For the first time in his career, Gerald Anderson plays a gay teacher with X-linked Dystonia Parkinsonism (XDP) on Maalaala Mo Kaya.
In an interview last December 10, the Kapamilya actor described his first gay role as a “unique” and “happy” experience.
“Actually, dream role ko rin yun.
“Hindi ko lang in-expect na may ganung challenge pa na XDP na kasama sa first gay role ko.
“Gusto ko maranasan yung nararanasan ng mga gays. Kung anong pakiramdam nila everyday.”
Gerald said that he has nothing but utmost respect for gay people who make the most out of their talents.
“I think gays are the most creative people kasi they have the best of both worlds.
“Kasi ang dami ko ring mga kaibigan na bakla rin.
“And just the way they think, yung emotions nila, iba sa babae and iba sa lalaki, so best of both worlds,” he beamed.
Portraying a true-to-life story, Gerald disclosed that he had the chance to meet Bert Mendoza prior to taping his Maalaala Mo Kaya episode.
Bert was only 30 years old when he was diagnosed with Lubag syndrome or XDP, a neurological movement disorder that affects mostly Filipino male adults.
Apparently, Bert inherited such illness from his uncle.
“Sobrang positive pa rin niya," recalled Gerald.
“Araw-araw siyang nagdadasal. Palagi siya nagbabasa ng bible.
“May ibang tao pag dumadaan sa ganung sitwasyon mawawala yung faith.”
Gerald, for his part, couldn't help but feel amazed when he discovered that Bert remains selfless and generous not only to his family but even to others.
“Meron isang bata na hindi makapag-aral kasi wala siyang pangtuition.
“Sabi niya, 'Sige, huwag mo isipin 'yan. Ako ang bahala. Basta ang importante everyday dadating ka sa classroom.'
“E, wala rin naman siyang masyadong maraming pera, but he's willing to do that.
“Something bigger than himself, e. So yun yung purpose niya in life.”
As for finding his own purpose in life, Gerald said that he feels blessed to be given the opportunity to inspire others through his craft.
“It's still a journey. Hinahanap ko pa talaga kung ano ang purpose ko.
“Pero ang inisip ko, kaya ako naging artista, nagkaroon din ako ng power to inspire people.
“That's why we're in this position, that's why we're here today para makagawa ng paraan para makatulong sa kanila.
“Malay natin baka maging part din ng foundation ko ito,” said Gerald, referring to his plan to put up a Gerald Anderson Foundation in 2016.
But for now, the 26-year-old actor hopes to spread awareness about XDP through his MMK episode.
Gerald added that MMK is also set to launch a fundraising project to help raise financial aid for the treatment of Bert's illness.
“Sana po ma-raise natin yung funds para sa kanya dahil ang dami rin po niyang natutulungan.”