MANILA -- Edu Manzano was scheduled to leave last May to tape another series of episodes for “Crawl in New York,” his show with chef Margarita Forés for Metro Channel after their first one aired in September last year.
However, when the quarantine happened last March and all international travels were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Manzano’s trip to New York did not happen.
He would have been left with no show to work on with until the idea to do an online program cropped up. His “good vibes” posts, regularly on Instagram, inspired the conceptualization of the new program.
However, when Manzano was initially told he would be doing an online show, “doon ako pinagpawisan ng malapot,” he unabashedly shared.
“My lack of basic technological skills is very evident. I don’t want to be embarrassed going into a milieu I’m not familiar about. The obligation I have to my audience is to make them feel good,” he admitted.
Overnight, Manzano had to cram and was forced to learn how to use the popular video conferencing tool, Zoom, and “Good Vibes with Edu” was inevitably born. He taped the pilot episode engaging in a nostalgic conversation with his three children – Luis, Addie and Enzo. The show will premiere on Sunday, June 21, Father’s Day.
Manzano is aware his “good vibes” posts on Instagram “someway, somehow” played a role for his new show to happen. Good vibes is something everybody wants to know or feel every now and then, if not consistently. It gives a light, happy feeling and brightens up one’s day.
“Nothing negative and nothing heavy for this show,” Manzano pointed out. “I don’t care who is the most controversial person of the hour. The intention here is not to squeeze them. Even the President (Rodrigo Duterte), I am going to make it good vibes, if I get to interview him.”
For the pilot episode on Father’s Day, Manzano will virtually catch up with his children, who will fondly reminisce about their younger days. However, unbeknownst to Manzano, his kids actually planned a surprise for him.
“For equality, we always have to celebrate Father’s Day,” Manzano said. “We should have a law that demands that family celebrates Father’s Day. We always observe Mother’s Day, but Father’s Day, we don’t feel the pressure. Maybe a kiss or a simple greeting, ‘yun lang. I don’t get flowers, nor chocolates. Mother’s Day, all of us always have to make the effort. I demand I want something more [for Father’s Fay].”
Debuting “Good Vibes with Edu” on Father’s Day was an ideal timing for the pilot of the show. “We wanted to make it a memorable take off,” Manzano said. “Father’s Day was there. Getting all the players in place was another factor.
“I’m the last person you’ll expect to go online because I’m not really a techie fanatic. Not at all. I got a lot of help from my friends to do this show. They had to guide me. Step one, step two, step three. I’m getting the hang of it, little by little.”
Throughout this quarantine, Manzano worries about his children who are all away from him. While Luis and the youngest, Diego (now 15), are both in Manila, two of his children Addie and Enzo, are living in New York
“You can’t help but worry about your kids when they are so far away,” Manzano said. “They live alone in separate apartments, but not so big for singles. I thank technology I get to Zoom, Face Time and get to talk to them on Viber. I keep in touch with them as often as I can.”
Apart from lively conversations, “Good Vibes with Edu” will also highlight the host’s humorous side, as he shares and reacts to funny memes or videos. Manzano will get to talk to family, friends and colleagues. That will bring comfort to viewers in light of today’s uncertainties.
He admits, though, that getting used to Zoom meetings for the taping of “Good Vibes with Edu” took some time for him. “Everybody talks at the same time. It’s so hard. When I’m doing an interview, I don’t feel very spontaneous.
“You can’t jump on something right away. In Zoom, you are hampered a bit by a second or a second and a half. So as not to overshadow my guest, I have to be more respectful when they are answering my questions.”
The succeeding episodes of “Good Vibes with Edu” will highlight iconic reunions, like Manzano’s get-together with Richard Gomez, Anjo Yllana and Amy Perez, his co-stars in the well-loved ‘90s sitcom, “Palibhasa Lalake.”
The third episode will feature Manzano’s interview with the Cruz cousins Sunshine, Geneva and Donna – a “casting coup” to get all of them together. “Sheryl’s schedule could not allow her to join us,” Manzano disclosed.
“To get Donna to come out, she has lived a really sheltered life now, that’s really something. Doing the episode with them was so much fun.”
At the helm of “Good Vibes with Edu” is Lala Ventura. “She sets the tone for the show,” said Manzano of his director. “She tells the guests, ‘We’re here to have a good time. We’re here to laugh.’ She opens the show that way. It takes away a lot of the apprehensions of the guests, 'yung kaba. That’s where it’s going to be different.”
Aside from “Good Vibes With Edu,” three other programs will air on Father’s Day on the Metro Channel. “Gourmet Take-Away” with chef Roby Goco in the pilot episode, “Metro Dads” featuring Dr. Aivee Z Teo and her husband Z Teo, and “Casa Daza Season 4” with chef Sandy Daza.
CRAWL NEW YORK
Manzano strongly credits “Crawl New York” for giving way to “Good Vibes with Edu.” The idea of doing a talk show came to the minds of the people in the Metro Channel.
“I’ve done drama, comedy, talk show,” Manzano said. “But ‘Crawl New York’ was, by far, the most fun show for me. Ang saya-saya. And I am not exaggerating.
“We are talking about doing another New York, but the underbelly. Then the quarantine happened. There are so many different levels of New York when it comes to food. Of course, Margarita is there to make audiences appreciate the different cuisines from New York.
“I still want to work with them and I think they also enjoyed working with me. I came home with so many memories and added pounds from that show. I couldn’t wear my belt by the time we went home. I gained a lot of weight.
“We would eat four times a day. You saw the edited version on TV, where I ate very little. But in the real version, we really ate everything served to us. The food was so good, that we finished everything. All different cuisines. I’d do another one in a heartbeat with Margarita.”
The new normal way of taping amid this pandemic has been cascaded to the stars of forthcoming teleseryes of the network. Manzano has been lined up for “Kahit Minsan Lang,” with Bea Alonzo.
“They released the new guidelines and protocols to protect everybody reporting on the set,” Manzano allowed. “Can you imagine me at 64, I will have to work with so many restrictions? They had to cut down a lot of people who will have to work on the set. Everybody has to sacrifice to work again.”
Viewers will perhaps remember Manzano’s memorable role as President Lucas Cabrera in "FPJ’s Ang Probinsiyano.” However, he had to bow out from the series early last year.
“I don’t see how they can push through with the show without me as the real president,” Manzano teased. “They manipulated that to oust me. We had our own little group, with Franco Laurel, Gian Magdangal, John Arcilla and me. We had so much fun. It was not we were missing out on anything.”
Manzano was supposed to work on a film based on the Mamasapano incident, playing a true-to-life role as PNP director Benjamin Magalong. The film was originally intended for the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) in December.
However, although Manzano already received the new script, he strongly feels the film project will not push through this year and will most likely be shelved for 2021.
“You cannot do a regular, ordinary theatrical release anymore,” the actor maintained. “It’s not the same kind of margins as before in making movies.”
40 YEARS IN SHOWBIZ
He expressed his desire to be part of another ensemble cast, like when he did Laurice Guillen’s award-winning family drama, “Tanging Yaman,” shown in 2000. The film also starred Gloria Romero, Johnny Delgado, Dina Bonnevie, Hilda Koronel. Joel Torre, Jericho Rosales and Marvin Agustin, among others.
“Talk about being blessed,” beamed Manzano, who will mark his 40th year in show business this July. “It has been a long time. At the end of the day, one of my most memorable, favorite films is ‘Tanging Yaman.’ That was a movie of movies.
“It was recognized as best ensemble. The film gained several awards and recognitions from different award-giving bodies. Everybody really worked together in that film. If I’m going to do another film, I’d request that I’ll be part of something like ‘Tanging Yaman’ again. That kind of scope.”
Star Cinema has remastered “Tanging Yaman” and will release it anew. “The opening scene, I don’t care how many times I’ve seen it,” Manzano shared. “When you see Carol Banawa singing ‘Tanging Yaman,’ that scene in the church, I’d drop a tear. That’s the kind of impact that film had on me.”
The recent lockdown allowed Manzano to discover new things he never tried before. “Just like everybody else, the first week was really hard,” he said. “I like to engage with people. I couldn’t imagine getting isolated and locked down at home.
“It was so hard. The third week, I started to accept it. I realized there’s nothing you could do. It’s happening to everybody.”
One day, he saw his house help mowing the lawn and watering the plants. “I was doing nothing. Instead of sitting down and sulking, I got the lawn mower and the hose.
“Somebody gave me a bonsai, so I also started trimming my bonsai.” He admits he is like Mr. Miyagi now from “The Karate Kid,” starring Ralph Macchio.
“Now, I’m doing house calls,” Manzano teased. “I’ll go to your house and mow your lawn.”
While before, he merely talked to himself, Manzano started talking even to the plants while on lockdown. “But I realized I have to get out already because the plants are answering me back. They’re talking to me already. So I realized, I have to get out and do somebody else’s garden.”
Seriously, however, Manzano insists there are simply too many lessons to enumerate while he was on lockdown. “Patience, humility and the need for the greater understanding of people around you,” he said. “Before, it was just so easy to get inside your car and go wherever you want. When you didn’t like the scenery or the situation. Now, so many people don’t have jobs. Many people have nothing to eat
“At the end of the day, you just have to be positive. If you let your mind rule you, you’re just going to sit down, worry, probably mope and be sorry for yourself. You just have to get up everyday and look forward that tomorrow will be better than the last one.”
“Good Vibes with Edu” debuts on Sunday, June 21, 8:30 p.m. on Metro Channel on SKYcable channel 52 (SD) and channel 174 (HD), and on SKYdirect channel 31.