“Where did you get your shirt?” I asked him.
“A gift from a fan,” said Alden.
He said his house is filled with gifts from fans, and letters.
“Who opens them?”
I noticed his watch—a simple white-strapped watch, nothing fancy. I like that. It shows his simplicity.
I saw the rosary on his wrist.
“I love your rosary. Are you Catholic?”
“My family and I were baptized Catholics,” he said. “I still hear mass and pray the rosary. Four months ago, Miss Kuh Ledesma brought me to CCF (Christ’s Commission Fellowship). I’ve been going there ever since. I’ve even brought my family there. I like it because I’m treated like a regular person. To be honest, I’m allergic to special treatment.”
(Kuh and Alden worked together on a show called Bet Ng Bayan, a singing search, where Alden was a co-host of Regine Velasquez and Kuh was a judge, along with Lani Misalucha and Louie Ocampo.
According to Kuh Ledesma, Alden was “very ready to accept Jesus Christ as his savior.”
Alden’s first visit to CCF was four months ago after coming back from a show in the US. He says his life turned around after that.)
Dinna and I noticed how clean he eats—from the way he plates his food to the way he manages to do an interview while eating. He seems really at ease with himself.
What’s your favorite food?
“I love laing. One of my favorite provinces in the Philippines is Bicol. So whenever I’m there, I make sure that I eat laing because it’s really authentic. I also like bopis. Where do I eat this? Sa mga carinderia. Whenever I see a carinderia and I am hungry, I always say, ‘Let’s eat bopis.'”
“What is bopis?” I asked.
When Alden mentioned innards and lungs, I kind of zonked out. I cannot imagine, hehe.
How do you stay healthy despite your busy schedule?
“I eat healthy. My cousin is a chef. She cooks for me every day. She brings the food to Eat Bulaga from Monday to Friday. That’s five days. Saturdays and Sundays are cheat days. Usually, I try to stay away from carbs. I eat mostly protein, fiber and veggies. I can’t live a day without eating veggies and fruits. Ito nga, cheat day na ito (points to his plate).”
Driving to work relaxes him. He does this every day and drives to Eat Bulaga all the way from Laguna.
“I have a driver but I like driving,” said Alden. “It’s my therapy. Like most guys, I love cars. I usually drive to work with my driver and personal assistant Tenten.”
“Do you have plans of moving to the city, closer to work?” I asked him.
“I’ve lived in Sta. Rosa all my life,” he said. “My heart will always belong to the South.”
Before I could ask what he plans to do with all his earnings, Alden said they are building a new home.
“Yung first house namin, we had to leave kasi binabaha, so we have to transfer. Now, I am having a house built near Nuvali,” he said.
I was glad to hear it.
What’s a typical day like for you?
“I’m up around 6:30 on regular working days. Then I go to the gym somewhere in Alabang where I alternate CrossFit and lifting weights. Then I drive to Eat Bulaga. The afternoons are usually for photo shoots, interviews, shoots for TVCs. If I don’t have work, I’d rather go home. The rare free afternoons I’ve had in the last four months were spent at home.”
I heard you like dogs.
“I do! I love dogs. I have two: a two-year-old Husky and a five-month-old Pinoy (like an askal).”
What do they call you at home?
“RJ. I am Richard Faulkerson Jr.”
He explained that his father Richard is half-American while his late mom is Filipino. He has two other siblings who also live at home—a brother (who has graduated from college) and a girl (who is graduating this schoolyear).
What is something you’d like to do that you can’t do now?
“I would love to travel; to live for a month like a local in another country. Maybe Egypt or India. I would like to be a backpacker and mix with the local people, eat the food they’re eating. In college, we went to Bataan for an immersion and stayed with a family. We ate their food, slept where they slept.”
Alden took up Management at De La Salle Canlubang but didn’t finish because of work. He said the school is offering him a scholarship just so he could graduate. But even if Alden is very busy with work, he hopes to finish college.
This is when I nearly died: when Alden looked at me and said, “Nabasa ko pala yung mga tweets and blog mo about my outfits.”
I checked his eyes for traces of anger, but only saw big doe eyes. I started to sweat under my jacket and took it off.
Wooooh! — Regine
I started to fan myself with my hand. Drink water. Calm down. I couldn’t hear what he was saying. I got nervous and tried to hide behind Jujiin.
Alden was saying something and I interrupted him.
“Alden. Let me explain.”
Alden looks at me. The room is silent.
“Alden. I love you. I wouldn’t watch Eat Bulaga if I didn’t love you. I would not watch if you weren’t in it. I really think you’re cute and I just want you to look your best.”
“I understand,” he said. “I really don’t mind.”
“Listen, if I didn’t care you can wear whatever you want. But I care.” I heard myself mumbling.
That was when I decided I wouldn’t say anything bad about him anymore. You will not see me tweet crazy things about his outfits.
That was when I really liked him. To be able to look at me and tell me honestly, “I’ve seen your tweets.”
Dinna kept checking the time. It was almost 11 AM when we decided it was time to take photos with the helpers.
They were over the moon. And let me tell you, every time Alden does the pabebe wave, his face transforms into cuteness. It’s like magic.
He wanted to meet Nora, our cook, who is being treated for DCIS. Not a dry eye in the house when he hugged her.
Before Alden left, he made bilin: “Alagaan niyo si Ate Nora.”
Please pray for her.
With Patty Betita and Fay Lao
With Cibo staff
More photos were taken with the maids, the neighbor’s maids, our driver.
Then Alden was set to go. He invited me for a photo op. I declined.
Alden looked confused.
“Not me, I don’t like pictures of me,” I explained.
He hugged me instead. Like three times. We made beso. And then he was gone.
When Alden left, I had three servings of champorado with five tuyo. It was past 11 and I was starving. I can’t remember the last time I had champorado. The maids also sat down to eat.
We all stayed for hours just talking about what happened. Nobody bothered to watch Eat Bulaga—we were still high on his visit.
At one point I had to step out and sit by the stairs just to have a moment. Everything felt like a dream. A good dream.
Five days later we’re still not over it.
I have had celebrities in my house, but never had the feeling of wanting to keep someone.
He’s like a puppy dog or a Polly Pocket. You just want to keep him.
I cannot imagine how Maine feels. (We didn’t ask about her out of respect. No personal questions.)
For now, I just want to thank Dinna, Ira, Sam, Tenten, and the powers that be for bringing him here.
Thank you Cibo for the great service as always.
Thank you Jujiin and Paulo for the wonderful video.
Thank you Patty and Direk Bert for having us at Eat Bulaga.
Most of all, thank you Alden!
P.S. I’m going to have a special giveaway very soon. Please watch for it.