MANILA – Toni Gonzaga turned emotional on Sunday as her “I Feel U” family prepared a surprise episode just in time for her birthday.
In line with the surprise, the team tapped Melai Cantiveros to be the show’s host for the episode which featured testimonies from the important people in Gonzaga’s life.
Among those who appeared for the special episode were Gonzaga’s parents Pinty and Bonoy, her sister Alex, her husband Paul Soriano and their only child Seve.
While she was touched to hear from her family, it was the message from ABS-CBN Films Managing Director Olivia Lamasan that made Gonzaga tear up.
For her message, Lamasan expressed how grateful she is for Gonzaga for staying on with ABS-CBN even after the Congress denied its franchise.
“Happy birthday Tin. I am sending you my heart so full of love and gratitude for everything, for all the support that you have given ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN Films, Star Cinema. Sobrang maraming salamat anak. Thank you so much for staying on with us,” she said.
Lamasan also thanked Gonzaga for doing “I Feel U” when they first offered the show to her.
“Nung una ka naming pinakiusapan gawin ang programang ito, sabi namin kung puwede tanggapin mo ito sa starting rate namin. Hindi kami nagdalawang salita. You readily accepted it, believing in the purpose, believing in the objective that we have which is to maintain our presence and for us to continue serving the Filipino audience. For that, truly I am so grateful to you,” she said.
Lamasan said she will also never forget Gonzaga’s generosity and selflessness which she personally witnessed.
“Alam niyo po mga kaibigan, ito pong si Toni gave a generous portion of her talent fee, if not all, para po sa mga empleyado ng ABS-CBN na nawalan po ng trabaho nung inorder po ng Congress na i-shutdown kami. I will never forget that kasi napaiyak mo ako noon sa sobrang kalakihan ng puso mo at kabutihan mo. I pray that God returns your generosity a thousand fold and that blessings may continue to abound you in all aspects of your life,” said Lamasan.
With her eyes welling up, Gonzaga shared that she considers Lamasan her mom in the movie industry, saying she feels grateful to have had the opportunity of working with her.
Gonzaga also recalled a personal story at the time she was offered to do “I Feel U.”
“Nung 2019 na magwe-welcome ng 2020, wala pang pandemic noon. Sinulat ko sa planner ko na ‘What is your dream for you 20th year in the business?’ Sabi ko my dream is to have my own show where I can talk to people and I can interview them. Sinulat ko yun tapos nagsara yung ABS so naisip ko parang hindi na mangyayari yung dream ko na iyon,” she said.
“I got a call nung March from Inang (Lamasan). She said the exact words na sinulat ko doon sa planner. Sabi niya, ‘We want to give you your own show. It is called I Feel U where you can talk to people and you can allow them to share their stories through the program.’ Naiyak ako. Nagsara na yung network natin noon pero iba pala kapag binigay mo na lang kay God yung dreams mo. Yung mga binibitawan mo, hindi pala binibitawan ng Diyos yun para sayo. I am very grateful.”
Now on its third season, Gonzaga said “I Feel U” has helped her in more ways than one and she will never regret doing the said project.
“This small platform, we can talk to people. Marami kaming nakakausap. Akala nila marami tayong natutulungang tao with this show pero hindi nila alam personally kung ano ang naitulong ng show para sa akin on an emotional, mental and spiritual level. Ang dami kong nakausap na mga tao, mga Kapamilya natin na nakaka-inspire yung story nila,” she said.
Gonzaga’s actual birthday is on January 20. She will turn 37 years old.