PBB: Double Up grand winner Melai Cantiveros revealed that her family was rich even before she won the said reality TV series back in 2009.
She made the revelation in Toni Gonzaga’s YouTube vlog on March 7, where Melai was a guest.
Melai was born in General Santos, Philippines. She shared that her family belonged in the middle class as they previously owned a fishing vessel in GenSan (General Santos).
“‘Pag mayaman ka sa GenSan may bangka ka. Hindi ‘yung bangka na maliit, ‘yung bangka na malaki na ‘yun talaga ang pinapadala sa laot. Three months ‘yun nandoon para kukuha ng tuna,” said Melai.
She explained that her father managed their boat and would let a group of men sail onto the sea to catch fish. However, the men wandered too far from their designated fishing boundary and entered Indonesia’s boundaries.
“Dapat may boundary lang ‘yung pangisdaan niyo sa GenSan, [pero] lumampas dun sa boundary ng Indonesia. Lumampas lang ng kaunti, pinarata agad ng mga taga-Indonesia,” she said.
“Hinuli sila agad dinala sa Indonesia. Ang tatay ko ang parang head. Nandito siya sa GenSan nun. Hinuli ang mga tauhan niya, mga sampu ‘yun, pagdating doon sinira ang bangka namin,” she added.
Aside from their boat being destroyed, the workers under Melai’s father were jailed in the foreign country for 2 years. In those years, Melai’s family supported the worker’s family which really brought their business down.
“Mga 2 years pa bago nakauwi ang mga tauhan dun. Sa 2 years, si mama at si papa nagpakain doon sa mga tauhan ng pamilya,”
“‘Yun ang pinakabagsak talaga sa amin,” she said.
She even joked, “After nun, from hotdog naging daing na lang kami.”
“‘Yung buhay namin, naging mas challenging na talaga,” she added.
Melai explained that her family’s situation only got better after she joined Pinoy Big Brother and won as the grand champion which paved her way into the showbiz industry.
It was also in PBB where Melai met the love of her life fellow housemate Jason Francisco.
After her stint in PBB, Melai was later cast in the daytime drama Impostor (2010) and managed to land the main role in the fantasy show, Kokey @ Ako (2010).
She was also a part of several other Kapamilya series such as Be Careful With My Heart (2013), Honesto (2013-14), Two Wives (2014), and We Will Survive (2016). She was a cast in the now-defunct comedy gag show Banana Sundae.
She is currently a host of ABS-CBN’s morning talk show Magandang Buhay.