Playing illiterate a ‘tough nut to crack’ for Alfred Vargas

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Alfred Vargas graced Inquirer’s Read-Along

For Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, being an actor is the noblest of jobs.

“There’s nothing like being in front of a camera while interpreting life from the experiences of other people. You inspire others and earn in the most honorable way,” Alfred said during the Father’s Day edition of Inquirer’s Read-Along session, where he was the celebrity storyteller.

Alfred took a break from acting four years ago to focus on being a lawmaker. Now, he is back with “Ang Guro Kong ’Di Marunong Magbasa” (My Teacher Who Doesn’t Know How to Read), a film that premieres at the 2017 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival in August.

Now on his third term as a lawmaker, Alfred has managed to learn everything about legislation, as well as develop programs for his constituents in the fifth district of Quezon City.

“I’m yearning to act again. It has always been my passion. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I weren’t an actor. I owe a lot to this industry,” he pointed out.

Alfred admitted to waiving his talent fee and becoming one of “Guro’s” producers: “This time, I’m doing it for passion. I’d do it again for a good role or project,” the 38-year-old actor declared.

The film, written and directed by Perry Escaño, tells the story of Aaquil, a farmer who assumes the role of a teacher to a group of kids while hiding the fact that he’s illiterate. It also tackles the plight of children orphaned by war.

Alfred admitted that playing illiterate was a “tough nut to crack.” He said that the hardest part about playing Aaquil was “acting like I didn’t know how to read. During rehearsals, I’d project him as someone who is dumb and with low intellect. I later realized that it shouldn’t be the case.”

He added: “Not knowing how to read doesn’t mean you’re stupid. The fact that Aaquil was able to survive so many trials only shows how smart he is. When I figured this out, everything became easy for me.”

Working with award-winning child actors Miggs Cuaderno (“Quick Change”), Micko Laurente (“Bambanti”) and Marc Justine Alvarez (“Transit”) was a bonus, Alfred said.

“It’s actually easier to work with children when you’re dealing with heavy emotions,” he shared with us. “I sometimes forget that I’m much older than they are. I just let the script do its job. It also helps that I’m a father in real life.”

Alfred has two kids—Alexandra, 6, and Aryana, 5—with his wife, Filipino-Italian Yasmine Espiritu.

The actor said that as early as now, his daughters were already showing interest in joining show business. However, Alfred is apprehensive about it. “I won’t stop them if they eventually insist on following in my footsteps. But if I’d have my way, I’d rather that they pursue a different career. To be honest, I wouldn’t be as concerned for them if they were boys,” he said.

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