Nicco Manalo’s career path from theater to indie

B. Allie Tah
But versatile actor has yet to fulfill dream of working with dad, comedian Jose Manalo

'DRAMEDY.' Nicco and his co-actors in 'Instant Mommy.' Photo from his Facebook

MANILA, Philippines – Jose Manalo’s eldest son is striking his own path in showbiz. 

To be sure, Nicco Manalo’s early theater days already distinguish his thriving career, which is as distinct as his father’s comedic flair in “Eat Bulaga!” is iconic.

Nicco is now secure in the world of independent cinema. He is in the cast of “Instant Mommy,” a competing entry in the recent Cinemalaya Film Festival and the debut film of renowned production designer Leo Abaya (Marilou Diaz Abaya’s “Jose Rizal,” Jeffrey Jeturian’s “Kubrador”).

“Instant Mommy” is another rewarding “dramedy” starring Eugene Domingo.

Hollywood-based Japanese actor Yuki Matsuzaki (“Letters from Iwo Jima,” “The Last Samurai”) also stars in this film, as well as singer Rico J. Puno who plays Eugene’s dad.

Nicco is Eugene’s younger brother in this film. The 27-year-old actor is happy with his meatier role here and with the opportunity to work once again with “Ate Uge,” Eugene’s popular nickname among peers. 

“’Instant Mommy’ is my third movie with Ate Uge. I’ve worked with her in the film ‘Tuhog,’ and in another indie film titled, ‘Kuwentong Barbero.’ She is such a joy to work with.”

Career path

Nicco’s other film credits in independent cinema include “Zombadings” and “San Lazaro.”

Then there’s his prolific track record in theater, from back in 2006 when he was 20.

Nicco has worked with such companies as Tanghalang Pilipino and Dulaang UP, in such productions as “Baquereta,” “Huling Habilin ng Sirena,” “American Hwangap,” “Hermano Puli,” and “Titus Andronicus/Tinarantadong Asintado.”

He is proud of the diversity of his career path from theater to indie, which in a way pays a nod to Ate Uge.

READ: Eugene Domingo comes full circle in ‘Bona’

But Nicco will be quick to affirm that he is always his father’s son.

“Undeniably magkamukha kami ng daddy ko. Kahit na mag-iba pa ako ng buhok or porma, si Jose Manalo ang nakikita nila sa akin.”

(Undeniably, my daddy and I look alike. Even if I change my hair or my look, they’ll still see Jose Manalo in me.)

“My dad is a very good comedian. Kaya nga mahal siya ng maraming tao [That’s why many people love him].

“Nagmana nga ako sa kanya. Yung mabilis mag-isip ng joke at parating masayahin. Kahit na may iniisip na mabigat, smile pa rin tayo nang smile.”

(I took after him. He thinks fast [when it comes to] jokes and he’s always full of cheer. Even if we’re deep in thought about something, we just keep smiling.)

Showbiz followers surely know the context of that remark: the pending lawsuit from last year between his dad and mom, Annalyn, who accuses Jose of violating RA 9262, or the Anti-Violence against Women and their children Act of 2004 — perhaps the best-known Republic Act in showbiz, of late.  

“I am still trying to cope with our situation,” Nicco said.

“I love both my parents. I just want them to get along. I pray for that every day.”

Nicco’s love, as he plainly states it, has not been dented by this crisis in the family. If given the chance, he wants to work with his dad in a comedy film or sitcom.

“I will be the happiest son in the world kapag nangyari iyon [when that happens].” –

Here’s the trailer of ‘Instant Mommy’:

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