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Jul 1, 2015
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It has been a common storyline for child actors.

Aspiring artistas thrown straight into the show business fire at a young age and, after a momentary encounter with success, they grow up...and get to watch everything they worked for crumble down.

A prime example from Hollywood is Macaulay Culkin, who rose to fame through Home Alone. Fifteen years later, Culkin's acting career is on a downward spiral. He also pleaded guilty to marijuana possession and hasn't looked a bit like the adorable Kevin McCallister ever since.

Locally, we have Jiro Manio, the multi-awarded Filipino-Japanese actor best remembered for bringing to the screen one of the finest child roles in Philippine cinema history: Magnifico. After fathering his first child at the early age of 15, things haven't been great for Manio and his career: He was dropped from ABS-CBN's Star Magic roster and voluntarily entered drug rehabilitation in 2011.

At least Culkin seems to be having fun with his band Pizza Underground, even after being rumored to be dead last year. Manio, on the other hand, has recently been spotted roaming inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, reportedly living off alms and assistance from passengers and airport staff.

To this we ask: Anyare, Jiro?

In this edition of FHM Explainer, we retrace Manio's vagabond ways to figure out what led the young multi-awarded actor to his current sad, viral-for-the-wrong-reasons state.


Born Jirō Katakura on May 9, 1992, Manio got his break in showbiz in the 2001 Cesar Montano-starrer Bagong Buwan, for which he won the Metro Manila Film Festival's Best Child Performer award. It wasn't until 2003 when his acting chops were recognized via an award-winning performance in Maryo J. delos Reyes' Magnifico.


Video via Unitel Pictures International

The role gave Manio three more acting trophies and essentially secured him several projects in the succeeding years. His roles as Shammy in three Ang Tanging Ina films and as the closet gay character Orwell Castello in the Manay Po film franchise are his most notable post-Magnifico performances.


Video via ABS-CBN Entertainment


With the steady flow of work, it appeared that Jiro was on his way to transitioning from a child wonder to a full-fledged star. In reality, though, the kid was struggling to keep everything together. In 2009, ABS-CBN dismissed Manio from a teleserye, and ultimately as one of its talents, over his displeasing work ethic and rumors of drug use. The next year, he transferred to GMA-7, playing minor roles in his few projects there.

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A year later, after months of speculation, Manio, only 18 at that time, confirmed that he has a two-year-old daughter with his longtime girlfriend. He admitted that he kept mum about his child because he thought it would affect his career.

In March 2011, Direk Maryo revealed that Manio voluntarily entered a drug rehabilitation facility, not just for his personal well-being but more importantly, for his children. It seemed that his time in rehab did him good as he was finally able to graduate from high school. He was even given a special award upon graduating: Most Inspiring Student.


Video via GMA News and Public Affairs

It appeared that Jiro had finally beaten his demons and was on his way to fulfilling the promise expected from wunderkinds like him.


Or so we thought.

On Monday, June 29, photos of a scruffy Manio taken at the NAIA Terminal 3 went viral. Reports indicated that the former child actor ran away from their home in San Juan City and has been wandering the airport for days.

Manio's Ang Tanging Ina co-star Ai Ai delas Alas, like several other celebrities, expressed concern upon learning of his predicament:

Gusto ko po syang tulungan .. Pinapahanap ko ma sya ngayun .. Comment here pag meron kayong info about him ... GOD BLESS!

A photo posted by Martina Eileen Delas Alas (@msaiaidelasalas) on

Reporters were finally able to talk to Manio on Tuesday evening, but he didn't seem even a bit interested.


Video via ABS-CBN News

One of NAIA's airport police officers, meanwhile, decided to take care of Manio until the latter's family fetched him. Medics and a psychiatrist were called in to check up on him.

In an exclusive interview with one of his relatives, FHM learned of the issues currently besetting Jiro. The family member shares that the former child actor had been acting up recently, noting that those who saw him regularly see him describe his actions as being akin to a person na wala sa katinuan.”

Aside from another stint in rehab last year, the relative isn’t aware of any medical or psychiatric procedures undertaken to address Jiro’s “problems.” The relative also confirms that Jiro had indeed been bickering with his stepfather, Andrew, prior to staying at the airport. “Natural na talaga yun na nag-aaway sila,” the relative tells us. “Si Daddy [Andrew] na lang kasi nag-a-alaga sa kanya.”

The family believes that Manio went to NAIA in an attempt to catch a flight to Japan to visit his grandmother. "Nasa bahay lang lagi siya, hindi siya talaga lumalaboy," clarifies our source. "May mga times na umaalis siya, pero bumabalik naman."

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Hindi na namin ma-explain talaga kung ano yung nangyayari sa kanya,” offers the relative. “[But we think] depressed siya, kuya.”

Nasa unang asawa niya yung mga anak niya… Nagkaroon siya ng girlfriend. Naghiwalay din. Namatay lola namin. Lola naman niya hindi na umuwi [from Japan], so nagkapatong-patong na talaga yung emotions niya.”

His father makes it a point to be always there for him, says the relative, but that doesn’t seem enough for Jiro. “Longing pa rin siya sa love from the family,” shares the relative. “Kaya siguro siya nagpunta sa airport, yun na yung means para makita niya yung mga mahal niya. Mabait si Jiro, kuya. Promise."

The good news is that Jiro is now back at their home in San Juan. “In good hands na siya ulit,” reports the relative. We have yet to receive word about the family’s plans for him moving forward, but here’s to hoping that he gets past this latest episode. Best of luck, Magnifico!

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