Benjamin Alves gives showbiz another crack with a new name and talent management

Benjamin Alves, formerly known as Vince Saldaña, is Piolo Pascual’s nephew but he doesn’t want to take advantage of this relationship to make it in showbiz. He relates how he almost gave up on the prospect of being an actor until he met GMA-7’s bigwigs and have him sign a contract—all these without any help from Uncle Piolo. Benjamin is proud of doing it all by himself: "If that’s what they see and if that what happens, blessing


May bagong contract star ang GMA 7 na ibi-buildup bilang next Kapuso leading man—si Benjamin Alves.

Dating contract star ng Viva Films si Benjamin—na unang nakilala sa pangalang Vince Saldaña—bago siya nagdesisyong bumalik sa Guam para tapusin muna ang kanyang pag-aaral.

Lumabas na si Benjamin sa mga pelikulang Ang Cute Ng Ina Mo (2007), playing the role of Luis Manzano’s best friend, at Apat Dapat, Dapat Apat (2007) as Pokwang’s son; and sa TV shows na Closer To Fame sa ABS-CBN at Posh sa QTV 11.

"Natapos ko na po yung school ko," sabi ni Benjamin nang makapanayam siya ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) noong Martes, Marso 20, sa Dulicinea restaurant sa Tomas Morato, Quezon City.

"Actually, I’ll graduate this May. English Literature po yung course ko sa University of Guam.

"Talagang ginusto ko po munang matapos ang pag-aaral ko before anything else.

"Parang there are certain goals na gusto ko pong mangyari. And that was part of it.

"And I’ll graduate with honors!" pagmamalaki pa niya.

BACK TO SHOWBIZ. Umuwi raw si Benjamin sa Pilipinas para makipag-meeting sa GMA-7 executives kaugnay ng kontrata niya, pagkatapos ay babalik na siya ulit ng Guam.

Pagkatapos ng kanyang graduation, babalik siya ulit sa Pilipinas para simulan na ang mga proyektong inihahanda ng Kapuso network sa kanya.

Sabi ng nagbabalik-showbiz na aktor, "Although being absent from showbiz, parang nakakalungkot po. Kasi nami-miss ko talaga.

"Pero I thank God and I thank Mama J [Jonas Gaffud of Mercator] na I had this second blessing.

"And I also thank GMA so much—they gave me a contract."

CONTRACT WITH GMA-7. Ang ama ni Benjamin ay pinsang buo ni Piolo Pascual.

Pero iniiwasan daw ng bagong Kapuso contract star na madikit ang pangalan niya sa popular niyang uncle.

Paliwanag niya, "Ano po, e... siguro para sa akin rin po, mas gusto ko yung may sarili akong pagdadaanan.

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"Just the same no’ng pinagdaanan po niya [Piolo] na... on his own.

"For me to be able to have a contract now [sa GMA], in three, four years, I hope I can make it also."

Hindi ba siya humingi ng anumang tulong mula kay Piolo kaugnay ng pagpasok niya sa showbiz?

"Uhm... I’ve always asked him for advice. And when I ask for advice, he’s been helpful and supportive.

"But no, I’ve never asked, in a sense na papasok po ako sa Star Magic [talent management ng ABS-CBN] or something like that.

"Talaga pong para sa akin, mas gusto ko po na I take a road on my own—yung sa akin lang po.

"’Tapos, he’s always been there.

"Kasi I see him as a family member, not as someone na makakatulong sa pagpasok ko sa showbiz.

"He’s happy for me ngayon na pumirma ako ng contract sa GMA," saad ni Benjamin.

HELP OFFER FROM PIOLO. Kung mag-offer sa kanya si Piolo ng tulong para mas madali siyang makakuha ng projects at makilala, okay lang ba sa kanya?

"I would be a little apprehensive," pag-amin ni Benjamin.

"Yeah, of course, he’s a family member. Pero mas gusto ko po talaga yung ako po, e, na I can say na I took my own road.

"Like I say, I always see Kuya PJ as my uncle, as a kuya. And not as a way to get into showbiz... Never!"

CONTROVERSIES. Nang nagkaroon ng matinding kontrobersiya kay Piolo bunsod ng maintrigang breakup nito at ni KC Concepcion, naapektuhan rin ba siya bilang kapamilya ng aktor?

Ayon kay Benjamin, "Actually, I saw him last January for his birthday.

"Wala po. Hindi po kami naapektuhan ng mga gano’n.

"I think, as a family, we always keep our circle as... kami lang.

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"Wala pong showbiz na laman in our family.

"So when I met him, ang pinag-usapan po namin is how I’m doing in Guam.

"And actually, when I saw him in Guam, when they had a show there, kinukumusta po niya ang pamilya ko, kinukumusta ko rin sila. Yun lang po.

"Hindi po kami naaapektuhan ng mga intriga about him because we know it’s just part of his job."

MEETING KC. Noon bang mag-on pa sina Piolo at KC ay na-meet niya ang actress-TV host?

"I never had a chance to because I was never based here," sabi ni Benjamin.

"I was already in Guam, e, so hindi ko po sila nakikita. Pero I see their pictures, you know.

"Uhm... yeah, I wish I had the chance during that time, pero wala pong opportunity, e.

"Kasi sobrang babad po ako sa school during that time, e."

Paano kung mag-meet sila ni KC sa isang showbiz event one of these days?

"Nothing. I mean, my respect for KC is... you know, she’s my uncle’s ex-girlfriend.

"I think KC is... she’s very approachable and very down to earth."

Noong kainitan ng isyu nina Piolo at KC, may mga nasabi ang huli tungkol sa uncle niya. Ano ang naging pakiramdam ni Benjamin dito?

"I was just sad. I know how when they were together.

"I know Piolo and I know the kind of person he is.

"And I know how long he is with his other girlfriends in the past.

"So I know when he had a girlfriend, it was a serious thing.

"Yun lang po, parang when the breakup happened, it’s just sad.

"Masakit ’yon for both parties."

Does he feel bad kapag may mga negative issues tungkol sa Uncle Piolo niya?

"No, wala po. I mean, I know who he is, e.

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"Masasaktan po ako kung hindi ko siya kilala, e.

"Kilala ko po si Kuya PJ. So, hindi po, hindi po talaga.

"As in I know he’s strong. He’s a really strong person.

"And his faith in God is very strong.

"So, as a family member, I’m just always there to support.

"We don’t let that stuff affect us too much, e."

FAMILY’S REACTION. How does their family react tungkol sa lagi na lang isyung pagdududa sa gender o pagkalalake ni Piolo?

"Wala po, as in hindi po namin pinag-uusapan. Wala po talaga," sabi ni Benjamin.

Sa mga kontrobersiyang pinagdaanan ni Piolo, hindi ba siya natatakot na baka maranasan din niya ang ganung katinding isyu at kontrobersiya ngayong nag-aartista na siya ulit?

"I think it’s part of the job kung pagdadaanan ko po iyon.

"Hindi po ako natatakot na pagdaanan ko rin yung gano’n.

"Kasi I see how he [Piolo] is at yung controversies po sa kanya.

"His acting is the one that always elevates... iyon po ang palaging lumulutang, e.

"So as long as I concentrate on my craft, you know, whatever GMA offers me, hindi na po ako mag-aalala do’n.

"Kasi I know it’s part of the job and I know who I am naman po."

GETTING STARTED. Paano siya naging contract star ng Kapuso network?

"I met Jonas [Gaffud] nang magbakasyon po ako dito last December, nagpakasal po yung kuya ko dito sa Pampanga.

"I met up with Jonas around... beginning of January. And then we went to GMA.

"I met Ma’m Annette [Gozon-Abrogar], sina Sir Joey [Abacan], sina Ma’m Lilibeth [Rasonable].

"Nag-test [script] reading po ako. Nagustuhan naman po nila.

"’Tapos within that week, we had an agreement.

"’Tapos bumalik po ako dito last March 1.

"March 5 po, nag-sign na po ako ng contract," kuwento niya.

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Ano ’yong initial projects na nakatakda niyang gawin?

"My projects will start on June. Kasi graduation ko nga po sa May, e.

"So I think they’re looking into a soap. I think it’s gonna be a drama which I’ve always wanted to do.

"From now to June, uuwi po ako dito every month para po mag-workshop, e," sabi ni Benjamin.

PIOLO’S COUNTERPART? Marami ang nagsasabi na kulang ang GMA 7 ng leading men. Hindi kaya si Benjamin ang gawing counterpart ni Piolo among the Kapuso actors?

"Wow!" tawa niya.

"If that’s what they see and if that what happens, blessing na po talaga iyon!

"Kasi for me po talaga, blessing na po yung may second chance ako, e.

"As in sobrang thankful po ako kasi when I went back to Guam in 2009, hindi ko na po... I closed that door na, e.

"Na I’ll just go to school and get a job after.

"I think it’s God’s will po na... to get a second chance.

"So whatever they see in me, I think it’s gonna come from how well I act."

PRESSURE. May pressaure ba siyang nararamdaman? Pamangkin nga kasi siya ni Piolo kaya hindi maiiwasang mag-expect ang ibang tao sa kanya.

"For me, I think the only pressure I have is being able to act well.

"I think to even put myself in the same level as Piolo, nakakahiya po, e.

"So I think if I look that far ahead, parang hindi ko po mai-enjoy yung time ko po ngayon.

"I think GMA will take care of that."

Hindi rin maiiwasang maikumpara si Benjamin kay Piolo. Kapansin-pansin na may pagkakahawig ang kanilang mga mata, ngiti, at pati pagsasalita.

"Ewan ko po talaga!" sabay tawa ulit niya.

"Kung may qualities po ako na ala-Piolo, siguro good qualities po talaga iyon.

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"So hindi ko na po siguro kailangang tanggalin iyon para ma-differentiate lang po ako.

"Kasi gano’n po talaga ako, e.

"Kung hindi ko man po maiwasan iyon, uhm... wala po, e. Ito po talaga ako."

LOVELIFE. May girlfriend ba siya ngayon?

"Wala po. Before, I only had two girlfriends. And one was in high school."

Ngayon, gugustuhin ba niyang magkaroon ng artistang girlfriend o mas type niya ang non-showiz para iwas-intriga at kontrobersiya?

"I think when you’re finding a girlfriend, wala po kung ano yung personality ng babae po, e.

"Ke showbiz o non-showbiz, para sa akin, wala po akong preference do’n.

"I don’t think I would want to have a girlfriend right now.

"Although when it comes, hindi mo naman puwedeng pigilan, e.

"Pero siguro po ngayon, work muna," sabi ni Benjamin.


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