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Acting, singing, and building and now building an empire? Kuya Manzano can surely do it all!

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

Born to a Filipina mother and a Spanish father, this hunky artist is living life to the fullest and is making waves here in the Philippines!

“It has been my dream since I was a child. I always watched my relatives perform on stage at Repertory Philippines when I was in the Philippines. So I grew up thinking how my life would be if I came to live here and become an actor as well. I’ve been here for 10 years and I love it. Got a lot of career opportunities I never even dreamed of,” he said enthusiastically. 

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

Apart from starring in shows in Repertory Philippines, Kuya appeared in theatre productions, movies, commercials, and television shows. Some of his notable projects include, Heneral Luna, MMK, Tadhana, Ang Sugo: Felix Manalo and Noli Me Tangere the Opera. 

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

The promising actor is also back in front of the camera, as he guest stars in the romantic iWant series “He’s Into Her” as Headmaster Mendoza.

He stressed how excited he was for the project and said, “I feel honored that they trusted me to play the role of Headmaster Mendoza. It is a new character that was created for the show. The whole cast is star studded! And they are mabait. I feel appreciated on the set of He’s into Her,”

“However, it was difficult for me to read a script in Tagalog. So some parts I paraphrase, and there are times when I would repeat the words out loud 1000 times in order to memorize it. ” he shared.

Even if he is usually type casted as a Spaniard, Kuya says that he is fine with this, as it gives him more acting opportunities.

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

“There’s less competition eh. Spanish roles are the core of my career in the Philippines. I can always find a way to make each character different,” he explained. 

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

But apart from being an artist, Kuya is also a budding entrepreneur. A couple of years ago, he was able to put up his own restaurant called, ‘IChill Theatre Cafe,’ which he now turned into an online business. 

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

Kuya  also explained that he thought of putting up a business in a time when he was in dire straits.

“I was super broke in the Philippines back in 2013. I was struggling and panicking and freaking out talaga. I was even thinking of going back to Spain. On top of that, the staff wouldn’t show up sometimes, or would be lazy or even steal from me. One time I worked 36 hours straight because no one else was available. Business is lucrative, but it can be very complicated.” he said flatly.

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

Kuya continued on by saying, “Since I have always been an entrepreneur, I thought of bringing to the local scene a venue where you can eat and have access to independent art. We have many of those places in Madrid, Spain. So I believe the Filipinos could benefit from it and appreciate it too. I learned a lot about business, but it was also tough and grueling!”

It can be recalled that when the lockdown was implemented in mid-March back in 2020 that restaurants were struggling heavily facing pandemic-related layoffs and closings.

However, the tech-savvy Kuya was fortunate enough to keep afloat during the lockdown, thanks to his witty entrepreneurial skills.

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

A few adjustments had to be made when the pandemic hit, but nevertheless, his business was still up and running, and is currently utilizing online platforms to keep his business in the black. 

“We had to close our coffee shop after 7 years due to the lockdown. So we transformed it into an online shop. I’m very happy with the changes, but the beginning is always hard. However, we now see progress every month. So I am always happy if there is progress,” he underscored. 

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

But in spite of his busy schedule as an entrepreneur, Kuya also makes time to take care of himself and workout, and of course, inspires other people to be better versions of themselves. 

“Working out and physical wellness is connected with happiness and mental health. It also keeps you more positive, boosts your confidence, and creates a resilient working habit. It also Helps with the productive mindset a lot. I became a vegan during the lockdown too, and now I feel healthier and lighter,” he stated.

He has also been very candid about coping with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Bipolar Disorder. 

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

“Since I have ADHD, I have a very hard time following rules. I can’t be an employee.  Actually, I will do things then try to break every rule. I try to adapt by learning new rules and figure out how I can benefit from them,” he said chuckling. 

The versatile actor clarified that his mental state was never a hindrance. In fact, Kuya continues to dream big and focus on his goals. 

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

Kuya stressed, “I am very ambitious. I want to be one of the richest men on Earth. Money gives freedom and it can even buy your dreams.” 

Kuya paused for a moment, then said passionately, “We are programmed to be unhappy and unsuccessful in life – but it is our choice to create our own destiny.”

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