Mention the name Alfred Vargas and images of a buff, sexy, and good-looking actor come to mind. His provocative pictorials for a men’s undergarment (Walker) and for a coffee-table book that showed him in his birthday suit (Sexier than Nude, 2006, published by his late publicist Joey Diego) made jaws drop and caused a commotion on the local entertainment scene.
Although he still carries that sexy image, Alfred has also transformed himself into a more serious actor. At age 25, he is now considered one of GMA-7’s prized leading men, and has been given meaty roles in major soap operas such as Muli and Impostora.
When he’s not posing or acting in front of the camera, this hunk from Sta. Maria, Bulacan, dabbles in photography, and the human being is his favorite subject.
“I find humans the most interesting of all subjects,” he says. “I love shooting old people—mga lolo, mga lola. And young people—babies, children, mga naglalaro. Natutuwa ako when I see them. May emotions, e. Mas madaling ma-capture ’yong emotion.”
You might wonder how a busy actor such as Alfred—whose manager is the formidable Ms. Lolit Solis—can squeeze his photography into his usually hectic schedule. Well, he takes out his camera in between takes when he’s taping on location. “Pag nagte-taping, pag may free time, nagshu-shoot lang ako.”
Alfred honed his photographic skills at the Ateneo de Manila University, when he took up a photography elective under ace lensman Pancho Escaler. He actually graduated from the Ateneo with a Bachelor of Arts degree in management, and is currently thinking of pursuing an MBA, or master’s degree, in economics.
“I’m not gonna be in showbiz forever,” he explains, “and I want to equip myself with the right knowledge to put up businesses.”
INVESTMENTS. Even without an MBA, Alfred is already preoccupied with his business ventures—Vente, a chain of kiosks that sell a variety of novelty items for only P20, and Barrackz, a new bar and restaurant on Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City, where Tubbataha restaurant used to be.
Vente started more than a year ago, with only one branch. “After 18 months, we have 30 branches na,” Alfred says, with understandable pride. “There’s five of us in the business—my brother, my sister, ’yong CEO, ’tsaka ’yong operations manager. Sila ’yong talagang naghahawak ng business. I’m an investor. I’m part of the board. Silent partner. Pero active din naman ako. I promote them.”
In Barrackz, Alfred’s fellow investors are showbiz friends, including actors Dennis Trillo, Katrina Halili, Diana Zubiri, Anjo Yllana, JC de Vera, Allan K, and Allan’s Klownz and Zirkoh concert bars co-owner, Lito Alejandria.
In addition to these business ventures, Alfred has made other productive investments in the five years that he has been in showbiz. He has invested his earnings in properties, for one thing—specifically, a 300-square-meter lot at the Loyola Grand Villas, Quezon City, and a 2,200-square-meter residential lot in his hometown, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.
But what the young actor is most happy about nowadays is his new 180-square-meter, three-story house at the Don Antonio Heights, Quezon City, the perfect abode for a bachelor like him, and the first property that he can truly call his own.
He had been looking for a Metro Manila house for several months last year, Alfred recalls: “When I entered this house, sobrang ibang-iba ang itsura niya. Pero may na-feel akong vibes, good vibes. Sabi nila, ganoon, e. This whole house—mga ten months in the making. Total facelift talaga. ’Yong kadikit nitong bahay, ganoon ang istura nito before. Pero sabi ko, I want it my way.”
Transforming the house into something that reflected Alfred’s personality became easier with the help of his interior designer and second cousin, Michelle Dumlao. The actor had a specific style in mind. He wants it looking very masculine. And he worked in close collaboration with his designer to bring his ideas to fruition.
“I would say that this house is Alfie’s, because Alfie is my real nickname. So this is me talaga. Hindi ito si Alfred Vargas. This is Alfie. Ito ako. Every time I go home from work, and I enter this house, parang there’s a sense of fulfillment. Parang, wow, at least I’m one step ahead na.”
Being already one step ahead, Alfred foresees an even brighter future ahead of him.
“Siguro, five to ten years from now, I’ll still be in show business, actor pa rin ako. Farther down the road, siguro medyo relaxed na lang ako.”