It has been one heck of a year for Alden Richards. The Kapuso prime artist has just wrapped up his telefantasya Victor Magtanggol wherein he played the titular superhero character. He has also staged his second solo concert recently. He continues to host for variety programs Eat Bulaga and Sunday PinaSaya. Plus, he is getting more involved now in his food business. Additionally, he is inspired as ever to reach new goals, without showing any signs of burnout even if he has been working nonstop since his career skyrocketed three years ago.
He has been wearing various hats of late, but Alden states, “I’m really an actor. This is my core. I mean, I am here because I need and I want to act. Nagbibigay ng lakas sa akin ‘yun whenever I am able to deliver roles and projects and people get inspiration out of it. That’s what really matters to me. But siguro siyempre si Lord bibigyan ka rin niya ng ibang areas to explore. Kaya pina-explore niya ako into hosting when I entered Eat Bulaga and doing concerts and shows with music.”
He claims that what keeps him going is the strength that he gets from God, his family, friends, and supporters. “I really believe that some things are meant to be and some things are not meant to be. So sometimes kailangan nating balansehin ‘yung mga emosyon natin kung saan ba talaga tayo dapat at paano natin siya i-te-take.”
He adds, “It’s gonna be my eighth year in the industry and I’ve seen a lot of changes: a lot of ins and outs, a lot of challenges, failures, acceptance, etcetera. Parang in my eight years of stay, ang dami ko pang hindi alam. ‘Yun ‘yung masasabi ko sa sarili ko. But moreover, really, it’s the work that gives me strength na ang daming na-i-inspire. You get to touch people’s lives through the work so ‘yun ‘yung nagpapa-stay sa akin dito.”
The 26-year-old expounds on how great it feels to encourage others. “We don’t really mind the numbers, actually. Mas importante sa amin is the feedback we get from people, the feedback we get from the management, the creative side of GMA, and ‘yung mga taong na-i-inspire through Victor Magtanggol. The kids most especially na tina-tag ako sa social media na gumagawa ng mga costumes. They used it for Halloween parties tapos ‘yung mga bata na na-i-inspire with the story of Victor Magatanggol.”
The ever-humble superstar puts more premium on the bigger picture. “So ‘yun ‘yung pinaka-importante sa akin kasi at the end of the day, when you look at the show, it’s really about family, it’s really about doing good for other people, it’s about sacrifice.” One of the many young viewers who was inspired by his superhero role is Niño whom he met through the GMA Public Affairs program Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho.
“I am sending him to school. ‘Yun ‘yung masasarap tulungan na tao, when you see a certain level of hard work and ‘yung hindi nila mina-mind kung anuman ‘yung disability. Nung nakita ko si Niño nun, I told myself, ‘Ang suwerte ko pa rin.’ I get to stress on problems na compared dun sa challenge and struggles ni Niño, walang-wala dun sa mga iniisip ko. So I told myself, ‘Anong karapatan kong mamroblema on a certain thing when this kid has no hands every day of his life? Tapos ako ito lang ‘yung problema?’”
Alden takes the chance to laud his supporters because they motivate him, too. “In that way I am able to cope with the stresses that I’m encountering and feeling kasi at the end of the day, you’ll say to yourself ‘pag nakahiga ka na sa kama mo and then before you close your eyes, ‘You’re still blessed’ na you’ve been able to be in a position na you get to inspire people like Niño. So this is really the purpose of this job for me: to inspire kids and to inspire a lot of people through my work.”
His most recent primetime television project has opened his eyes to more realities in the business. “Masaya. It has been a journey filled with a lot of emotions and a lot of experiences and lessons. It’s my first superhero role so medyo challenging talaga siya.” For him, his telefantasya is one his highlights for this year. “What I discovered most significant about this project was ‘yung empathy ko towards the people who work behind the camera. ‘Yun ‘yung pinaka parang na-discover na mas lumalim ‘yung understanding ko about their jobs. And mahirap siya. Hindi siya madali.”
He continues, “With this project, team effort yung naramdaman ko. Everyone is involved: the creatives, writers, artists, actors, directors, the prod team. This is my very first project na ‘yung entitlement ko sa creative process is nakakapagbigay sa akin ng parang empowerment. I feel empowered with this privilege na nabigay sa akin na I’m able to contribute ideas for the story. Ang laking bagay nun sa artista.”
Alden also shares the learnings he got from co-stars Janine Gutierrez and Andrea Torres. “Ang sarap nilang kaeksena kasi in a way as co-actors, they give you challenges as well. Kumbaga binibigyan ka nila ng challenge in the way they take on a scene and ikaw, it’s up to you on how you reciprocate those reactions that they give to you. I’m really happy that I was able to work with them.”
He goes on, “‘I should say. Ang laking factor na sobrang solid ‘yung off cam moments kasi nag-ma-manifest siya onscreen. Walang effort. So ‘yun ‘yung na-appreciate ko sa kanilang dalawa kasi I’ve found new friends, real friends in Andrea and Janine.”
As he was taping episodes for Victor Magtanggol, he was also in the thick of training for his Adrenaline Rush concert last September 21, 2018 at the Kia Theater. Such solo concert is a follow-up to last year’s Upsurge. “I had my first concert last year. I had a long time to prepare. This time, I only had six days. During that six-day prep, nag-te-taping pa ako in between.”
He recalls, “So when September started, I started to pray sabi ko before ako matulog pagpatak ng midnight, ‘Lord, sana malapagsan ko ‘tong September flawlessly atsaka sana maka-deliver ako sa concert. Sana hindi ako magkasakit.’ Kasi being a non-professional performer, I’m not really for short rehearsals. If I get the time to rehearse more, mas na-de-deliver ko nang maayos kasi hindi naman talaga ako pro performer especially when it comes to singing and dancing. So mahirap.”
With this challenge at hand, he knew that he had to change his mindset. “It’s really work, work, work. Sabi ko, ‘Walang puwedeng makadiskaril ng concentration ko this September. I need to focus.’ ‘Yung focus ko talaga with everything that I need to accomplish, tutok talaga ako. And then nung concert day na, parang dumaan lang. So smooth, everything was delivered on point.”
He was all the more relieved when the concert received positive feedback. “That really meant a lot for me na parang it’s not really how long you prepare but how you focus your mind to accomplish things. ‘Yun lang ‘yung trick, ‘yung technique, and especially when you have really, really good core people.” He was so fired up by the energy of the concertgoers, causing him to realize, “Ah, ang sarap pang gumawa ng mga shows and concerts for these people with this support that I was able to get from them.”
Alden may insist on being called primarily an actor, but he has also found success in the recording industry. His latest album, Until I See You Again, is an addition to his successful discography featuring Alden Richards, Wish I May, and Say It Again. He has been named recently by the PMPC Star Awards for Music as Male Pop Recording Artist of the Year. His third album, Say It Again, was hailed as Pop Album of the Year and Album of the Year.
“Minsan ‘pag kumukuha ako ng award for music, may hiya eh. I don’t know,” he laughs shyly with hesitation and disbelief. “Nahihiya akong kunin especially when I see my co-nominees. First of all, I’m not a singer so there’s a sense of ‘I don’t feel like I deserve it’ but siyempre hindi ko naman hawak ‘yun. Feeling ko lang naman ‘yun. But I’m grateful for the award, for the recognition, pero siyempre mas may mga iba pang deserving.”
Despite his hectic schedule, Alden continues with his hosting and comedic stints in Sunday Pinasaya and Eat Bulaga, the latter being the birthplace of the phenomenal AlDub love team with Maine Mendoza. “Before acting, I’m really a host. My school always used to get me to host events, emcee pa nga tawag sa amin nun eh. So talagang ‘yun ‘yung unang skill na natutunan ko before entering show business. So that’s why masarap din maging host kasi it’s a different experience. ‘Yun ‘yung isa sa mga pinaka-chill na trabaho for me.”
The dramatic actor also cites how difficult it is to do comedy. “Mas mahirap mag-comedy kaysa magpaiyak. Laughter kasi mahirap i-fake. Mahirap siya, hindi mo siya makukuha nang aral. It has to be organic to the viewers and audiences. And sometimes the funnier moments are the ones that are simple, ‘yung simple lang, walang effort. ‘Yung talagang konting mistake, ‘yun ‘yung nakakatawa rather than hard selling comedy.”
With the many things going on in his career, there is surprisingly way more on Alden’s plate. His food business dealing with several Concha’s Garden Café branches is keeping him preoccupied these days. “It took me a lot of guts to get into business and say yes kasi ganun talaga, ‘pag wala kang experience, wala kang background, takot ka magbitaw ng pera. Hindi madali kasi it’s hard-earned money and hindi lang ‘yun nakuha overnight. Sugal siya talaga especially restaurant; food is a very difficult business. You have to take care of the quality, the taste, and the experience of your customers.”
Things have been favorable for him as an industrial partner of the restaurant which has branches in Tagaytay and Quezon City. “We tore down the first Concha’s and we’re rebuilding it into a bigger Concha’s because we’re now for franchising. And I started to explore also to be involved in other business areas but food pa rin. So next year, I will be opening another restaurant pero surprise. ‘Yun ‘yung pinaghahandaan namin this year, my sister and my family, actually.”
Although he has declared his intention to be more hands-on in his food business, Alden is still not letting go of his greatest dream in showbiz. “Doon na tayo sa Hollywood. I’m really eyeing an international project and hindi man Hollywood but something outside of the Philippines. I want to experience a different workplace, a different field. Parang ibang feeling din kasi ‘yun na you get to act, you get to bring your talent outside of your country. ‘Yun talaga ‘yung ultimate dream ko now is to do a project abroad.”
What is exciting is that Alden has already taken actual steps to get closer to his dream. “Well, before Victor Magtanggol, I took up an acting workshop in New York with Anthony Bova. It’s Eric Morris Method Acting. I took a one-on-one with him for two days and then we started to get connections inside different production houses kasi apparently may mga Pinoy and mababait ‘yung mga kausap natin diyan. Hinold muna ‘yun because of Victor [Magtanggol] but I have plans of pursuing it in the following months.”
More than having his personal goal in mind, the Pambansang Bae shares that he has other reasons for working extra hard to bag an international project. “Of course, it’s mostly being proud to be a Filipino. Parang I wanna step out of the country and be proud of my country, kung saan ako nanggaling, and to share the talent of the Filipinos abroad,” says Alden in a tone full of resolve and sincerity.
Alden Richards is nominated at this year’s Inside Showbiz Awards! Head over to the Inside Showbiz Awards page to vote for him and your other favorites!