Edu Manzano: Who Really is Edu Manzano

Known for his charm and sense of humor, Eduardo Barrios Manzano, better known by many as Edu Manzano, is an actor, politician, TV host and comedian. He has hosted game show franchises Weakest Link and 1 vs. 100. Dad to actor/VJ/host Luis Manzano and former husband of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos and Maricel Soriano, he is currently exclusively dating TV news reporter/anchor Pinky Webb.

Edu Manzano leads more than a double life: First as an actor and TV host (of Pilipinas, Game Ka Na Ba?, which he took over from Kris Aquino, and of ABS-CBN’s new morning show Umagang Kay Ganda); second as Chairman of the Optical Media Board, or OMB, which is the government agency responsible for tracking down individuals and organizations engaged in the piracy of movies, music and business software; and has credibly endorsed lifestyle products such food supplements, vitamins, noodles and now, Wilcon Builders’ Depot.

Edu admits it was no trouble signing up as Wilcon’s face. “Rose Ong and I knew each other way back when I used to live in United Parañaque. That is where I built my first home at the age of 27. As in ako ang bumili ng pintura, pako, plywood, dos por dos, etc. Guess where I bought (them)? At Wilcon, of course. That’s why the old employees know me. I used to go to different suppliers looking for a good deal because it was the first house I had invested in — balak ko kasi was building and selling eh. But then I also realized that unless you have the real passion for homes, hindi puwede ganon. Ako kasi, I disregard the profit margin because you want to see what you want to see in a home. So I was never an architect, never really meant to be an interior designer, but I always wanted to build something,” he relates.

Today, Edu is happily living in a modern, uncluttered home in Pasig. “I just finished renovating. I have a home in Makati that is also scheduled for renovation. I believe in maximizing the land area. But with three kids I think I’ve anticipated that one day these homes would be theirs,” he says.

Unknown to many, the hard-working Edu has judiciously invested in property over the years. He devotes his time and money in his “projects” to make sure he gets exactly what he wants. Edu says he loves the work of Ed Calma.

“As a matter of fact I have relatives of his that works very closely with me on two projects and that’s Jay Calma and his wife is Bermudez Calma. They’re very good architects and contractors. We built the unit in Pasig, and now we’re working on the Makati one. They’re a husband-and-wife team,” he shares. “Another architect I like is Ogie Palica. He’s very good with stone, with vintage wood. A lot of glass. I also like the work of Rowel Pineda, who works with Budji Layug. It’s loose, minimalist; it allows you to breathe. It spells cleanliness. Like you don’t feel like you continually have to dust the whole time.”

Edu says he likes Wilcon because he has had a good experience dealing with the company, which he has patronized for his properties: “My first experience with Wilcon was when I was scouting around for materials. I didn’t realize cash flow was that important. At the time they were the only ones who gave me credit when others wouldn’t deliver before, and bayad muna. So if there wasn’t any materials, the carpenters had nothing to do. Wilcon started giving me credit. That’s how I got to patronizing them. That was in 1985 to 86. I was already working then.”

Outside of Metro Manila, Edu owns a rice farm in Ajuy, Iloilo, and another one in Nasugbu, Batangas by Punta Fuego, in a cove called Calayan Bay.

“We catch fish there, make ihaw and have an ice-cold beer. There used to be a bahay kubo. Bought it in 1990. I liked it because of its access via the sea. From Wawa you take a tugboat. I dunno what I did right, but God is so good to me. Henry Sy has a property in Pico de Loro; he built a road near my property, so now, I have a solid concrete road near my property. Now it only takes me about one minute to get to my property, whereas before, three and a half hours! We’ve been there for almost 13 years,” relates Edu.

Having grown up in a small town in Iloilo called Concepcion, Edu professes a love for nature. “I like being near the water. Just because we have an abundance of nature around us, there’s always a tendency to abuse it. Sometimes it’s important that we take time out to educate even those in the provinces because while they live there they must realize that they have a big responsibility to the environment. They must take care of nature and try not to burn, they try to recycle. So whenever I can, I still try to travel to the provinces.”

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