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Wilbert from ‘squatter boy’ to big star
WILBERT Ross is no doubt one of the busiest actors today at Vivamax, doing one movie after another and also, mini-series like “Boy Bastos” and “Stalkers”. Now, he is happy that he has a new comedy movie that will finally be shown on the big screen, “Working Boys 2, Choose Your Papa”, which will be shown on theaters nationwide starting March 29.
Contrary to stories that success was given to him on a silver platter by Viva, Wilbert has really paid his dues. He is the second of four kids (and only boy) in his family. He was born and raised in Davao. He was 18 years old when he joined “Pinoy Boy Band” in Manila, but he lost. Now, he has a more successful career than the winners.
So he went back to Davao and continued with his engineering course as an Indonesian scholar as his dad is from Indonesia. But he really aspires to be in showbiz, so he asked his parents’ permission to let him try his luck alone in Manila.
“May cousin po ako sa Novaliches, construction worker, nakatira sila sa squatter, siksikan kami sa maliit na lugar nila sa pagtulog,” he recalls. “Nagko-commute lang po ako going to ABS-CBN para mag-audition sa Hashtags. Wala akong kakilala. Minsan, pag-uwi ko, nakalampas ako at nakarating ng Monumento. Naiyak ako kasi kulang na ‘yung pamasahe ko. I was 19 noon at sinuwerte akong makuha sa Hashtags.”
But he was hardly noticed there. “Sa aming lahat, ako ‘yung pinakulelat. Kung minsan, mapapasama ako sa isang number, at the last minute, ipu-pull out ako at papalitan ng iba. May isa kasing boss sa show na ayaw sa akin, hinaharang ako pag binibigyan ako ng magandang segment. Sabi ng staff, sinasama nila ako pero pagdating sa kanya, tinatanggal ako. Ni hindi ako pinayagang i-promote ‘yung single ko. So I got depressed at hinihiwa ko ‘yung wrist ko to feel the pain. Umiiyak ako sa mama ko, tutuloy ko pa ba ‘yung dream ko? Sabi niya, umuwi ka na lang dito. Mag-aral ka na lang.”
His big break came during the pandemic. Viva was beefing up its stable of new stars for its streaming channel and Wilbert was hired to play the resident dumb and naive leading man.
“Yes, sinuwerte po ako nung pandemic. Sabi nga nila, na-perfect ko na raw yung pagganap ko bilang bidang tatanga-tanga. Nagpapasalamat po talaga ako sa Viva sa opportunity na ibinigay nila sa akin, kaya naman ginagalingan ko talaga sa bawat project na ibinibigay nila sa akin at pati sa mga kantang I composed for them.”
In “Working Boys 2”, he plays Biboy. “As usual, ako po ‘yung bobo sa grupo at iyakin din ako. Kapartner ko rito si Angela Morena. Nag-enjoy naman akong doing the movie with Nikko Natividad and Vitto Marquez na mga kasama ko dati sa Hashtags, then si Andrew Muhlach na ilang beses ko nang nakatrabaho sa Vivamax projects ko, at si Mikoy Morales na ngayon ko lang nakatrabaho, pati ang director naming si Direk Paolo O’Hara. Naging maganda ang bonding naming lahat sa lock in shoot namin.”