Benjamin Alves is so much more than a famous guy with acting skills.
His adoration for the written word rings clear. He is a self-proclaimed book nerd, an all-around champion of literacy.
The Kapuso talent’s love for books started at a young age, citing the library as his favorite destination in school.
“I was a shy guy back then. I was a quiet guy and then I found myself interested in reading comic books and magazines,” he told Bulletin Entertainment.
His fondness for reading eventually led him to take up English Literature at the University of Guam. Take note, he graduated Summa Cum Laude.
“Just by having a degree by default, you should be passionate about reading,” was how he put it, adding he also sees reading a “breather from the spotlight.”
He encourages many people, especially the youth, to find time for reading.
Ben, his nickname, is also into writing. He considers himself a budding poet.
Asked to name his favorite poets and writers, Benjamin cited R.F. Langley, Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski.
According to him, writing gives him “immense gratification.”
“I really love language. I really love how words can evoke such strong and different emotions,” he shared. “Also when I read, it is like, the writer and I are exchanging ideas through words.”
Benjamin already wrote a book titled “Coming Of Age” back in 2012. Who knows, one day he might pen a follow-up.
“If I have time siguro. Right now, I’m busy with showbiz kasi but most definitely, gagawin ko ’yan in the future,” he maintained.
Over and above being an actor, Benjamin hopes to play a teacher in real life.
“Actually I already worked as an English tutor when I was in college,” he recalled. “My initial plan when I graduated was to teach in a university, but I have to first take up master’s degree. Right now, hindi ko pa nagagawa kasi nasa showbiz but I will do that naman eventually.”
Physical copy or E-books?
Though he finds E-books very convenient, Benjamin still prefers to read physical copies of books.
“Reading online is very convenient especially when you are traveling,” the ardent book lover said. “Pero iba pa rin talaga ang old school na feeling at amoy ng libro eh.”
Then there’s the matter of “distractions” when reading through gadgets.
“It’s like running outside compared to running a treadmill. Ganyan ang analogy ko dyan kasi there is something different about it,” he explained. “Ako I could read a whole book in one sitting but I can’t afford to read for 20 minutes using an iPad.”
Ben continued: “I find it convenient having a digital copy of books but I am really big fan of the paper, ’yung physical copy talaga.”
Books and brews
Who says you can’t read with style?
Benjamin’s fascination with books has turned into a business called Books And Borders Cafe, where one could enjoy reading good books as well great foods and the best coffee brews.
In partnership with young entrepreneur Kristine Simisim, Books And Borders Cafe already has four branches. The newest branch is located at Manhattan Parkview, Araneta Center in Cubao.
“I’m very happy the way our fourth branch looks. I’m sure students and the people around will find something for them here at Books And Borders Cafe,” Benjamin enthused.
“The food is always good and it’s very affordable. More, the students are always welcome to study here, pwede silang mag-cram for their thesis dito.”
Asked how he juggles business and showbiz life, Benjamin said it is all about time management.
“I have partners naman here so hindi ako nagwo-worry. I’m just enjoying the ride,” he maintained.
Benjamin has been in the industry for five years now and though he has ventured into other things, he makes sure acting is on top of his priority.
“I’ve always loved acting talaga,” he said. “After I graduated college, talagang nakita ko ’yung sarili ko na nasa industriya na’to. I can say na this is really my passion.”
The actor already appeared on numerous TV series and film, playing both lead and supporting roles.
Despite this, Benjamin remains humble saying he needs to learn more.
“I really can’t say na magaling na akong actor o ano. I believe there is so much things to do, to learn para maabot ko ’yung ganu’ng status. Kumbaga ongoing process pa ako,” he noted.
The actor was recently seen on “I Heart Davao.” The series ended early this month.
“Wala pang kasunod (na project) sa ngayon. Antay-antay lang ako,” he said.
And what role does he dream of playing next, we asked.
“Whatever GMA gives me, I trust them. Whatever comes next, it’s always a dream role for me.”