Me and my Philippines: Toni Gonzaga-Soriano, Pinoy Big Brother TV host

    The tv host and social media darling with 9.8 million Facebook followers tells us her favorite restaurants and hotel, and where she goes on holiday

    Toni once said she's always dreamt of going to Amanpulo. Here she is on the very island. Screengrab from ToniGonzagaOnline Facebook
    I only get breaks once a year or once in two years. My travels are usually planned a year ahead. I usually visit our relatives in LA, Orange County or New Jersey. When I have a day off, I just stay at home.

    Up and about in New York. Screengrab from ToniGonzagaOnline Facebook
    My most memorable holiday I guess would be my 2009 American trip because we went to New York.
    We experienced a white Christmas. My work usually takes me to different places – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and all parts of the world. 

    My favorite hotel is Edsa Shangri-La Manila because we’re a member there. And because of Heat, Senju and Summer Palace, my favorite restaurants. I like the sweet and sour pork and yang chow fried rice of Summer Palace, the sushi and maki of Senju, and of course Heat’s buffet.

    My favorite leisure activity is watching a movie in Rockwell, Makati (Powerplant Mall).

    I’ve fallen in love with [the now defunct] The Goose Station at the Fort. I’ve recommended it to all my friends. Chef Rob Pengson prepares a seven-course meal and explains how best to enjoy each course. I like everything – their snack, soup, appetizer, cakes, steaks, eggs benedict, and their caviar oyster.

    Toni with her sister Alex. Screengrab from ToniGonzagaOnline Facebook
    I don’t shop a lot and I do that only when I’m abroad.
    My sister does my shopping.

    My biggest acquisition is a Patek Philippe watch I bought for myself. 

    The first item I bought from my first fat paycheck was a cellphone. My first salary was P30,000 (US$667) and half of it I used to buy a cellphone.

    I can’t live without my credit card, my phone and my watch.

    When I travel, what I pack first are my underwear, then shirts, jeans and comfy shoes, my typical outfit.

    Things I always bring back home from my trips are a fridge magnet, something unique from a place that looks good in the house, something antique or old but small enough to carry.

    I bought a piece of land in Tagaytay, thinking I'd like to build a resthouse there  that’s cozy, homey with lots of glass.

    Three material things that I value the most are my watches and my diamonds because I feel like I can pass them on to the next generation, and my cars. When I was starting out, I didn’t have a car and I had a hard time getting to places that I needed to get to.

    At home I read, or watch movies from my HD Box. And I always play with my dog.

    What people don’t know about me is that I love to sleep. I’ve been so sleep deprived for like 15 years. My normal sleep hours each day is about five hours.

    My beauty regimen is simply keeping my face clean and not putting on make up unless I have to. I do yoga, but I’ve never really been on the heavy side.

    Toni on the set of Pinoy Big Brother. By Macy Dionilo. Screengrab from ToniGonzagaOnline Facebook
    Toni Gonzaga-Soriano,
    32, is a TV host, actress and singer. She hosts ABS CBN’s reality show franchise Pinoy Big Brother (PBB), and ASAP, a weekly live variety show. She’s also an actor and a recording artist, and a Philippine social media superstar, with 9.8 million Facebook followers and 2.5 million Instragram followers. She married her then boyfriend for eight years, director Paul Soriano in June 2015 and if we are to believe reports by on February 11, Gonzaga-Soriano is now pregnant with their first child. The TV host however is keeping mum on the topic, telling Boy Abunda on “Tonight with Boy Abunda” on February 23 that ‘it was not the right place and moment to talk about it.”

    Follow Toni on Facebook and Instagram.

    Originally published in InFlight Traveller January 2012. Updated March 2016