MANILA—By contract, Alden Richards is a Kapuso, but to his newfound family via the record-breaking “Hello, Love, Goodbye,” he will always be a Kapamilya.
“You are our family already,” were the words of director Cathy Garcia-Molina to Richards, who was instantly moved to tears, during a Tuesday thanksgiving party celebrating the success of the film.
The OFW drama, with P880 million in worldwide ticket sales, is now the highest grossing Philippine film of all time.
“Hello, Love, Goodbye” was produced by Star Cinema of ABS-CBN, the No. 1 Philippine media network whose closest rival, GMA-7, is the mother station of Richards.
Richards was paired in the film with Kathryn Bernardo, a homegrown talent of ABS-CBN — a rare coming together of two big stars from competing networks, who are each identified with an established love team.
While the two admittedly worried about the reaction of their loyal fans, the overwhelmingly positive response to “Hello, Love, Goodbye” exceeded even their humblest expectations.
But aside from the box-office success of the movie, its cast and crew are also celebrating the close friendship they developed over the month-long filming in Hong Kong and the succeeding months of promotions, here and abroad.
“Beyond being actors, you are my friends,” Garcia-Molina told Bernardo and Richards in her speech on Tuesday.
Addressing Richards, she went on: “Nandoon ka man sa kabila, estasyon lang ang naghiwalay. This is not goodbye, Alden.”
“This is what I am proud of: Whenever we make films, we don’t just make films, we create family. We don’t just create the story that you watch, we create our own stories of friendship and love,” Garcia-Molina said.
Richards, who was seated facing the stage, was seen wiping tears as Garcia-Molina, whom he has credited for changing his perspective as an artist, praised not only his professionalism but also his attitude.
“Thank you very much, Alden. You are one of the most mabait and humane person na nakasama namin sa set. Thank you for all the trust, not just to me, but to your co-stars, especially to Kathryn, and to my staff. They’re very important to me, and you gave the same importance to them. I am very grateful to you,” she said.
Bernardo, in her speech, said she is “really glad” that it was Richards who became her new leading man as a conscious departure from her package casting with her perennial onscreen partner Daniel Padilla.
Noting that being apart from Padilla, who is also her boyfriend of seven years, had been a difficult adjustment, Bernardo credited Richards for helping ease the process because of his kindness and respectfulness.
“Ibang channel lang si Alden, pero sana mag-open pa ‘to ng mas maraming opportunities sa kaniya, because he is a good person, a wonderful person. Sana, this won’t be the last,” Bernardo told Richards, whom she also thanked for trusting and believing in her.
When Richards took his turn to give a speech, he similarly turned emotional as he expressed gratitude for being handpicked for his role as Ethan in “Hello, Love, Goodbye.”
“Ang dami ko pong gustong sabihin since day one, kung gaano po ako ka-grateful na sinugalan niyo po ako. Thank you, kasi hindi ko na-realize na I am that worthy,” he said.
“To everyone who’s here, this project made me realize that there’s beauty in collaboration and unity. We all live in one industry. We all have the same goals, and that’s to entertain and inspire people… To more beautiful collaborations, kesyo magkalabang network pa po ‘yan,” he said.
In a huddle with reporters after the thanksgiving party, Richards referred to Garcia-Molina as “one of the people who matter to me.”
“Mahal na mahal ko siya,” he said of the filmmaker.
Asked whether he will keep visiting ABS-CBN now that “Hello, Love, Goodbye” is concluding its run, Richards said he hopes that will indeed be the case.
“Gusto ko ipagpasalamat sa ABS-CBN at Star Cinema na hindi nila ako tinrato na taga-iba, taga-kabilang network, taga-GMA. I’m so grateful na I was treated the same way that all of the actors here at ABS-CBN are treated,” he said.