Hindi raw nag-expect si Luis Manzano na mananalo ng parangal para sa pagganap niya sa pelikulang In My Life, kung saan nagwagi siya bilang Movie Supporting Actor of the Year sa ginanap na 26th Star Awards for Movies noong April 24. (CLICK HERE to read related story.)
"Of course, you do your best to be expecting something in return. Expect lang na magustuhan ng viewers natin, not to expect an award," sabi ni Luis nang makausap siya ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) sa backstage ng Henry Lee Irwin Theater sa Ateneo University.
Dagdag niya, "For everyone who saw the movie, ako, safe to say, I did my best...getting out of my comfort zone. Sabi ko, 'Wow!' I mean, I was fortunate enough to win sa Gawad Tanglaw [best supporting actor, also for In My Life], mga February pa yata yun. Akala ko, dun na magtatapos yun. So, I'm very thankful."
Sa kanyang acceptance speech sa Star Awards for Movies, unang mga pinasalamatan ni Luis ang kanyang mom, Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto, at dad Edu Manzano.
"I have to thank my parents for being there in my life. Sa mommy ko, thank you, mom!" aniya. "And, of course, my In My Life family. Direk Olive [Lamasan], maraming-maraming salamat. Kahit ako'y mahirap turuan, hindi nakikinig at magulo sa set, utang ko rin ito sa 'yo.
"To my love team," sabi pa ni Luis, referring to John Lloyd Cruz na naging "kapareha" niya sa movie, bilang gay lover, "thank you for your support. Dahil din sa 'yo ito."
Mahalagang pinasalamatan din ng award-winning actor ang dalawang naging gabay niya para makaarte nang tama sa pinagwagiang pelikula.
"I would like to thank Direk Laurice [Guillen] and Ina Feleo [Laurice's daughter] for being a part of my success now, through our workshops," sabi pa ni Luis. Nasa awarding ceremony sina Laurice at Ina, na isa sa presenters ng award ni Luis Manzano.
"CONGRATS!" FROM ANGEL LOCSIN. Ibinalita rin ni Luis sa PEP na isa sa mga unang nag-congratulate on his winning ay ang dating girlfriend na si Angel Locsin.
"Yes, sabi niya, 'Congratulations! I'm sure marami pang darating diyan.' Sabi ko pa, 'At nanalo akong Face of the Night!' Sabi niya, 'Astig'!" natatawang pagkukuwento ni Luis, na obviously ay masayang-masaya nang gabing 'yon sa natamong karangalan.
"Pagbaba na pagbaba ko ng stage, ang dami nang nag-congratulations! So, paano nalaman 'yon?" tanong niya raw sa sarili. ''Yun pala, si Ruffa [Gutierrez, co-host sa awards ceremonies], tinwitter niya."
How about his mom, Gov. Vi, any congratulatory message that same evening?
"I think umabot na sa kanya dahil yung ibang tita ko [Emily, Maritess, Winnie], nakipag-text na ako... Siguro kaya hindi pa nagte-text ang mommy ko, she's on the campaign trail at this very moment," sabi ni Luis.
ON DOING GAY ROLE. In retrospect, Luis admits portraying a gay character in a movie—like what he did in In My Life, bilang si Mark, ang New York-based gay son ni Shirley (character of Vilma Santos)—wasn't that easy.
"For one, I'm straight," tahasang sabi ni Luis. "So medyo not every actor would say 'yes' to a role like that, considering that a man, kahit na walang bed scene, or kahit na [the story is centering on] intimacy between two guys, plus, you know, a kiss here and there, it wasn't easy. Pero after seeing the treatment, how serious Direk Olive [Lamasan] was with the project, same with John Lloyd, makikita mo that there's only one answer and it should be 'yes'!
"It definitely wasn't easy. But the thing is, they made sure na I was prepared," dugtong pa niya. "So I'm thankful that's why I get to reap the benefits."
FAMILY OF ARTISTS. Gaano kaimportante kay Luis ang pangalawa niyang acting award para sa In My Life?
"Kasi naman, ever since, hindi naman siguro maikakaila na I'm very, very comfortable hosting, so it goes to show...it goes to me na kaya ko naman, dahil, of course, I'm also [from] a family of artists.
"Although," he continues, "kumbaga, in terms of papantayan ko ang mommy ko, or daddy ko in acting? Ang dami ko pang kakaining trak ng bigas. And that will be close to impossible. Pero it goes to show na I have something to contribute to the industry, besides hosting."
Luis is back to doing comedy in his next movie, Hating Kapatid, which also stars Judy Ann Santos and Sarah Geronimo. Tuluy-tuloy pa rin siya sa pagiging isa sa co-hosts ng Pilipinas Got Talent at ASAP XV, at pagiging VJ ng MYX sa Studio 23. Kasali rin si Luis sa comedy show ng Dos na Kanto Boys.
"Malapit nang mag-semifinals ang Pilipinas Got Talent. It will be live na, starting May 1," pagbabalita pa niya.