"The last time I was here was three years ago, diretsong hindi ako umuwi. Kasi nag-aral ako. I was studying at UCLA, University of California in Los Angeles.
"I graduated [last]December... so I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies with minors in Theater and Film," bungad na kuwento ng nagbabalik-showbiz na si G Tongi sa PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal).
Nakausap ng PEP si G kagabi, February 3, sa Tanghalang Pasigueño sa Pasig City sa taping ng Nandito Ako, ang upcoming series ng TV5.
Bakit naisipan niyang iyon ang kursong tapusin?
"Kasi mahilig naman akong magsulat so I’ve always wanted to develop that and siyempre hindi pa rin mawawala yung film because gusto ko talagang matuto ng production."
Pinasok rin niya ang larangan ng pagsusulat.
"I have a column in the Philippine Star called "Oh My G." Today was the premiere [issue] so I’m writing my next [column]."
At sa Nandito Ako, gaganap si G bilang si Cara na ina ng American Idol Season 7 runnerup na si David Archuleta na bida sa naturang series ng TV5.
AUDITIONS IN AMERICA. Habang nasa Amerika ay sinubukan ni G ang kapalaran niya sa Hollywood.
"I mean I’ve always been auditioning the whole time I was there.
"I’ve auditioned, I’ve gotten work as an actor but I do a lot of different things.
"You know Hollywood is not something... it doesn’t happen overnight.
"And it’s not just one project... and you become a star, di ba?
"Trabaho lang naman siya, but I mean most importantly... I really studied acting, I went to Lee Strasberg [The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute] for two years.
"Pinag-aralan ko talaga yung method, hindi lang siya trabaho, kumbaga pinag-aralan ko talaga."
So gusto niyang maging actor, not a star?
"Yeah because actors last a lifetime, stars fade."
Ang pinakabagong nagawa niya sa Hollywood...
"I was in America’s Next Top Model. I was an actor, I was like parang a planted fan, kunwari fan ako, I was really paid as an actor.
"Other than that, I finished my thesis in school... I wrote, directed and produced my first short film called Pinoy Grease and it’s an entry in the College Television Emmy Awards right now.
"So I’ll find out if it’s a blue panel winner, siguro mga in one more week. Blue panel, meaning finalist siya."
BEHIND THE CAMERA. Mas gusto ba niyang maging direktor kaysa maging artista?
"I mean as an actor I’ll always be an actor but I find a different fulfilment when I’m able to create [something or direct].
"Kasi ang artista... okay masaya kung artista pero feeling ko hindi naman ako nag-evolve ng twelve years na umalis ako kung hindi ko pinag-aralan talaga."
Iyon ba ang dahilan at tinalikuran niya ang showbiz career niya dito sa Pilipinas?
"Yeah, I reassessed what was in it for me. As a person and how I will be able to grow, to mature, to evolve not just as a person, but as an artist.
"Medyo twenty-one pa lang ako pero feeling ko at that time, na yung ano na ako, parang burned-out na ako.
"Kasi alam mo naman sa atin. Ang trabaho hindi naman nawawala yan, palaging may trabaho.
"Hindi sa napagod, pero parang... hindi rin nagsawa, parang naintindihan ko na ang buhay hindi lang lahat trabaho, hindi lang lahat career, pera, fame. It’s about evolving.
"Mahirap yun ha, mahirap to [arrive at] the realization na you pick the road less travelled.
"And you know, I’ve no regrets.
"See, tingnan mo nga naman ang panahon, twelve years pagbalik ko dito, I can still find work, I can still act, you know.
"But hopefully, I’ll be given an opportunity to create, instead of being in front of the camera, ’cause that I can do, I’ve been doing that forever."
So gusto niyang maging "captain of the ship" for a change?
"It would be nice, it would be nice but I know it’s not easy, you know.
"Pag nakikita ko si Direk Mac [Alejandre, direktor ng Nandito Ako], grabe! Directors here have such big pressure.
"Hindi katulad dun na ilang sequences ka lang a day."
At hindi puwede ang todong puyatan.
"Hindi kasi may mga union, di ba? I mean yung sistema ng trabaho, iba so I want to be able to use what I’ve learned and at the same time tailor it to how we do things here."
Asked to describe herself now, G said: