Mano Gonzales, 27, goes beyond appreciating art. He lives and breathes it. “I like interior design. I’m into photography and beautiful pictures. I like creating my own imagery—that I think is cool,” he admits.
A quick scroll through his Instagram is enough to show his talent for illustration, be it faces of people and their emotions, to more “natural” subjects like fishes and leaves. His work hasn’t gone unnoticed, having been displayed on 2014's Bloom Arts Festival, an exhibit in Picasso Hotel, as well as collaborations with the celeb photographer BJ Pascual and film director Sam Lee. He has also done illustrations for magazines like Vault.
Like a lot of millenials, this 27-year-old UP Los Baños graduate juggles his time doing everything he loves, which in his case also include working out religiously and a day job for fashion retailer H&F. For him, it's all about striking that perfect balance. Just how does he do it? We caught up with this artist-illustrator-fashionisto-marketer to find out.
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How millennial are you and why?
"I feel pretty normal, to be honest. But people around me, especially my parents or anyone else in my family thinks that I’m a typical millennial: restless, always wanting to do something, always complaining about life, and always trying to figure out who I am."
How do you counter the myth about millennials being too entitled?
"We’re not trying to be annoying. I think we’re just living our lives and basically trying to figure out life. This is our reality. Other generations had their own issues when they were younger. I don’t think there are misconceptions, but there’s also nothing wrong with reacting to whatever’s happening to us. I see it as different generations reacting to us as millenials.Within the millennial group, there’s not just one personality. When they say you’re a millennial, it’s almost something negative. But I know a lot of people my age whose interests that aren’t the same as mine. We’re all so different and there are just so many things we can contribute."
How did you get started with using social IG in your projects/advocacies?
"Right now, I handle five social media accounts, not including my own. My day job has something to do with how people on social media react to things, and a lot of the information that I take, like images, etc. are from social media. The accounts I visit are mostly about fashion. How these brands are and what people do on social media…it’s almost a study. But, at the same time, I enjoy it. It’s not really hard for me to be on social media or think too much about it. A lot of people my age are on it. That’s how you get to connect... There’s really a blurred line between what I do for work and my own social media. With me handling all those accounts, I get to see more. I like looking at pictures and artwork from people who aren’t here and the easiest way to do it is through social media."
As a millennial, we’re feeling you still want to have more in life. What else do you dream of doing in the future despite juggling a lot of stuff now?
"I’d want to see the world. With my job and art I don’t get to travel a lot—maybe once or twice a year. If I had more time, I’d want to go out more.
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If you were to create your own hashtag, what would that be and why?
"I’m not the type of person but if I’d have to make, it’d be #MaNoNoNoWay. Or #Poop. (Laughs)"
What are your mid-summer plans?
"Nothing too big. Maybe one weekend I’d go outside of Manila. Somewhere close like La Union. I’m about to start volunteer work for stray dogs and cats in CARA Welfare Philippines. That’s what I’ll be doing on weekends.
Ideal summer date and why?
"Just me relaxing 'cause I have a lot of stuff going on at work. I’m dating someone, it’s really just us getting drinks. Just living in the moment."
Any dream destination or ideal summer escapade?
"It doesn’t matter when. As long as I have free time on a weekend, I usually like hopping on a midnight bus to La Union or Baler and spend one whole day there and then come right back after, not even sleep there."
How do you maintain your bod during the summer?
"I try to eat healthy but I don’t keep myself from eating the stuff I love. As much as possible I try to not pig out so that when I do want to pig out and do want to get something specific, like a burger or a bag of fries, I’d go ahead and get it. It’s just keeping a balance of the stuff I want to eat. In terms of being active I go to the gym several times a week. 3-4 days for weights and swimming at night. On weekends, I do this gymnastics-like workout where we try to get the same flexibility, strength, and core strength as gymnasts."
"I like doing stuff on my own. But I don’t have a favorite. I guess there are days where I don’t feel like doing one workout, and there are days where I prefer the others. It’s really me being balanced. If I only did weightlifting it’d be hard on my muscles because I like doing stretches and I know I need to do them. Yet I know I need to lift weights to get more mass. I also know I need to swim because it helps with my breathing."
Most recommended diet?
"I let go of things that I don’t enjoy and can live without. I don’t eat chips. I don’t drink soda. And pancit canton…you don’t need that! But there are things like burgers and fries, for example, that I allow myself to eat because I don’t eat them everyday. Like maybe once or twice in two weeks. On most days, I watch what I eat. That’s an equal amount of vegetables—maybe a salad and some protein like fish or chicken. I don’t subscribe to a diet because I’m too lazy and I don’t have anyone who cooks for me. Sometimes I’ll subscribe to a meal plan that delivers food to your office. But I never get to do that regularly. Other times, I’ll go to the supermarket."
Your most effective gwapo trick?
"For me, it’s a lot of jokes and banter to be charming. That’s basically it! Nothing too baduy. I’m really easy going and whatever happens, happens... I don’t have a killer smile nor do I need to flash anything to get what I want. Llaughs] It has to do with good conversation. Trying to talk because it won’t work out if you don’t anything in common or have the same wavelength."
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Produced by The @ABSCBNLifestyle Team (Katrina Angco, Julia Arenas, Duey Guison, Angela Sy, Mels Timan, & Barry Viloria) | Cinematography Jana Jimenez with Gio Vibar | Photographs by Vyn Radovan | Grooming by Raf Bardon, Johnson Estrella, and Ryan Wong of MAC Cosmetics | Styling by JM Gumatay, Shaira Mariel Habon, and Carl Pabilona of @TheStylistCrewPH | Hairstyling: @VivereSalon
Shot on location at: I’M Hotel (7862 Makati Ave, Makati City)
Special Thanks to: Melissa Lim of @IMhotelPH | Gabs Azarcon and Vanessa Vergara of @MacCosmetics | Arvin Amaro of @VivereSalon