Aug 11, 2007

Quitting doesn’t mean losing

Every time ABS-CBN calls an audition for Pinoy Big Brother, thousands of hopefuls line up under the sun’s scorching heat, fighting tooth and nail to get past the elimination round.
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When chosen, they struggle through every challenge and tasks given to them by Kuya inside the Big Brother house to make sure they bring home the bacon, as the cliché goes, including the chance to be a star.

But not Aldred Gatchalian.

After securing a spot in the first PBB Teen Edition, Aldred let go of the slot many

aspirants are willing to die for.

“Trip trip lang naman talaga pagsali ko sa PBB (It was like something I’d like to try that’s why I joined PBB),” he recalls, explaining that he and his friends just went in the auditions to see the Kapamilya station and its celebrities. “I never expected that I would be chosen.”

He thinks he was picked because he graduated valedictorian in high school, can sing, and can cook well—a skill he shares with fellow housemates Jamilla Obispo and Matt Evans.

“I usually cook Filipino food like sinigang, adobo, tinola,” he says. “As a child, I’ve been watching a lot of cooking shows, so when the time came that no one’s left to cook for the family, I took the task. I’m also the one doing the marketing every morning.”

At the beginning, the 17-year-old from Pasay was very happy and excited to enter the Big Brother house. But once inside, he remembers being extremely sad and homesick.

“Nabigla ako sa pangyayari; di ako nakapagpaalam sa family and friends ko (I was shocked with what happened; I wasn’t able to say goodbye to my family and friends),” he says.

“Siguro rin kasi alam kong may camera 24/7 saka nahirapan akong mag-adjust sa mga kasama ko (Maybe it’s also because I knew there was a camera 24/7 and I found it hard to adjust to my housemates).”

According to him, he thought about leaving the house a lot of times before finally deciding that he really wanted to do it.

“Maraming beses ako pinigilan ni Big Brother (There were a lot of times Big Brother tried to stop me from leaving the house),” he remembers. “Pero parang sarado na isip ko. Umiiyak ako sa loob. Miss na miss ko na family ko. Gusto ko nang lumabas (But I had already made up my mind. I was crying. I missed my family so much. I really wanted to go out).”

After six days, Aldred finally got what he wanted, leaving behind a handful of friends like Mikee Lee and Jamilla; a couple of crushes (Kim Chiu and Niña Jose); and a bunch of housemates crying over his loss.

Though a lot of people, including his friends and family, are sorry for what he did, he says he does not regret his decision.

“It’s God’s will. Di talaga para sa ’kin ‘yun (It’s really not for me).”

There are those who even speculate that he left the house because he is gay.

“I’m not bothered by reports that I’m gay because I’m sure about myself,” he stresses, citing that he even had a girlfriend before joining PBB.

Nonetheless, life has never been the same again for him after leaving the house.

“Nakikilala na ko kaya dapat lahat ng gawin ko tama (I have become familiar to many so all that I do must be right).”

Show business offers also came pouring in him. His first stint was to record the song “Mahiwagang Pag-ibig,” theme of the romantic series Love Spell. Next came a supporting role in Crazy for You,” topbilled by Toni Gonzaga and Luis Manzano. From playing a minor role as the classmate of Valin Montenegro in the defunct comedy-drama, Aldred is now promoted as Valin’s love interest in About Ur Love: Ur Lyf 2, and in Judy Ann Santos’ spanking new series, Ysabella, where he also plays the brother of Derek Ramsey.

“Naninibago, nahihirapan, at nag-aadjust ako sa showbiz (It’s not easy, but I’m trying to cope with the difficulties that I go through in show buisness),” he says. “But it made me a better person since now I know how to deal with people, learn from the hardships I have gone through, and value my family all the more as I’ve seen how much they’ve supported me from the time I entered and to the moment I left Big Brother’s house.”

Since he’s just starting, Gatchalian doesn’t know yet what his edge or trademark is as an actor. Still, he continues to harness his talents through workshops and voice lessons. According to him, he’ll stay in the business as long as offers keep coming in so that he can help his family. He also tries to strike a balance between show business and school. He is taking up a course at the University of the Philippines Open University, and planning to study culinary arts if given a chance.
Deni Rose M. Afinidad
Manila Standard

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