Balladeer-turned-full time actor Ariel Rivera is savoring his homecoming in GMA Network with the premiere of prime time series Hahamakin ang Lahat tonight. The 50-year-old actor is part of the new drama headlined by young love team Kristoffer Martin and Joyce Ching, alongside veteran actors Snooky Serna, Eula Valdez and Chinggoy Alonzo.
Speaking with The Manila Times during the program’s launch on October 25, Rivera said he is excited over his return to the network as he reconnects with old friends and colleagues, while meeting the studio’s new talents.
In the last six years, Rivera has mostly worked at GMA’s rival station, with his last role as dad to Elmo Magalona in the ABS-CBN series Born for You, which ended in September.
He cites Sine Novela: Ina, Kasusuklaman Ba Kita? with mother-daughter Jean and Jennica Garcia as his last project for GMA Network back in 2010.
“Coming back to GMA is very pleasant, I love it. It’s nice being in this familiar place. I came back because this project sounded good. It was presented to me and coincidentally, Born for You just finished. Some people think I’m an exclusive talent for ABS-CBN, but I never was. It just so happened that they gave me project after project,” he explained.
According to Rivera, he simply chooses not to mind those who criticize him for changing stations.
“My fan base now is mature enough to know that this is work, and what they’re just concerned with is what my projects are,” he said. “And when I came back to GMA, my friends welcomed me, because even when I was with ABS we’d still go out. I don’t go into network wars; you don’t do that when you’ve been in the business for so long, because you forge relationships throughout your career,” he added.
Asked if still sings, Rivera clarified that he never gave up music even if he has long been busy with soaps. “I actually have two or three concerts coming up this Christmas, but I basically focus on what projects I have at any given time. If it’s acting I focus on that, and the same with singing. I’ve learned how to balance it out.”
The actor said at the moment, he enjoys his taping schedule for Hahamakin ang Lahat because it coincides with that of his wife Gelli de Belen, who is working in ABS-CBN.
“We have more time with each other these days,” Rivera beamed, especially since they have sent their sons Julio, 17 and Joaquin, 15 to Canada for their studies. It will be recalled that Rivera was a balikbayan from Toronto when he first entered showbiz.
“It’s a sacrifice for us to be away from the boys, but it’s really for the betterment of their future,” he explained. “So if our lives revolve around the two boys for a while since we never had a nanny, Gelli and I now have the chance to rekindle our relationship. It’s actually fun because it feels like we’re teenagers again.”
Going back to his new series, Rivera said he plays the role of Nelson Solano, a pure Filipino in love with Ivy (Eula Valdes) who comes from a rich Chinese family. He fights for her despite her family’s disapproval.