Message from the Embassy of France to the Philippines:
The French government has decided to re-establish internal border controls following the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris and its region last November 13, 2015.
This decision does not affect the validity of visas previously issued by French consulates or Schengen missions across the world, which should continue to allow entry in France and/or free circulation within the Schengen area.
To facilitate border entry, holders of Schengen visas are requested to have in their possession all documents justifying their trip to France.
P.S. Don’t you just love that the French government has a logo? I do!
“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.
The first time I ever heard of AlDub was in August. We were on our way to Makati Med for our cook Nora’s appointment with Dr. Gerard Henson. We got stuck in McKinley because of a thunderstorm.
“Have you heard of AlDub?” Dinna asked in the car.
“Nope. What’s that?”
Our maid Aiza, who was seated at the back of the car, became very excited.
In our house, Aiza is the biggest fan of Alden Richards. Every Saturday you can hear screaming coming from the kitchen.
In September, I started watching episodes and got hooked.
I just find the entire show so charming. It reminds me of the simple comedy we used to watch when I was a kid. I love the lolas and their unique personalities—with the sungit, the flirty dancer, and the kikay (woooh!).
I love the giving of the prizes to the poor. I love to hear their stories and imagine how all that money would improve their lives.
Yaya Dub is adorable, but what I really love is there’s a cute guy involved. That guy is Alden Richards.
At the height of his popularity, with traffic rerouted for his Iloilo visit, where 50,000 fans saw him, it’s hard to imagine that someone like Alden Richards would take a special trip to my house for a small group of people. But it happened.
On Monday morning I was preparing for a heartbreak in case Alden Richards didn’t show up. After all, he was supposed to be here from 8-10 AM, but his ETA became 9-9:30 AM.
Finally at 10 AM, he arrived with his personal assistant Tenten. He had driven himself all the way from Sta. Rosa Laguna.
They were met in front by Mark Sablan and Sam Sanciangco of GMA Artist Center, my colleague Dinna Vasquez, and videographer Paulo Castro.
We did not rehearse this. I was not prepared.
Dinna motioned for me to come out and meet him. I met him at the stairwell. Alden offered his hand and I shook it.
“How or what do I call you?” I heard myself say.
“Anything you want Ma’am. Alden is fine,” he smiled.
“Thank you for coming here,” I told him before opening the door.
“But wait. Could you wait here a moment? I just have to call some people.”
Alden look suprised, but said, OK.
I closed the door behind me and walked calmly to my bedroom where the maids were cleaning.
I composed myself and said, “Lumabas muna kayo. May bisita tayo.”
The maid looked confused.
“Halika na, lahat kayo.”
They followed me and this is what happened next.
I did not expect the kind of reception the maids gave Alden. Dinna said she was afraid he might fall down the stairs. Thank God he is physically fit and managed to hold himself up against the wall. Dinna had to physically come between the girls and Alden.
Finally he was able to enter the door and meet the people waiting for him, including my husband and our neighbor Joris.
“I hope you’re hungry,” I told Alden.
“Yes, I am,” he said.
He noticed the maids peeking behind the window of the Master bedroom and smiled. “Punta tayo doon,” he said.
“Wag na. Let’s eat first,” I said. I didn’t want him to see my messy bedroom, plus I was afraid the maids would attack him again.
We all got food and sat at the table. Knowing we only had an hour, Dinna got to work and started interviewing while Alden and the other guests ate. I myself tried to eat, but it was impossible to eat in front of him. I felt all the adobo flakes falling out of my mouth, so I gave up.
If it’s not on Instagram, it didn’t happen. I didn’t want to act like a fan girl, so I took very little photos. I made sure to post on Instagram and Twitter tell everyone Alden Richards is having breakfast in my house!!!!
All the while acting calm and collected while Alden was just three feet away from me.
The Waiting Game.
The tables were set, the food was ready. Just a little more patience before Alden Richards arrives.
To those asking, here’s what’s on the menu:
After what seemed like an eternity (to my heart and to my stomach) we received word that Alden was already at the gate of our village. We waited by the window
While Dinna and the people from GMA went down to meet Alden. All the drivers were briefed not to make a sound or call the maids who were cleaning upstairs, because it was a surprise for them.
A car pulled over and parked, and in a blink of an eye, I had this vision. I saw the Adidas shoes…
And then the unmistakable PLAY shirt. It felt like a dream!
Until that time, I didn’t know how I would feel, but I heard myself scream. Luckily the windows were closed.
I was frozen and didn’t know what to do until Dinna motioned for me to go out and welcome him.
Then I saw him coming up the stairs. Our stairs
This is what happened: (Video: Jujiin Samonte & Paulo Castro)
Next: What happened at breakfast and what we talked about (To be continued)