Luis Manzano: Lucky in love, life & business
10 THINGS - Bianca Gonzalez (The Philippine Star) - July 6, 2014 - 12:00am

I remember watching Vilma Santos end her show waving, “I love you, Lucky!” I remember watching the new VJ on Myx and asking myself, “Is he trying to be as funny and cool as his dad, Edu?” It’s been years since then and in that time, he has grown and shone as his own person. Here are 10 things you should know about Luis Manzano.

1. He shares he was never bullied about “I love you, Lucky,” because he was one of the bullies back in school.

“I was one of the mean boys,” he shares about his days at Colegio de San Agustin. “I didn’t look like a bully, I was short, stout, and I had really thick glasses na may tali pa. Admittedly, I was doing a bit of the bullying. They knew since I was younger that when you make fun of me, I make fun of you.”

“I’m not a mama’s boy in the sense of asking permission for every little thing I do. I’m a mama’s boy in terms of how much I love and show affection to my mom,” says the self-confessed mama’s boy to Star for all Seasons and Governor Vilma Santos. “You know when boys hit a certain age, they are ashamed to be with their mom or hold their hand or kiss their mom. Ako hindi. My mom, my dad, we’re a very loving family. Along with my brothers and sisters Addie and Enzo (dad Edu Manzano’s children with Rina Santos) and Ryan (Vilma’s son with Ralph Recto). My mom’s a best friend. We have that kind of relationship and that is something I will always brag about.”

On handling his parent’s separation: “I’m a Vegas baby. I think I was made during their honeymoon in Las Vegas,” he says chuckling. “I think they separated when I was four. Apparently I had a good conversation with them. They explained, ‘We can’t be together but we still love you, we are still going to be here for you.’ And I guess,

 I understood. Recalling my childhood I never asked questions like, ‘Why can’t you guys be together?’ My mom and dad were always there for me, any school activity, even basketball games. Sometimes we want to believe that parents don’t break up and it will always be a happy home. No. Sh*t happens. Separating doesn’t mean you have to separate from the child, it is all about communication.”

2. On handling real-life and online bashers: “You hit me, I hit back.”

“Imagine being so young, reading your name in the papers, Grade 4 pa lang they were saying I was gay. And at that young age you think... why? Then you find out it’s part of what your mom does and what your dad does, and you’re indirectly involved.

“One of the first few retorts I remember was when someone posted on Twitter, ‘Mukhang retarded si Lucky sa ASAP.’ I checked his page, saw his photo. I replied and said, ‘Nahiya naman ako sa itsura mo, akala ko wala kang profile pic, hugis itlog lang pala talaga mukha mo.’ And all my followers started laughing, and after a while he deleted his account. It may sound brutal but I will gladly get into a fistfight with a basher. And I’m not saying I’m gonna win, but I’ll give you a chance to back whatever you’re saying. If I lose, I would still have so much respect for that basher because he can say things straight to my face.

“Here’s one thing my mom used to tell me when I got into fights back in school. ‘Nakaganti ka?’ Hindi siya yung tipong, ‘O, anong nangyari sayo? Okay ka lang ba, may tama ka ba?’ First question always out of her mouth was, nakaganti ka ba? When I’d say yes, she’d say, ‘Okay lang ’yan.’”

3. On being open to run for office: “Definitely.”

I asked if he was ready should his mom decide to run for higher office. “Do I have a choice? I have never meddled with my mom’s political aspirations,” Luis says of his mom’s almost 20 years in politics. “The reason I guess why my mom is very successful as a politician is she focuses on her position. When she ran for mayor, she wasn’t aspiring to be governor. Other people could use lower positions as a stepping stone, which could cloud your judgment sometimes.

“I had dinner with my mom and Tito Ralph recently. It was a very casual conversation about me joining politics. They never discouraged me, but at the same time they never encouraged me either. They said whatever you choose to do we will be behind you. I’m not going to fight that battle blindly. When my mom ran she had no political background. All she had was her sincerity, that worked for her, and she learned it along the way. I still have much to learn.”

4

. His driver, who is everyone’s “Kuya Jun,” has been with Luis for over 20 years. “He knows everything. He could write a tell-all!”

“Ubos ang oras ng The Buzz sa dami ng alam niyang kalokohan ko dati,” he playfully reveals. Luis is godfather to Kuya Jun’s two  kids. “His wife lives in the house of my ex-girlfriend’s neighbor. So during that time, sabay pala kami nanliligaw,” he laughs.

“People I work with, our relationships last,” he says. What is it about him as a boss that makes them stay? “I just take everything lightly. I don’t think there’s any point in getting so mad. I’ve never seen an issue fixed with anger. For example, I’m doing ASAP and my assistant leaves my shoes at home. If I get furious, will the shoes walk to ABS-CBN on their own? If I need to leave and my driver can’t be found, there’s always a cab. If I get furious, will he magically wake up and get on a magic carpet and pick me up? Getting mad is useless. You waste your time, your energy, you waste so much emotions. ‘Haaay naku,’ yan lang maririnig mo sa akin.”

5. He once ran away from home.

Growing up, he stayed with his mom Vilma during weekdays and with his dad Edu during weekends. “My mom had this rule, especially when I was in high school: do what you want. You can come home drunk, crawling up the stairs, as long as you give me good grades. And I was able to fulfill that part with flying colors. When I got really crazy in college it came to the point where they had to talk to me. That’s when I was really exploring things. I ran away from home. I stayed in a hotel for a while. I was paying for my tuition already because they didn’t want to. ‘This has got to stop,’ those were the only lines I heard from them.

“We did have a confrontation scene. One time, right before running away, my mom caught me with a few special toys. Sigawan kami, pang-pelikula. ‘Hindi, hindi ganyan,’ I said, and she said, ‘In denial ka.’ I packed my things, ang dami kong dala, I walked all the way from my house to the village gate. Halfway to the gate I realized, wala akong dalang sapatos!” He laughs, recalling it. “We all have our dramatic moments.

“When I started paying for my tuition, I realized the value of money, the value of work. Why am I wasting my life? I’ve always had that independent bone in my body. I never really asked for anything. Whatever I have right now, I’ve worked for it. I wanted to make a life for myself. Not rely on my mom’s name, her money, my dad’s name, his money, or my stepdad’s. I have always had that drive.”

6. Luis in numbers:

3,300,000-plus: number of Twitter followers of his account @luckymanzano. He has 502,000+ followers on Instagram

9: Number of years he has been doing mixed martial arts training. “Muay Thai, jujitsu, wrestling, if I’m not too busy I go four times a week.”

18: Age he started living independently.

12: Number of years ago he became a certified diver. He goes on dive trips two to three times a month.

2: Number of acting awards he won for the film In My Life. He has won around 12 awards for hosting.

7

. On his one biggest lesson learned about handling relationships: “Grow up.”

“Every time you are in a new relationship, you always want to feel like a baby. We have this longing to be taken care of. It doesn’t work that way, especially for guys. You have to be in control, not necessarily dominating but if you’re the guy you have to take the lead. We have this longing that it’s all going to be okay, someone’s going to pat or rub our backs, but at our age now, we have to take over our lives in general,” the 33-year-old says.

“I’ve had my fair share of mistakes. I’ll be the first one to admit. I’m far from perfect. But hindi ako palagi may kasalanan,” he says of relationships in the past that didn’t work out.

“Realizing you are the same people rediscovering each other” he says is the sweetest thing about love the second time around with girlfriend Angel Locsin. (In the middle of the interview he excuses himself and takes a call. “Love ko?”)

8. On his advice to start-up businessmen: “Listen and learn.”

Seven  years ago, Luis, along with his good college friends Bong and Ron, started LBR Taxi. “When you have your own business, people automatically assume that you’re a business genius. No. The only reason why my business has been successful is because of my partners. It’s all about partnership, it’s not always you. Ako, I make executive decisions. Bong is a genius when it comes to numbers, I can’t even fathom how he does it. Ron, his legwork, the way he deals with people, is just unbelievable. If you have an issue, you listen. Not because you’re majority stockholder does it automatically mean you’re right.”

I asked what he thought he wanted to be when he decided to take Hotel and Restaurant Management at Benilde for college. “I just followed a girl,” he laughs. “My initial plan was I wanted to take pre-med. Because I had this knack for science.”

9. On the toughest scene he has ever had to do as an actor: “Kiss John Lloyd Cruz.”

“My first hesitation when it came to acting was that I didn’t have a trigger point. I talked to Direk Wenn (Deramas) and asked, ‘Paano ako iiyak?’” he recalls. “When we did our first crying scene for Kampanerang Kuba, I was emoting on set, Direk Wenn explained the scene, then he played live background music. Ah wala, I broke down. After a few movements of the camera, they cut, changed the setup, I was still crying. Took another shot, I was still crying. Hanggang sa standby area, sina Ate Uge (Eugene Domingo) minamasahe na yung kamay ko, di ko kayang huminto. Guess I had so much pent-up emotion and I didn’t know where it was coming from. I realized music was my trigger.”

“But yung scene namin ni Lloydy in In My Life… Lloydy is like a brother to me, and knowing I had to kiss him within minutes, talagang I had to get out of my comfort zone,” he recalls. “We did that scene on the Brooklyn Bridge. It was sunset. And then we kissed. Then we had a walk away from the camera. After that scene I really felt the emotion, that when we were walking away, our faces weren’t seen, I was crying. That kiss had no daya, not on the cheek, it was a kiss. Everything was a challenge.”

10. On remaining best of friends with his grade school and high school barkada: “They keep me grounded. They make you realize there’s so much more outside showbiz.”

“I was with them yesterday, and I have a feeling after this when I get home, they’ll still be there,” he laughs. “There’s a political side in my family, an entertainment side, but when you’re with their friends, their wives, even with Angel, it just makes you feel there is so much more to life.

“I’m crazy. If I’m crazy, they are even crazier. People say I talk a lot but I could actually just sit back and watch them talk, they would go at it for hours, non-stop. Could you imagine us on road trips? To Batangas, Baguio, or Manaoag, grabe sa kotse nagmumurahan lang,” he says laughing. “We go all the way back in grade school, some of us have been friends since Grade 2.”

* * *

To end the interview, I asked Luis what he thinks of outgrowing the shadow of being Vilma and Edu’s son. He pauses and says, “I’m holding hands with that shadow. I know that I have my own achievements, but at the same time I wouldn’t mind having that shadow right beside me. We’re walking side by side.”

* * *

Email me at askiamsuperbianca@yahoo.com or message me on Twitter and Instagram @iamsuperbianca.

ALWAYS IF I IN MY LIFE KUYA JUN LUIS MOM TIME WHEN I
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