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Arjo Atayde was named Best Actor at the Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAAs) 2020 on Friday (December 4) for his role in the iWant original series “Bagman,” besting nine Asian actors and bagging the Philippines’ first-ever acting accolade in the main competition.


With his portrayal of a barber-turned-henchman-turned-governor in the socio-political statement piece, Arjo beat out (China), Manoj Bajpayee (India), Miller Khan (Indonesia), Bront Palarae (Malaysia), Anthony Wong (Hong Kong), Kha Ra (Myanmar), Zhang Yao Dong (Singapore), Prin Suparat (Thailand), and Ching-Ting Hsia (Taiwan).


Before being named the best in the region, Arjo was picked as the national winner for the Philippines by AAA’s jury members in the Best Actor category.


Arjo was also submitted for consideration by ABS-CBN’s Dreamscape Entertainment and iWant, now known as iWantTFC, in the local race.


Before his international recognition, Arjo’s effective portrayal of an anti-hero in “Bagman’s” two seasons has already generated praises from local viewers. He plays Benjo Malaya, an ordinary barber who learns to maneuver the dark and often thorny ins-and-outs of politics.


“Bagman,” which is currently streaming on the iWantTFC app (iOS and Android) and site (, also received generally positive reviews from viewers for its unapologetic exploration of relevant social issues and deep-dive into the brutal world of politics and corruption.


The AAAs, now in its third year, is considered to be “Asia-Pacific’s most prestigious awards for creative excellence” with 16 nations participating and submitting their finest works. It is also part of the Singapore Media Festival. 


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