Pambansang Bae Alden Richards has a lot of reasons to smile these days.
With his latest venture—a fast-food franchise on Biñan Highway in Laguna— he is now "bigating businessman."
When PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) talked to him last April 24, during the community day/blessing of his branch, he was happy to see friends from in and out of showbiz show their support.
"Opo! Masaya po kasi, dumayo pa po yung iba from Q.C. [Quezon City], yung iba, malalayong lugar pa po talaga, nag-leave po sa mga trabaho para makasama po sa neighbor’s day po natin."
Seeing his huge "tindahan" for the first time felt surreal.
Alden continued, "Kasi dati po, ini-invite lang akong magpunta. Mag-open ng store. So parang ang pakiramdam ko ngayon, ganun lang din.
“So, baka pag-uwi ko pa doon magsi-sink-in, baka sa opening day po siguro,” he said with a smile.
McDonald’s Biñan Highway, Laguna, held its grand opening last Friday, April 26.
Thousands of people and fans came from different locations to support Alden's new business.
Aside from a parade, there were also performances prepared for the guests.
On April 27, Saturday, the branch started its regular 24-hour operation.
Meanwhile, Alden's first restaurant, Concha’s Garden, now has several branches.
Does he see his latest venture expanding as well?
He answered, "Kapag maganda po talaga ang performance nito, sana po next year, makapagbukas pa po tayo."
He went on, "Nakakatuwa rin po kasi yung buong team ng McDonald’s po, very supportive. Kita naman po natin kanina na kahit malayo, nagpunta sila to give their support.
"And since day one po na nag-start kami until today, yung hawak po sa amin, hindi nawala. Hawak po kami ng dalawang kamay, pati beywang kasali."
At only 27, Alden has already achieved his dream. How does he feel about this?
"Parang nagiging sulit po talaga lahat ng hirap at saka mga challenges na na-e-experience ko and everything. Parang may mga times po talaga na napapagod na ko kasi, halos wala na kong time sa sarili ko, sa family, sa mga taong importante sa akin.
"Pero, kapag nakikita ko po ang fruits of my labor, kagaya po nito at mga pinaghirapan ko, yung mga traits, yung mga bagay po na hindi ko binago sa sarili ko na nakikita ko sa harapan ko, parang wala lang yung hirap, parang puwede pa.
"Parang mas marami pa kong paghihirapan para magawa yung ganito."