MANILA, Philippines – It’s only been a year since Gerald Anderson made it to the teen edition of ABS-CBN’s popular reality series, “Pinoy Big Brother.” The show started its telecast on April 23 last year, but the good-natured Filipino-American teener has since become one of the hottest matinee idols in local Tinseltown.
In September last year, Gerald showed moviegoers via Mario Cornejo’s “First Day High” that he was more than just a pretty face.
Last month, he released his second dance album, “Gerald’s Noodle Dance.” And on Friday, the three-month run of Channel 2’s top-rated primetime soap, “Sana Maulit Muli,” which topbilled Gerald and Kim Chiu as star-crossed lovers, ended.
The young man from General Santos City has come a long way, indeed. And, based on the number of projects lined up for him, the future is looking brighter than ever for Gerald!
But, there was no trace of movie-star posturing when we met the young actor at the ABS-CBN compound. He had a sincere smile and a firm handshake -- and, to our surprise, he even answered in grammatically-correct Tagalog!
Success hasn’t spoiled him, he insisted: “The past year has been a roller-coaster ride for me -- 360-degree turn talaga! But, I still miss my friends in Dadiangas (old name of General Santos City). But, advice ng mom ko is to stay true to myself. She told me, ‘Don’t ever change, and always remember where you come from.’ Hinding-hindi ako magbabago dahil alam ko ’yan!”
What does he do when he’s not working? Does he go malling? He shook his head and answered, “No. Niyayaya ako palagi ni Joross (Gamboa) para gumimik pero hindi ako mahilig. I just stay home and sleep, or I play basketball with him and my other friends.”
Joross is largely considered Gerald’s discoverer. During an out-of-town show in Mindanao, Gerald asked to have his picture taken with Joross, who noticed the young fan’s potential for show biz. Gamboa then recommended Gerald to become one of his backup dancers. One thing led to another -- until Gerald found his way inside the Big Brother house!
Who is closest to him among the teens of “PBB”? And what was his most memorable moment inside the PBB house? He replied: “Next to Kim, I’m closest to Fred (Payawan), but I also hang out with Olyn (Meimban) and Matt (Evans), but he’s become very busy lately.
“It’s not true that Kim is a constant visitor in my house -- and no, we’re not an item, she only turned 17 last April 19. She’s only been to my place twice, and the other time was with her father! We don’t see any reason why we have to rush things -- you don’t really set a time limit for these things.
“But, the most memorable moment for me during the ‘PBB’ experience was when Kim and I went to Pangasinan. Doon talaga kami nag-bonding ni Kim. Hindi kasi kami ganoon ka-close before that.’”
Gerald admits that his birthday last March 7 was very different from the previous years. The 18-year-old actor is thankful for the blessings that have been coming his way, so he chose to pay it forward.
He mused: “I chose to be with 15 cancer-stricken kids during a taping lull on the set of ‘Aalog-alog.’ I met those kids while I was still inside the ‘PBB’ house. Back then, I promised I would see them again, so I did -- on my birthday!
“Kim gave me a PSP (a portable PlayStation game console).” He says he has been working hard to speak Tagalog better. On the set of “Sana Maulit Muli,” the 5’8” tall actor said, “May tutorials ako habang nagti-taping.”
What was it like growing up a Fil-Am in the States? And how hard was it for him to adjust when he had to eventually transfer to Mindanao? He answered: “Wala naman pong discrimination, kasi doon talaga ako lumaki sa States. In Dadiangas, it was a little harder, not because people didn’t like me but because I was ‘weird’ to them -- I looked and spoke differently.”
Gerald says he looks up to Piolo Pascual and Aga Muhlach, but he also dreams of doing action films in the near future. What kind of music does he like? “R&B, hip-hop and OPM.”
Incidentally, another celebrity from General Santos City has just brought honor to the country: Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao. Would Gerald vote for Manny as congressman? He admitted: “Dapat hindi niya i-give up ang boxing, kasi mas magaling siya diyan. He can serve the Filipinos better as a boxer, kasi siya ang world champion -- siya ang pride ng Pilipinas! So, iboboto ko siya . . . sa boxing.”
Gerald admitted that he had three girlfriends in General Santos City before making it big in show biz -- but, not at the same time, of course! He confirmed, “I had my first girlfriend when I was 15 years old.” When he was asked to react to a rumor about another girl he’s allegedly gotten pregnant, he shook his head and laughed: “Meron na naman?!”
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