He has no formal training in acting. At 44, he is a late bloomer by showbiz standards. And yet, Papa Chen (Richard Yap) in real life, has to excuse himself from his wife and two children and grant people’s requests for a photo op with him. He has trended in Twitter more than once. Others have dubbed him “Crush ng Bayan.”
As Ai Ai delas Alas’ partner in ABS-CBN’s “My Binondo Girl” admits he misses his bed and lacks sleep. He admits “nawawalan ako ng private time.”
But he’s enjoying showbiz.
“I’m very happy natanggap ako ng mga tao,” he says at the fans’ day last Jan. 8 at Skydome at SM North EDSA. “Kahit first time ko (in showbiz), I’m very thankful. “
To show his appreciation for all the write-ups, Papa Chen says he’s trying his best to reply to what he’s read. Except that he doesn’t know if the people concerned get his reply.
So what does this showbiz newcomer have that others don’t?
Papa Chen shrugs. He himself is surprised at the sudden turn of events.
He didn’t even audition for “My Binondo Girl.” All Papa Chen knows is his seven-year exposure in the Chowking commercial made him so visible, the gods in the ABS-CBN series figured they have found the chinito they will team up with Ai Ai.
The first things Papa Chen did when he got the offer were to inform the Kapamilya Network he had no acting experience and to get his family’s opinion about it.
Once he got this straightened out, the marketing guy decided to give acting a crack. And he has learned so much since.
“I used to think it was easy to act. Mahirap pala talaga. You have to get your emotions from your experiences,” he observes.
His co-stars never left him hanging.
“Ms. Ai Ai is very down-to-earth, despite her celebrity status. She welcomed me to the show and was very patient with me. Ms. Cherry Pie (Picache) helped me internalize. She was very helpful to me.”
His co-workers in his day job are just as supportive.
“They understand,” Papa Chen reveals. “As long as we get the job done, it’s okay.”
Yes, he still goes to work during non-taping days and on taping breaks. And Papa Chen insists he doesn’t get any special treatment.
What will he do when he has to choose between his day job and showbiz?
Papa Chen chooses to be practical.
“It depends on which one offers the better opportunity,” he replies.
What if the offer requires him to do a movie?
“If it’s a good opportunity, why not? I’m open to everything.”
After “My Binondo Girl” gave Papa Chen the surprise of his life, you don’t even have to wonder why.
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