COVER: AlDub forever
Gaby Gloria (The Philippine Star) - March 18, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - As a viewer, you normally wouldn’t give much thought to the kind of work that goes into shooting a teleserye on location. Sure, you’d think that there must be a cast and crew involved, but you don’t consider that the locations they use are actual places that people live in.

Today, we’re at a shooting location for Destined to Be Yours, the GMA teleserye headlined by Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards, both halves of the loveteam known as AlDub.

They’ve closed off this portion of the street for the taping, but the lights and vans have attracted curious passersby who get excited upon catching a glimpse of Maine and Alden. This morning’s scene is set outside an art gallery somewhere in Cubao, so Supreme is doing the cover shoot inside. The gallery’s façade includes a large glass window. At this point, a small group of people has gathered outside, peering into the window, cellphone cameras pointed at the couple being photographed.

“Nasa aquarium ba kami?” remarks a man on set, referring to all the people pressed on the other side of the glass. He has a point. Dressed in understated plain white t-shirts, both Alden and Maine attract attention without even having to try.

This comes as no surprise, though. AlDub rose to popularity primarily thanks to all the support they got from social media. And while the excitement from two years ago has since gone down a notch, the fact that the duo still trends every night shows the power of AlDub Nation.

Star-Crossed Lovers

The duo’s new soap opera is a romantic comedy about star-crossed lovers, radio DJ Sinag (Mendoza) and architect Benjie (Richards). It’s their first television project together outside of Eat Bulaga’s Kalyeserye, which is the variety show segment that made AlDub a household name and a nationwide phenomenon. This teleserye project took a while to come together, so by the time it started airing in February of this year, the Kalyeserye hype had already started winding down.

With a following of their love team’s scale, it’s amazing to think that all of this just happened in the last two years. It is precisely because of this that Alden and Maine now seem to understand a lot about the showbiz industry and how it works. 

Alden knowingly says that they’ve learned that the Filipino audience is much smarter nowadays because they know what’s worth their time. “Siguro what changed is people tend to latch on things na nakaka-relate sila,” he explains. “It’s more of how they can relate yung buhay nila to what they watch. It’s more of the reality side, what is really happening.”  

Pressure to Succeed

Given the sheer enormity of the AlDub phenomenon, you’d think that the pressure to live up to fan expectations is as big as ever. But both Maine and Alden agree that they’re just going to stay true to themselves and keep it real.

Maine’s outlook references their origins. “Doon din kasi nila kami nagustuhan, so ayaw din namin i-meet yung expectations nila through pretending na ganito, ganyan. So we just go with the flow,” she says. “And siyempre, ayoko namang i-fake kung sino ako. Since dito rin naman ako nakilala, sa pagiging totoo.”

Alden believes that you have to look at things the way you want because life is all about choices, and because everyone has their own free will. “Sometimes it’s really hard to live your life based on what people want you to do,” he says. “It’s not that easy kasi we are public figures — all eyes are on us, especially if we do things that don’t suit the taste of the market or the crowd. But it’s really doing things to please them but at the same time, hindi naman dapat dehado kami.”

Aldub learns to rock

The two may know a lot, but they also admit that they’re still learning as they go along. “Every day is a constant chance to learn something new,” says Alden. Since he’s very thankful for all of the opportunities being given to him, he says that he’s learned more about all the possibilities for him to give back.

“Nag-iba yung perception ko dun sa trabaho na we can do so much more than the talent that we have,” he says. “We can extend our talent to helpful ways, you know, to take care of other people, our countrymen.” 

For Maine, she’s discovered that she wants to explore more opportunities as an actress and behind the scenes. “Gusto ko ring mag-work behind the camera. Sana kung mabibigyan akong chance and opportunity, gusto kong mag-aral na maging director.”

While it’s easy to dismiss what they’re saying as the regular showbiz PR, that’s far from the case. Maine is the same hyper, bubbly character that she is on TV as she jokes with the rest of the crew, and Alden (though a bit sick during the shoot) is straightforward and humble as he talks about how he’s proud to see Maine grow as an actress.

It is true that what they’re like on TV is exactly what they’re like in real life.

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Tweet the author @gabyabbyy.

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