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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 12, 2014

Toni Gonzaga Defends 'Pinoy Big Brother' On Nude Painting Issue

TONI GONZAGA is introduced by ABS-CBN’s Aaron Domingo at the launch of her new album, “Celestine”, as the Ultimate Multi-Media Star who’s into hosting, acting and singing, adding that she’s the female version of Gary V. “Ay huwag kang ganyan,” says Toni. “Magkape ka.”

She says “Celestine” is her most personal album as she not only used her real name but also launches her new career as a songwriter. It’s album producer Jonathan Manalo of Star Records who encouraged her to compose her own song and she did. It’s originally entitled “Himlay”.

“But may pagka-morbid daw ang dating, pang-November 1 sa Himlayang Pilipino kaya nag-isip sila ng ibang title,” says Toni. “I wrote the song while I was shooting ‘Starting Over Again’ and it’s from the point of view of a girl who’s love is unreciprocated, na siyang story ng character ko in the movie, si Ginny, so they titled the song ‘Awit ni Ginny’.”

The song is a potential hit. Will Toni write her own wedding song? “Nagawa ko na.” Why didn’t she include it in the album? “Ayoko nga. Actually, marami na kong compositions kaya lang hindi ko pine-present sa Star Records kasi nahihiya ako.”

The album has ten songs: “This Love is Like” (a dance song that’s another potential hit which she co-wrote with Jonathan Manalo and has a beautiful remix arranged by Chris Lopez, son of TFC exec Raffy Lopez), “Got You”, “Finally”, “Sweetest Song”, “Oh Boy”, “Di Ba Halata”, “Kahit Na”, plus Toni’s own version of “Starting Over Again”.

Toni says she’s been singing in their church’s choir ever since she’s a child. “At 8, sinali ako sa church band. Then I joined singing competitions. Kung minsan, nananalo. The biggest contest I joined was the Metropop Search for singers in 1997, batch ni Kyla. Nasama ko sa Top 13 but I didn’t win. Then I did lounge singing in various hotels. Tapos kinuha kong host ng ‘Eat Bulaga’ then l moved to Studio 23 for ‘Wazzup Wazzup’. I told them kumakanta rin po ako and sinali ako sa ‘ASAP’. In 2005, I launched my first album and that’s the history of my singing career.”

What can she say now that some writers are saying she’ll surely snatch the Box Office Queen title from Sarah Geronimo because “Starting Over Again” earned P400 million at the box office and she helped revived Piolo Pascual’s career? “Huwag kayong ganyan. I don’t want to get the credit for myself because film is a collaborative effort. Lahat kami nagtulong-tulong for it to succeed, para magustuhan ng tao. At saka ayoko ng mag-expect. Kasi sinabi rin nila yun nung ‘Amnesia Girl’, pero hindi naman binigay sa’kin. So chill lang ako, relaxed lang.”

As main host of PBB All In, what can she say now that the show is getting brickbats for introducing nude painting among the housemates? “Lahat ng ginagawa sa show, dumaraan under the supervision of the mother company, Endemol, so sina Kuya won’t do anything without their go signal. Yung concept naman is not meant to force anyone. I think the people running the show know their limitations.”