It's been a year and a half since Victor Aliwalas debuted in Philippine showbiz playing a lawyer in the primetime soap opera Marimar, but the actor admits the experience still feels surreal.
"Parang hindi totoo... sarap talaga sa pakiramdam ko. Imagine, I've been here for a year, and I've been lucky enough to be paired with [prominent actors of today]. So I can't ask for more," Victor said in the presscon for his recent endorsement, PLDT myDSL QIK kit, last Wednesday, July 3 at Ascend Bar in The Fort.
The small role in Marimar brought instant fame to the businessman from New York. Fans started to take notice, giving him positive comments that encouraged him to pursue an acting career.
"It's just mind-boggling. I really want to thank the fans kasi without their feedback, siyempre, I won't do this," said the 5'10" actor.
But after staying that long in the Philippines, how Pinoy does he feel?
"I'm full Pinoy, 100 percent. Please mention that because everybody thinks I'm half... It's good because lahat ng barkada ko sa States puti sila, so now I'm being able to touch to my Filipino side," Victor said.
CAREER START. The actor from New York, born to two Filipino parents, had no expectations about being an actor. He said his career may be summed up as a combination of luck and being "in the right place at the right time."
When Victor was still finishing his business administration degree in Le Moyne College in New York, his mother asked him to help model one of the barong-Tagalog shirts in the fashion show she was putting together. He agreed and the visiting fashion designers from the Philippines told him his looks and physique would make him famous in their home country.
"Some of the people in the Philippines were saying 'Oh, man, guwapo ka. If you were in the Philippines you would be a model or an actor.' I just thought they were just being nice," he said.
But one of the designers stayed in touch and promised to help Victor get into modeling if he visited the Philippines. So, on the last day of his vacation in the country in August 2007, he contacted the designer, who set him up for a photo shoot.
Somehow, the photos landed in the hands of a modeling agent and he was offered modeling gigs. Later on, the agent introduced him to Yda Henares, head of GMA Artists Center. He was immediately asked to sign a three-year management contract with the network, which he didn't treat seriously.
"The modeling agent introduced me to Tita Yda Henares, head of Artist's Center. She signed me up, and I was already thinking 'Oh, this is funny, I'm signed with a network.' But I had plans to go back to the States already," the actor said.
DREAM ROLE. On December 2007, Victor went home to the States to continue working in the financial services industry, and to spend time with his family. Two weeks before Christmas, however, Victor received a notice from the network announcing that he had landed a role in the Marian Rivera starrer.
"A couple of days before Christmas I got a call from Artist Center, and an e-mail from my handler. The e-mail said 'Oh, they're casting you for Marimar, they want you to play opposite Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes.' I took the role. After that the feedback was good, maraming fans, and then GMA kept giving me projects. So sobrang mabilis," he explained.
After Marimar, Victor played characters in the GMA-7 shows Ako si Kim Sam Soon, Totoy Bato, Sine Novela Presents Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan? His biggest role so far is playing the boyfriend of Jennylyn Mercado in SRO Cinemaserye: Suspetsa.
He is also a part of the upcoming movie Ang Spoiled Brat, starring Ogie Alcasid and Michael V.
What is his dream role?
"Action star. That would be my ultimate dream role. When I shot the fight scene with Robin Padilla [in Totoy Bato], that was one of my favorite scenes," Victor ended.