During the renewal of his GMA contract (not disclosed for how long), Alden thanks his network and supporters for not leaving him through the ups and downs in his professional and personal life. ‘I have faith in God,’ he said. ‘When all this is over, I have the hand of God to hold on to.’
Photos by Ver Paulino
Alden Richards is truly gifted
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - September 6, 2019 - 12:00am


That best describes Alden Richards’ current state of being, both personally and professionally, an adjective derived from the title of his new GMA soap, The Gift, airing starting on Sept. 16, Monday.

Alden is gifted in more ways than one. His cup runneth over, as they’d say. Now being called Asia’s Multi-Media Star, Alden was given an Asian Star Prize by the recent Seoul International Drama Awards 2019 and the Celebrity Icon Award by the Okada Manila 2019 Icon Awards. He has been ruling all media of entertainment ­— recording (with a hit album titled Wish I May, released at the peak of his AlDub tandem with Maine Mendoza who is currently pursuing a separate path with Carlo Aquino in the movie Isa Pa With Feelings, successful concerts both here and abroad, commercials/endorsements, television and, of course, film with Hello, Love, Goodbye (HLG), his Star Cinema starrer with Kathryn Bernardo that has broken the P1B-mark (official gross being unreleased just yet), making it the highest-grossing local film of all time.

He has wisely invested his earnings in several businesses, including two outlets of Concha’s restaurant (one along Scout Madrinan in Quezon City, right across from Il Terrazo on Tomas Morato Avenue; and another in Tagaytay City) and a McDonald’s branch in Biñan, Laguna, the same province where he has built his dream house.

By the way, a little clarification about the Seoul award.

It’s true that PAGCOR, which is among the awards’ sponsors, nominated Alden for the Asian Star Prize award, subject to the approval of the Seoul International Drama Awards.

“But I spent for my trip to Seoul,” said Alden. “And I thank PAGCOR which was one of the main reasons why I got the award.”

Last Tuesday when he renewed his contract (terms and length not disclosed), Alden was profuse with gratitude for the network that has been his home for 10 years.

“Since I started in GMA up to this point in my career,” he told the audience at a GMA function hall composed of network executives, media guys and some selected Aldenians, “sila ang sumusugal sa akin, the ones who gamble on me. They gave me huge projects, huge opportunities and regardless whether they were successful or not, they didn’t stop. They never left me; hindi nila ako pinabayaan. They continued believing in me kahit na minsan wala ng angle to believe in. They held my hand through my ups and downs, something I didn’t feel from others.”

Eliminated by the talent search StarStruck (he also failed an audition for ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Big Brother/PBB), Alden continued undiscouraged until he officially started as a Kapuso in the series Alakdana nine years ago as the partner of Louise delos Reyes, and drifted from one show (in one of them cast as Dr. Jose Rizal) to another until Eat, Bulaga! launched him and Maine as a loveteam. The rest is…well you know…

During last Tuesday’s open forum, Alden was asked how he felt about having been rejected not once, not twice but several times, including by a singer-actress whose career seems to have hit a snag.

“Choice nila ‘yon, desisyon nila ‘yon,” Alden said without rancor, and I don’t blame them. Walang pilitan, kung ayaw hindi dapat pilitin. I couldn’t do anything about it. Wala sa akin ‘yon. In fact, I even thanked them because they encouraged me to do things my own way; hindi sumama ang loob ko sa kanila. Those incidents made me strong and gave me confidence to take risks on my own.”

He was destined, meant to be for something else.

Commented senior assistant vice president for Alternative Productions Gigi Santiago-Lara who acts as Alden’s manager, “I admire him for being down-to-earth. I’m proud of him. ‘Yung passion na nakita ko sa kanya since we started working together is still there. His willingness and passion to grow is impressive. He likes to give back to all who have helped him. That’s what sets him apart from other stars.”

In The Gift, with little actress Jo Berry as his foster mother, Alden had to immerse himself at the Resources For the Blind, Inc. for his role as a Divisoria hawker who becomes visually-challenged.

“Like my character,” said Alden, “I have never lost faith in God. I hold on to God to keep me grounded and not forget where I came from. At the end of the day, kapag wala na ang fame, the money, the popularity at ang hiyawan ng mga tao, what will remain is the love of God. At ‘yan ang kinakapitan ko.”

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)


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