Giselle Tongi returns to television

After a three-year absence from show business, Giselle Tongi returns to local television via the TV5 mini-series “Nandito Ako.”

The 33-year-old actress, an original cast member of the ‘90s teen-oriented show “Gimik,” is now based in Los Angeles, California with her husband Tim Walters and her children, Sakura and Kenobi.

Giselle plays Cara, estranged mother of series protagonist played by David Archuleta. She will also co-star with showbiz friends Gelli de Belen and Aiko Melendez.

“Matagal ko ng kilala itong mga ito. It’s an honor to be working with Aiko, with Gelli. I grew up working with them. So, siyempre, enjoy naman,” she said during the press launch of “Nandito Ako” last week.


According to Giselle, she got the offer to star in the show through TV5 production unit manager Joann Bañaga. The two worked together during Giselle’s earlier years in showbiz.

“Finacebook ako, actually, ni Tita Joann Bañaga. Sabi niya,‘balita ko, uuwi ka raw, bakasyon ka raw. Pwede ka ba dito?’ Sabi ko, ipadala nyo yung script. Binasa ko, tapos binigyan na ako ng date. Tapos, ito na ako,” Giselle explained.

She added that she accepted the project because she just finished her Communications degree (minor in film and theater) at the University of California, Los Angeles. This, she said, has been her priority for the last three years.

“Matagal po akong hindi nakapunta rin dahil tatlong taon akong nasa kolehiyo. Ngayon tapos na ako, pwede na akong bumisita,” she said.

Giselle added, “I've done plays, but nasa school talaga ako at ‘yun ang inasikaso ko.  I finished my first film for my thesis. I wrote, directed and produced ‘Pinoy Grease’.”

The singer-actress starred in the musical “The Days When Cocaine Was King” in 2004 in Los Angeles. Recently, she appeared in an episode of “America’s Next Top Model” cycle 16 as a planted fan.

Back to the U.S.

The actress won’t stay here for good as she’s scheduled to leave the country later this week.

“I am scheduled to go back to Los Angeles. My son (Kenobi) is with me, kasama ko rito, kasi hindi pa siya nagscho-school. Pero yung babae (Sakura) ko first grade na, and ‘yung asawa ko, nasa L.A. pa po sila. One month lang ako dito,” she explained.

However, Giselle said she welcomes the opportunity to do more work in the country. She is currently a columnist for “The Philippine Star.”

“Nandito Ako” will premiere Feb. 20 on TV5.