Yahoo Southeast Asia Newsroom - Toni Gonzaga aka Celestine (Publicity Photo)
The year was 1997. Celestine Gonzaga, a 13-year-old aspiring singer from Taytay, Rizal, joined the Metropop Star Search a year after it was revived.
The music festival became her first biggest break and her first biggest rejection at the same time. Jonard Yanzon was declared the champion, while Carmela Cuneta (aka Faith Cuneta) and Melanie Calumpad (later known as Kyla) placed second and third, respectively.
The loss prompted Celestine to branch out to other aspects of show business and reinvent herself as Toni Gonzaga.
‘True love has a habit of coming back’
The public would get to know her via a soft drinks commercial (screaming the now immortal line, “I love you, Piooooooooolo!”), then co-hosting “Eat Bulaga” and, later, as rom-com movie actress.
When the 30-year-old star stages her anniversary concert called Celestine on October 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena, it returns her to her first love 15 years after she triumphed and eventually lost at the Metropop Star Search festival.
"Ang lagi kong sinasabi, ‘True love has a habit of coming back,’” Toni told the media recently. "Kahit na ilang beses kong talikuran ang pag-awit, kahit na ‘yun talaga ang first love ko, bumabalik at bumabalik."
Sweet revenge with a price tag to match
Now a box-office star and sought-after product endorser, Celestine’s sweet revenge comes with a price tag to match: P5250 for VIP tickets to see the once-rejected artist command a musical stage.
By the same token, Toni is also under a lot of pressure to pull off a winner at the dauntingly massive venue and with Paolo Valenciano as director.
“Ako, I’m concentrating on Celestine. Mairaos ko lang ‘to, okay na ako. Itong October 3 ang pinakaimportanteng araw sa taon ko,” she said.
Proof of how dedicated Toni is to the show is her planned repertoire, which Direk Paolo is very proud of.
"We can’t just do random songs na walang meaning to Toni or walang meaning sa fans niya,” Paolo said. “Minsan kasi nao-overlook ng concert directors ‘yung flow ng concert; kailangan may istorya."
Paolo also considered Toni’s fans.
"More than anything, we’re doing a show for the fans of Toni. We feel we’ve come up with a show na talagang makaka-relate ‘yung mga supporters ni Toni.”
If you’re expecting covers of Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift, then this concert isn’t for you because Toni has promised to do all-original songs from her album—from start to end.
“Wala kaming covers. We’re really going to showcase original Pilipino music which is in my album na bibigyan ng ibang flavor, collaboration, mashups. Talagang magsho-showcase ‘yung musicality and personality ko.”
No death-defying stunts, too
Toni won’t pull off larger-than-life stunts, either (hello, Anne Curtis)—she’ll simply showcase herself as a singer.
"Buwis buhay? Hindi naman tayo dadating sa ganung level. Pero when Pao said na numbers that I’ve never done before, it’s really to showcase what I can do, ‘yung music ko and share to everyone’ yung music influences ko," she said.
The director himself admitted he was especially nervous, more so than when he directed his dad, because Celestine is going to be Paolo’s first non-Gary V concert.
More bongga than Gary V?
Yet, he holds up his dad’s anniversary concert Arise as his benchmark, a feat he wants to top.
“Since I’ve been working with my father, parang ‘yung ginagawa namin ngayon is we’re getting that kind of Gary V level na production, tapos gagawin namin for Celestine. And I think there are even some stuff na we’re trying out na mas bongga pa sa ginawa namin sa Arise,” he said.
Among Toni’s confirmed guests are her “Starting over Again” co-star Piolo Pascual, little sister Alex Gonzaga and fellow Kapamilya host Vice Ganda.
Yahoo Southeast Asia Newsroom - The star of the night, (Adrian Bautista/NPPA Images)
It was Toni Gonzaga’s night, hands down.
But if there was one unintended surprise at the concert of the so-called “Ultimate Multimedia Star,” it would have to be the industrial-strength electric fan mounted on the stage Friday (October 3) at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The powerful gust on that fan did wonders in achieving the windswept Beyoncé look for the 30-year-old performer. And it was no less than Toni herself who quickly realized the effect it made.
“Thank God for the blower,” she quipped quickly after her 10-minute opening act. “May igaganda pa pala ‘ko.”
Toni’s babe in the audience. (Adrian Bautista/NPPA)No-show Papa P
Fans who filled the almost-full capacity Arena went crazy when the box-office star paid tribute to her blockbuster film “Starting over Again.”
However, Sir Marco (Piolo Pascual’s character in the movie) was surprisingly absent when Ginny (Toni’s character) sang the theme song, which was originally done by Lani Misalucha.
Despite Piolo being a no-show, Toni went on singing “Say Something” by American pop duo A Great World, and picked Paolo Onesa of “The Voice of the Philippines” from among the crowd to sing her leading man’s part.
Toni concluded the emotionally-charged segment with Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up.” while the camera panned occasionally on her real-life sweetheart Paul Soriano seated in the audience.
But, of course, Toni’s popular song “We Belong” was also a crowd favorite. The singer said the said single was memorable because it was her first under Star Records back in 2006.
She capped the night with “Catch Me I’m Falling,” the song most famously associated with her and said it was a “must-sing.”
The biggest surprise of the night, however, was the crowd’s generally underwhelming reception, a head-scratcher considering the audience was made up mostly of diehard Toni Gonzaga fans who paid thousands just to see their idol in concert.
'This Love Is Like' By Toni Gonzaga Goes International
Date: Oct 13, 2014
Is the Ultimate Multimedia Star goin’ Billboard soon? Not impossible!
On Friday (October 10), exactly a week after her successful concert at the MOA Arena, an international radio show host, Jenna Marbles, included Toni’s ‘This Love Is Like’ in her weekly playlist on SiriusXM.
SiriusXM is a satellite radio provider where Jenna Marbles hosts ‘YouTube 15’, a countdown show which features Top 15 music from YouTube launched in June this year.
In a post on Twitter, where she is followed by 3.5 million people, she said, “My newest girl crush Toni Gonzaga (no Twitter booooo!!) is trending with #thisloveislike.”
"Can I be you?," she added.
Before hosting the said radio show, Jenna Marbles is also known as an online star, a vlogger (video blogger) with over 14 million subscribers on her YouTube channel.
As of writing, the music video of ‘This Love Is Like’ uploaded on our official YouTube page is garnering a million hits anytime soon.
'This Love Is Like', a song that Toni co-wrote with producer Jonathan Manalo, is included in her latest album 'Celestine’, which is still available in leading record bars nationwide and online music stores worldwide.
Toni Gonzaga has finally arrived! After months of preparations, the ‘Ultimate Multimedia Star’ staged had a jam-packed concert, “Celestine” last October 3, at SM MOA Arena.
On welcoming her audience, “Sabi ko kay Pao, dapat paglabas ko nakapatay ang ilaw. Kasi kinakabahan ako, pero masayang-masaya ako kasi nandito kayong lahat!”
The Celestine Concert didn’t have any covers of up-beat songs, except for ‘Clarity,’ ‘I Won’t Give Up,’ ‘Neon Lights,’ ‘Starting Over Again,’ ‘I was Here’ by Beyonce and ‘Amazing Grace’ with the Payatas choir. Also onstage were Vice Ganda, Richard Yap and her dearest sister, Alex Gonzaga whom she sang a sweet number with.
Toni went down nostalgia alley when did two of her hit songs, ‘We Belong’ and ‘Catch Me I’m Falling’ as her finale. And for the very first time, she played the piano while singing her own composition, ‘Awit ni Ginny.’
And finally, on thanking her fans and friends, Celestine left this message, “One day, the lights will close, the cameras will stop rolling but please remember I was once here.”
Why Paul Soriano didn’t propose during Toni Gonzaga’s concert
Yahoo Southeast Asia Newsroom - Toni Gonzaga during her concert last October 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena (Adrian Bautista/NPPA)
Sorry to burst your bubble, but director Paul Soriano won’t propose to longtime girlfriend Toni Gonzaga in front of the camera.
Paul Soriano would rather propose to Toni Gonzaga in private (Adrian Bautista/NPPA)
“The proposal will happen behind the camera. I know a lot of Toni’s life and our relationship, there’s a public interest, but there are certain moments I want to keep intimate. Of course, we will make kwento once it all happened. Very soon,” Paul said in an interview at the 11th Golden Screen Awards.
Hard to surprise
Many expected Paul to propose during Toni’s concert, “Celestine,” last Friday, October 3, but he didn’t.
Saying that it’s hard to surprise Toni, Paul admitted he doesn’t know how to go about the proposal.
“All I know is she’s the one for me and I guess I’m still finding that way to propose. It’s like how I do my films, I look for new and fresh ideas. She’s always busy. I have to find a way to do it and I know it will happen.”
Although many celebrities were engaged this year (e.g. Marian Rivera-and Dingdong Dantes, Heart Evangelista and Sen.-Chiz Escudero, John Prats and Isabel Oli and Chito Miranda and Neri Naig), Paul feels no pressure at all in following in their footsteps.
God’s perfect time
He explained that he and Toni are enjoying their respective careers.
“I know there have been a lot of engagements this year but that’s God’s perfect time for them. I think we’re still waiting for God’s perfect time for us and no pressure. We’re still enjoying very much the successes of our individual careers. We know we have the rest of our lives to enjoy each other. Ngayon, focus muna sa career.”
Paul feels grateful his and Toni’s respective families support their relationship.
“Tito Bonoy and Tita Pinty (Toni’s parents) have been very supportive of our relationship. Of course, it wasn’t easy in the beginning but I think right now, we’re really like family already. It’s nice to know that they speak highly of me and I have their respect because I respect them. It’s a good feeling. I know my family also loves Toni and accepted her.”
Toni Gonzaga proves her versatility in ‘Celestine’ concert
10/04/2014 11:54 PM
by: Kristhoff Cagape
Toni Gonzaga has proven once again her versatility as a performer in her 15th anniversary concert titled “Celestine” in the Mall of Asia Arena last Friday, October 3, 2014. The Multimedia star showcased her different sides as a performer and wowed the jam-packed crowd with her renditions of pop, ballad and OPM hit songs.
Toni started off the concert with a bang by singing her new pop singleThis Love is Like, Zedd’s electronic dance hit song Clarity and her Himig Handog 2013entry Kahit Na.
Toni also showcased her powerful pipes as she sang hit ballads like Starting Over Again and We Belong. The singer-host was then joined by The Voice finalists Paolo Onesa and performed Say Something by A Great Big World and Cristina Aguillera. She also sang Jason Mraz’s popular hit ballad I Won’t Give Up which she dedicated to “the one who never gave up” on her. Everyone assumed she was talking about Paul Soriano who was part of the audience that night. Toni also unleashed her inner K-Pop goddess when she performed 2NE1’s I Am The Best.
Other guest performers included Vice Ganda, who fired up the stage with Toni with his viral hit song Boom Panes. Richard Yap also graced the concert and performed Eraserhead’s Huling El Bimbowith the multimedia star. But what seemed to be the major highlight of the concert was Toni’s “showdown” with her sister Alex Gonzaga. Of course it wasn’t a serious sing-off but a pretty comical one yet both successfully showcased their talent in singing when they belted out Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back To Me Now. The Gonzaga sisters also showed their rap skills by singing Iggy Azalea’s Fancy. In her speech after their performance, Toni thanked her sister for supporting her for the past 15 years. “Honestly si Alex talaga malaking bahagi siya ng 15 years ko dahil hindi ko alam kung papano ako makaka-survive ng 15 years sa indsutriya ng wala akong kapatid na tulad niya kasi loka-loka, masaya, laging positive,” she said.
Toni paid tribute to God by singing Amazing Grace which according to her is one of the first songs she had learned. Recently, Toni has become not only a singer but also a song writer. She sang Awit ni Ginny, a song she composed for her movie Starting Over Again. Toni capped off her concert with the party song Neon Lights originally by Demi Lovato. With fans cheering her to perform one more song, Toni appeared back on stage for her encore performance, singing her hit song Catch Me I’m Fallin’.
In her interview backstage, she remarked that she is truly happy to be celebrating her 15th year in showbiz in a very successful concert. “Masaya, masarap, thankful and grateful sa lahat ng nakapunta na kahit umulan, traffic, naglaan sila ng oras. Kasi doon mo mare-realize na blessing sa Diyos na umabot ka ng 15 years, di mo naman alam na may 16 years pa but at least for this moment nakaabot ako ng 15 years.”
Toni Gonzaga sings hit movie theme song ‘Starting Over Again’ on Yahoo Celebrity. Toni Gonzaga performed the theme song of her phenomenal movie of the same title (co-starring Piolo Pascual) at her MoA Arena concert on October 3. Asia’s Nightingale Lani Misalucha originally sang the OST of the 2014 Star Cinema movie.
Toni Gonzaga sings ‘Say Something’ with Paolo Onesa on Yahoo Celebrity. Toni Gonzaga covers “Say Something” with “The Voice of the Philippines” (Season 1) finalist Paolo Onesa at Celestine concert last October 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena. The song is originally by American pop duo A Great Big World. The hit song is also heard in the movie “If I Stay,” film adaptation of Gayle Forman’s novel of the same title.