Borgy Manotoc was born on April 9, 1983, in Honolulu. He is the grandson of the late Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and son of re-elected Ilocos Norte representative Imee Marcos. His father, sportsman Tommy Manotoc, gave him the moniker Borgy, after the tennis icon Bjorn Borg. Manotoc has vague recollections of his childhood.
The edsa Revolution, which deposed Marcos and sent the First Family into exile, is history to him. His earliest memory of childhood was studying in London. The Manotocs travelled intensively and lived in Portugal. Florida and Singapore before returning to the Philippines. He went to Ateneo and International School, then started his college course in San Diego before transferring to New York.
Borgy is a model/actor in the Philippines. To legions of Filipino consumers, the memory of advertising image of Manotoc’s lean, muscular frame and six-pack abs, encased only in a pair of Bench jeans still lingers.
Manotoc doesn’t exactly fit the mould of the glamorous bachelor with the jet-setting lifestyle in the back book of glamorous girlfriends. He is the antithesis to the Filipinos’ perception of a Marcos. The Marcoses are known for their dramatic and fashionably late entrances. Manotoc is punctual for his appointments. His family is “perplexed,” as Manotoc says, that he chucks in read meat and fancy cuisine for tofu,
soy patties and veggie burgers, and colas for soy milk. His grandmother, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, his mother, Representative Maria Imelda “Imee” Marcos and his aunt, Irene Araneta, are in fashion’s Hall of fame for their unerring taste in designer clothes and blingblings. Manotoc, on the other hand, shops in New York’s thrift shop and vintage boutiques for clothes that express his individuality. If the Marcosses have been notorious for their flash and panache, Manotoc is the quintessential G.I or Genuine Ilocacano.
His prudence is trait inherent in the people of Marcos country, Ilocos. “I’m kuripot [frugal] all the way. At times I splurge but I save a lot. It’s part of who I am. It’s important to think of my goals. Money is very fleeting; and it’s not easy to acquire, I try to make do what I can. There’s no need to live an excessive lifestyle. I don’t need it,” he says.
Unlike the Marcoses who where encircled by sycophants in their halcyon days. Manotoc is quick to deflect any kind of flattery.” It’s important to surround yourself with good people. My friends have treated me no differently, regardless of the celebrity status I have achieved,” He adds that his brothers keep him from getting swell-headed. “That’s the way our dynamics are. That’s what I love about them. They keep me in check.”
Manotoc’s enthusiasm, simplicity, clear thinking and candour – to say nothing of his rugged looks and flushing white teeth win admiration. He is characteristically polite, graciously excusing himself to answer a call from his mother. Later on, he insists on picking on the tab, instead of allowing this journalist to exercise etiquette when interviewing sources.
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He is the antithesis to the Filipinos’ perception of a Marcos… If the Marcoses have been notorious for their flash and panache, Manotoc is the quintessential G.I. or Genuine Ilocano.”
A health buff, Manotoc slowly eats his fruit platter and eschews the cottage cheese. His lunch is accompanied by a glass of ice cold water. He reveals that the ambience of a five-star hotel is not part his world. “I live two different lives. My reality here and my reality abroad are so completely opposite,” he says.
He is a junior at the City College of New York, majoring in advertising and public relations, and works part-time at an independent record label, earning modestly doing A & R. Like most locals, he goes around the city by foot or by subway. More than anything, he enjoys a democratic society that accepts him for being himself. He sees life in New York as a quest for testing his powers, yet he knows he would meet a host of a college student to that of a “bottom feeder of society, scrounging around for the next meal.” When Imelda Marcos is in New York, Borgy is shown affluence – the limousine service, fancy restaurant and Waldorf-Astoria. From his school in East Harlem, an unglamorous part of New York, he meets her in midtown. “I couldn’t even go to this place she was taking me because I didn’t have a suit,” he says. “That’s not my everyday kind of thing. But I get to see the whole social hierarchy.”
During Christmas and summers, Manotoc flies home to the Philippines, where he is exposed to the lifestyle of the elite and faces the blessing and the curse of being grandson of President Ferdinand Marcos. “I was always this free-wheeling kid. I never thought about who I was. It was a humbling experience to learn about being part of something bigger than you, “he says.
For all his effervescence and playfulness, Manotoc reveals that he’s also not the easiest person to live with, especially with undercurrents of stubbornness and impulsiveness. He admits that he could borrow a lesson on compromise and balance. “I do everything at full steam all the time. It’s hard to live with me because I either go all the way or not at all. I can get up and down. If people are not consistent, it’s hard to predict the way they are going to act. At the same time, I like people that way because they keep me interested.”
This year, Manotoc is looking ahead at what is still out there to be conquered. “I don’t believe in fate, but I believe in creating destiny. It’s up to us to fulfill it.”