Melai Cantiveros shared her childhood stories to Toni Gonzaga in an interview in the latter's YouTube vlog.
According to Melai, her family was actually well-off back then in General Santos City. The Kapamilya host said that her family used to supply tuna to different countries.
"Medyo may pagkamayaman talaga kami ate Tons... Kasi mayaman ka sa Gen San kapag may bangka ka. Hindi 'yung bangka na maliit, 'yung bangka na malaki, 'yun talaga ang pinapadala sa laot. Three months 'yung nandon para kumuha ng tuna, 'yung tuna na pinapadala sa Japan. So may pagkamayaman kami dati," she said.
However, one incident changed the fate of her family when their boat was captured by Indonesian authorities because it broke boundaries.
"Dapat may boundary 'yung mapangisdaan don sa Gen San. Lumagpas sa boundary ng Indonesia, konting lagpas lang sa boundary [dahil] don nag-swim ang tuna, pagkuha ng tuna don pinarata agad ng mga taga Indonesia, hinuli agad sila at dinala sa Indonesia. Ang tatay ko ang parang head, hinuli 'yung mga tauhan niya. Pagdating don sinira ang bangka namin," Melai relayed.
The host shared that her father got really stressed about what happened.
"Ang papa ko sobrang stress non, sinira ang bangka niya na pinaghirapan niya, half million ang binayad don eh," she said.
According to Melai, her parents had to also feed the family of his father's staff, who were held in Indonesia.
"Mga two years pa bago makauwi ['yung mga tauhan], so in two years, si mama at si papa ang nagpakain ng bigas sa mga tauhan ng pamilya," she said.
Melai said that they lost their livelihood when they lost their boat.
"Sobra talaga, 'yun talaga ang pinaka-nagpabagsak talaga sa amin, after non naghirap talaga," Melai said.
Melai and her family's fate later on changed for the better after she joined Pinoy Big Brother and was hailed the Big Winner of PBB: Double Up in 2010.
She also met Jason Francisco back then, who became her husband later on in life.
"Ang pinaka-main talaga don aside sa Big Winner is nakita mo yung love of your life, na doon mo pala makikita yung asawa mo," she said.