MANILA — “I’ll forever be proud of Budoy.”
This was Gerald Anderson’s firm statement as he reacted to critics who use his title character in the 2011 series as an insult, noting that the project advocated awareness about children with special needs among Filipino viewers.
Anderson, 32, recalled the ABS-CBN teleserye where he portrayed living with Angelman Syndrome, as a “highlight of my career and my life.”
“Sa career, dahil mas napansin ‘yung craft, and sa buhay ko, dahil grabe ‘yung impact ng nabigay nu’n sa mga magulang na may special children, sa mga special children mismo,” he told ABS-CBN News.
During “Budoy’s” 2011 run, Anderson said he would be approached by parents of children with special needs to tell him that the series was a source of comfort and inspiration for their family, and was helpful in educating more Filipinos about developmental and congenital conditions.
“Na-expose kung ano ‘yung hirap na pinagdadaanan ng pamilya na may special child,” he said. “It just shows how positive they are compared sa mas may kakayahan sa pag-iisip. Kumbaga, kahit ano ‘yung pinagdadaanan nila, nakangiti pa rin.”
Portraying Budoy for half a year “changed my perspective in life,” said Anderson, who only has fond memories of that time in his career.
That his critics use the character as a demeaning term admittedly disappoints Anderson — not personally, he clarified, but because of what Budoy represents.
“Unang-una, hindi ako nao-offend. Pangalawa, natutuwa pa nga ako na it’s been so long, naaalala niyo pa ‘yung character na ‘yun,” he said.
“Iyong magbigay ng hate — even not using Budoy — it shows your character. [But] for you to use the character of Budoy, isang special child… Paano mo nata-type ‘yun? Ano’ng tumatakbo sa isip mo para mag-hate ka and use ‘yung ganoong klaseng tao to get back at me for whatever reason kung bakit ayaw mo sa akin?”
Being called “Budoy,” Anderson said, is something he will always receive with pride — even from “bashers” who use the name maliciously.
“At the end of the day, 'pag nakikita ko ngayon, wala ‘yung effect na siguro iniisip nila. It just makes me sad for other people,” he said.
“I will forever be proud of Budoy. Kahit paulit-ulit mo akong tawagin na Budoy buong buhay ko, it’s something I’ll always be proud of.”
The “Init sa Magdamag” actor, whose personal life was recently the subject of controversy, said he has learned to delineate between the “celebrity” aspect of his career and his private relationships.
In particular, Anderson’s newly revealed romance with his movie co-star Julia Barretto, and his prior relationship with actress Bea Alonzo, have drawn persistent intrigues.
“It’s sad because there’s so much hate sa social media. But ‘yung celebrity side naman ng buhay ko, you really have to block that out. Tuloy ang buhay,” he said.
“Kahit ano naman ang sasabihin mo, maraming hindi iyon tatanggapin, kung anuman ang explanation mo at kung sino ka. At hindi ko na problema ‘yun.”