Kris and Toni and me...again!
DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - July 5, 2014 - 12:00am

Recently, we welcomed Kris Aquino and Toni Gonzaga back to The Buzz.

Kris is a natural to the showbiz talk show format (I like to say she was born to it), but for Toni, that journey took longer. That’s why she welcomed the short break she had from The Buzz. She feels she needed that break to really understand and come to terms with what it means to be part of an entertainment talk show and how to handle issues and controversies. “I love it. I fully embrace it now,” says Toni.

Toni’s evolution as a showbiz talk show host began with ETK (Entertainment Konek), which she compares to being in grade school. Then she got into E-Live, which was the high school. “Yung The Buzz ‘yung pinaka-college du’n,” says Toni. As she went from one show to the other, she learned new things. When she first joined The Buzz, she admits that she didn’t know yet how to handle tough controversies involving her fellow actors. There were many awkward moments when she would run into them on ASAP or at showbiz events, and they would avoid her because they were afraid of ending up the next featured story on The Buzz. Some were afraid to even strike up a conversation because they felt that anything they told her might end up in a future episode. These encounters put her constantly on her guard and made her and some people uncomfortable.

Now, things are different. Says Toni, “Before, I was so hungry to get here and to be a showbiz-oriented talk show host kaya hindi ako maka-chill, hindi ako maka-relax. Now na binalik ako sa The Buzz, mas firm na ako about where I stand and mas okay na ako mag-handle ng issues and controversies.”

Toni is more confident of herself now. And as far as television is concerned, she is a host first for The Buzz and programs like The Voice of the Philippines and Pinoy Big Brother. The other things she does — including singing and acting — are secondary. It doesn’t mean she loves or enjoys them less; it just means that hosting is her main priority.

“I think people really know me as a host,” says Toni. “When I was starting, nu’ng natanggap ko ‘yung unang recognition ko as Best Female Host, tapos nasundan pa ‘yon ng ibang mga recognition, nu’ng time na ‘yon, my original plan was just to be a singer. Sabi ko, aawit lang ako, ‘yon lang ang gagawin ko. Then I realized hindi ito ang plano ni Lord kasi I was getting recognized for my hosting. Tapos ‘pag kumakanta ako sa mga lounges, daldal ako ng daldal at napapansin ko, tuwang-tuwa ang mga guests. ‘Yun pala magiging host ako. Now I think of myself as a host who can sing and act.”

Recently, Toni released her latest album, Celestine, under Star Records. Produced by the award-winning Jonathan Manalo, the album consists of 10 tracks with seven original songs, and two that Toni composed herself, Awit ni Ginny (Ginny being her character in Starting Over Again) and This Love is Like. Toni’s fans are very excited over the release of the album because it is her first in four years.

With all the blessings coming her way in all areas of her career, Toni is really owning up her title of Ultimate Multimedia Star. She has also learned to relax and take her fame in stride.

“As long as you are still given the trust and the breaks, just give your best, maximize all the opportunities so when the time comes, you can rest and retire and tell yourself nagawa ko na yung dapat kong gawin, puwede na akong magpahinga, settled ka na, wala nang kinatatakutan,” she adds.

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