Tributes for entertainment icon Eddie Garcia, who passed away on June 20, still continue as his fellow actors recall their fondest memories of him and the legacy he left behind.

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Jay Manalo

Character Jay Manalo, who worked with Eddie several times, doesn’t aspire to match his stature in the local entertainment industry as he believes no one can do it.

“He is a big loss. For me, there’s only one Eddie Garcia. Manoy is the only one,” Jay said in an interview for this year’s Cinemala entry “Children of the River.”

Among the projects they worked on together were the movie “Mano Po” and TV5’s “Babaeng Hampaslupa.” Jay felt devastated hearing about his passing due to an accident on set.

“You can really learn a lot from him. We don’t just talk about work, he also talks about his past. There’s no dull moment when you are with him,” he added.

Jay also attested to others’ testimonies how professional Manoy is. Even at his age and stature, Eddie always arrives prepared on set and earlier than the call time.

“Hopefully, other actors can also adopt his discipline as an actor. He sleeps early and comes on set early,” he set.

Jay Manalo Albert Almendralejo Rich Asuncion Noel Comia Jr Maricel Cariaga - Jay Manalo recalls ‘learning a lot’ even from just 3-day rooming with Eddie Garcia

(FROM LEFT): Jay, Albert Almendralejo, Rich Asuncion, Noel Comia Jr., and Maricel Cariaga (Photo by Erickson dela Cruz)

Jay shared a funny anecdote while they were doing “Mano Po” in Beijing, where they were roommates for three days.

“There was a time when he told me, “Jay, if you want to watch TV, just lower the volume.’ So, I did and I couldn’t understand anything. I just slept early when you see him in the morning, he really sleeps early,” he said.

Talking about his movie “Children of the River,” which also stars young actor Noel Comia, Jay said that he will accept if ever one of his children comes out as gay. “Children of the River” shows the story of four kids who live by the quaint river as they discover about their identities, friendship, and acceptance.

“I’ll accept. Even if he’s not my son, I would accept. Of course, as respect, we don’t have anything to do with it,” he said.

Asked if he thinks he’ll bag an award in Cinemalaya, “I really don’t think about getting awards, I just want to execute my role properly.”

In the movie, Jay plays a soldier. The actor actually admires soldiers, as well as their spouses and family, for having to go through the difficulties of their professions to serve the country.

“They are as brave as their soldier spouses. When you have a soldier spouse, you have already accepted whatever happens to them in duty. So, it’s hard to even think about it. I salute the soldiers who fight for our country,” he said.

Jay has several kids and none has followed his footsteps yet. He prefers them to finish their studies first before joining the world of showbiz.

“Not that I don’t want them to, but I want them to prioritize their studies first. If they will do it the same time as their studies, they have to make sure that they don’t neglect their schooling. For me, I don’t see them doing it because I really don’t encourage them,” he said.

Jay added, “One asked permission from me before until she eventually forgot about that thought. She’s now working. As long as I can divert them from entering showbiz, I will. Because I want them to prioritize their studies first. I can even help them enter if they want to as long as they give me good grades first.”

While he is already in his 40s, Jay still has that young look and vibe. Contentment and happiness keeps him young.

“When you’re at this stage in your life where you feel complete, you feel happy with your partner, your family life, career, people you’re around with,” he said.

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