Ian Dela Pena (left) and Alden Richards.


Alden Richards surprises Filipino TikTok lookalike in Dubai


DUBAI – A Filipino expatriate in Dubai who bears a striking resemblance to Alden Richards received an unexpected treat when the actor made a surprise appearance during a video call.

How did it happen? It all started with a TikTok video.

Ian Dela Pena, a florist who recently lost his job in Dubai due to the coronavirus pandemic, has turned to TikTok to keep himself busy and inspired.

Jumping in on the new TikTok fad of celebrity impersonations, Dela Pena’s TikTok Lookalike video became viral after many viewers commented that he looked like the Pambansang Bae (National Hottie), as fans call Alden. The video has received more than 1 million views.

“I never expected that people will recognize me whenever I go out. It was embarrassing at first but now I am starting to enjoy it because [Alden] is my idol,” Dela Pena said in Filipino.

The expat said he has turned to online selling to make ends meet while waiting for a new job opportunity to open in Dubai.

During this part of the video call with the Kapuso Mo, Jessical Soho program, the screen split to include an unidentified man wearing a white shirt and white baseball cap.

“Pwede bang sumali sa usapan? (Can I join the conversation?)” the man said, slowly raising his head to reveal his face. It was Alden.

Dela Pena broke into a huge smile meeting Alden for the first time on video. The actor acknowledged their similarities, saying they could pass off as brothers.

“The clean cut [hair] and dimples,” Alden noted in Filipino, “We look alike. We could be brothers in a TV series.”

Alden also praised a visibly emotional Dela Pena for his attitude during these trying times.

“You are a good example of a person who has been affected by the pandemic but it still fighting in life,” Alden told Dela Pena. He urged him to believe that “tomorrow will bring another story in your life”.

Dela Pena wished that he would be able to meet Alden in person. “Sure, the next time I head to Dubai,” Alden said in Filipino. ICA/Expat Media

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