The utter coolness of Alden Richards, #LagunaBae


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IF the telling of Alden Richards’ story were paused right here — “26 years old, single, Twitter legend, Guinness record holder, award-winning actor and recording artist, businessman, Good Samaritan” — that would already be two, maybe four, astonishing lifetimes.

No one is more mystified about this than he is, although what the public sees is the  picture of utter coolness about a series of unbelievably fortunate events that has transpired for three years now.

“Okay, that’s all been beyond awesome; I will forever be grateful, but I am moving on.”

That’s it, in a nutshell, but when he breaks it down, it is quite the opposite of simple. For the record, he did not go through the stages of success backwards. He did not open his front door one day and find fame and fortune waiting to take him on the longest thrill ride of his life.

Photo courtesy of GMA Corporate Affairs and Communication

He says, speaking rapidly, palms wrapped around a cup of hot pandan tea, “This phenomenon took me by surprise, and I didn’t expect things would go this fast, certainly not this far. My life changed. I changed.”

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Not that anything happened while he wasn’t looking. “Three years ago when it started, that was my fifth year in the industry.” But his course was not clear, and until a more consistent account comes along, exactly what happened is best handed to Fate deciding to intervene.

Alden is still regarded as half of AlDub, a strategic if unlikely pairing in 2015 by the GMA 7 Network that even BBC News saw as “television taking on social media in the Philippines.” At the start of this year, Twitter proclaimed the tandem — the other half is Maine Mendoza, first known as a “Dubsmasher” with a steady online following — first and second “most tweeted Filipino accounts” in 2017. An AlDub fan account came in third.

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Much earlier, before the team-up’s first anniversary, Guinness World Records declared the hashtag #AlDubEBTamang Panahon one of five that made history on the social media network, alongside such landmark events as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet and the 2014 World Cup semi-final match between Germany and Argentina, which previously set the record for most tweets per minute (618,725 in the 60 seconds after the final whistle, and a full-day total of  37.6 million).

“This phenomenon took me by surprise, and I didn’t expect things would go this fast, certainly not this far. My life changed. I changed.”

The Philippine entry’s score: 40,706,392 from October 24-25, 2015, representing 24 hours surrounding AlDub’s first benefit concert witnessed live by 55,000 people at the humongous Philippine Arena. Twitter executives declared the tweets “real, fresh and organic” and the hashtag “the most used in 24 hours.” This record has not been broken.

There. Beyond awesome.