MANILA – Toni Gonzaga took a trip down memory lane and shared memories from when she starred in a softdrink commercial with Piolo Pascual in 2001 that launched her showbiz career.
In an interview with Boy Abunda in a special episode of “I Feel U” to mark her 20th year in showbiz, Gonzaga said she could not actually recall any particular interaction with Pascual on the set two decades ago.
“Hindi ko na maalala kung ano ang naging interaction namin ni Piolo noon. Kasi naaalala ko ang call time ko noon 5 a.m. tapos narinig ko si direk na pagdating daw ng 6 a.m., i-roll na 'yung talents kasi towards the middle pa dadating si Piolo,” she said.
Gonzaga, however, remembers being just the “background girl,” saying she was not originally the one who was supposed to deliver the popular “I love you Piolo” line.
“I never got the lead part. Never ko naman nakuha ang mga lead parts sa mga commercial. Yung ‘I love you Piolo,’ that was just an accident. I vividly remember how it happened. It was the day before the shooting nung commercial, we were practicing at the back. It was a whole day of workshop for different leads that they were trying. Hanggang sa siguro mga 5 p.m. na, napagod na sila magpa-go see ng mga bagong leads,” she said.
“While waiting, they just tested me. ‘Alam mo habang naghihintay, i-try itong dalawang nasa likod. I-try mo itong isang nakaupo na ito.’ Wala pa nga akong pangalan noon, si ‘ito’ lang ako, this girl. Doon sila nagkamali sa pagkakaturo nila sa aking iyon. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, naku ibibigay ko na ang lahat ko. Ito na.”
While she thought the others were not impressed by her performance, Gonzaga was surprised that she actually got the lead part.
“Tumakbo ako sa CR tapos nagkulong ako sa cubicle. Napaupo ako sa sahig tapos iyak ako ng iyak. Kasi first time ko naka-experience ng yes. Iyak ako ng iyak. Naalala ko I had to compose myself kasi hinihintay na akong lumabas. Hindi ko ma-contain 'yung emotions na ako 'yung pinili. Hindi ko ma-process,” she said.
When the commercial came out, Gonzaga said she earned the “I love you Piolo” tag for about two years.
At the time, Pascual was already one of the more popular actors in the country, while Gonzaga was only starting to establish her own name in the industry.