On top of that, I’m just happy and feeling blessed by the love I’m getting from all of you. My management, my family and I couldn’t believe that this is happening to me now. So, every day, we try to keep our feet firmly planted on the ground,” said Alden.

Recalling the 55,000-strong crowd that showed up at the Philippine Arena last Saturday to witness AlDub’s highly-anticipated Tamang Panahon, their first concert together and longest face-to-face encounter, Alden said that he couldn’t help but ask himself, “Is this for real? Did the people really come here to see me and Maine? Until now, it hasn’t sunk in. I thank the Lord for everything that has come my way.”

AlDub has been deconstructed by sociologists, pop culture pundits and marketing experts to explain its magic. Even BBC News, Spotify and US diplomats have caught on the craze. 

With Pinoys being a sucker for romance, it’s not hard to see that its appeal also lies in the unfolding reel (or real?) love story of Alden and Yaya Dub on live television, amidst challenges, Traditional Courtship 101 lessons and comical situations induced by lolas Nidora, Tinidora (Jose Manalo) and Tidora (Paolo Ballesteros). The lines between scripted and reality TV are further blurred by the matchmaking and running commentary of the EB hosts, as well as real-time reactions of a social media-savvy audience.

Off the Kalyeserye, Alden said that Tamang Panahon marked the start of a getting-to-know phase.

He said of Maine, the 20-year-old Internet darling who has successfully crossed over to mainstream TV: “I’m starting to know her more and I think masarap siyang makatrabaho kasi totoo siyang tao, not fake, she’s not showbiz. Maybe that’s what’s lacking in our industry now, yung mga taong hindi masyado showbiz. She’s not like that. So, I always look forward to working with her… makulit din gaya ko.”

“She’s still shy towards me,” observed Alden in the few occasions that they were together in one place, like in last Thursday’s “15th weeksary.” In off-cam conversations, “I always ask her questions that are comfortable, not really serious. Slowly, na-be-break yung wall of shyness niya.

And even if the record-breaking 41 million tweets during the Tamang Panahon event are hankering for them to end up as a real-life couple, Alden said that they are not feeling the pressure. “Mostly po ng AlDub fans, they’re really hoping for this to continue and to develop into something romantic. But no pressure. We just enjoy every moment. As Tape, Inc. boss Mr. Tony Tuviera said, you just enjoy your moment. You enjoy your job. Work together. Be good friends. Yun muna and we’ll see kung saan kayo dadalhin.

Nevertheless, Alden said that the “overwhelming” patronage of fans and popularity he’s experiencing now aren’t possible without Maine. “This is a team. This is love team. Tulungan po. Kami pong dalawa ni Maine, we help each other to be better in this industry.”



Meanwhile, Alden isn’t complaining despite a packed schedule, from promoting his now certified platinum album in mall shows, holding fans day around the country, to filming for the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival entry My Bebe Love with Vic Sotto, Ai-Ai delas Alas and Maine. Alden and Maine started shooting scenes together yesterday.

“It’s my decision to commit to a lot of schedules because I’m a workaholic. Hinahanap siya ng katawan ko everytime. I’m okay as long as I can have my sleep for a few hours, my massage and my gym (time).”

One sure thing he won’t be doing is endorsing a political candidate in the elections as he denied rumors that he was offered P100M to do so. “That is not true, nobody came to offer that much money to endorse a politician. Personally, I don’t want to endorse anyone. I don’t want to mix showbiz and politics. There were offers before during the first two months of AlDub to endorse a political party, a political person, but I took a stand po, that perhaps it’s better to concentrate on showbiz.”

There are also no plans of doing a major concert to the tune of an eight-figure talent fee.

Gigi Santiago-Lara, GMA senior AVP for Alternative Productions, said, “There’s no offer. I was shocked (by the report). I get messages from the producer but never a formal offer.”

GMA Artist Center solely manages the career of Alden. Lara said they’ve been getting a lot of invitations for tours here and abroad for Alden, but projects for Tape, Inc. as well as GMA are the main priority.

“We’ve always seen such great potential in Alden. With the roles we’ve given him, he’s always leading man especially in the last two projects Carmela (with no less than Marian Rivera) and Ilustrado (as the young National Hero Jose Rizal). We also tried to develop him as a host with Bet ng Bayan. Of course, nothing beats what has happened to him in Eat, Bulaga. I think it worked because maganda yung material and yung combination nila (ni Maine), they clicked! All the elements came together,” Lara said.

“We’re very thankful to (Eat, Bulaga) for welcoming Alden to their program. Kami yung nakiusap kasi walang show at that time si Alden. GMA is very supportive of him staying in Eat, Bulaga and of course, we’re looking forward to doing more projects with him in 2016. Hopefully, (it will be) a teleserye, within the first quarter of the year.”

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