Brother Eduardo Villanueva Manalo was born in Manila, Philippines on October 31, 1955. He is the eldest son of Brother Eraño G. Manalo, who was Executive Minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) from 1963 to 2009 and of Sister Christina Villanueva. It was his grandfather, Brother Felix Y. Manalo, the Sugo or God's Messenger in these last days, who named him "Eduardo," which means "guardian."
Brother Felix was already on his sick bed when one day he sent for his grandson, "Eddie," who was barely seven years old and at the time, was playing in the yard. When Eddie entered the room, Brother Felix asked his grandson to kneel, and then he placed his hands over the child's head and blessed him in front of several witnesses. Afterwards, he had his grandson rise and allowed him to return outside to play.
Eddie's grandmother, Sister Honorata Manalo, whom he called "Lola Ata," would constantly teach him and his cousins to kneel while praying, and never to waste any of God's blessings.
As a young boy, Eddie would get Brother Eraño's books, bring them to his own room, arrange them on one side of the table and begin preaching. Only later did he realize that his father was actually listening through an intercom system. So precocious was Eddie that his father trained him to type his worship service lessons for him with anitalicized typewriter.
He started his elementary education in Jose Rizal College (now Jose Riza lUniversity) along Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City, and transferred during his fourth grade to Jose Abad Santos Memorial School (JASMS) in Quezon City.
He continued his high school in JASMS, wherein he had the opportunity to dabble in all sorts of fields, including Citizen's Military Training. He was also the guitarist of a singing group in his school and was active in dramatics.
He held the office of row leader in the Pagsamba ng Kabataan (PNK) or children's worship service (CWS) before he began attending classes for PNK Guro or CWS Teachers under Brother Benjamin Santiago Sr., a senior minister of the gospel. Inheriting the Sugo's passion for photography, he would contribute pictures for the Pasugo, the Church's official magazine, and at age 16 began submitting articles to it, the first of which was titled "Ang Mga Kagutom, ang Bagyo, at Sumpa" ("The Famines,the Storm, and the Curse," September 1972). Having a natural love for books, he strated his own library, most notable being his still-growing collection of Bibles, since Brother Eraño once told him, "Ang pinakamabuting collection ngmanggagawa ay mga Biblia" (The best collection that a Minister should have is acollection of Bibles).
It was the wish of the Sugo for Brother Eduardo to study philosophy in college and so he majored in it as an undergraduate and continued studying it at the graduate level, both at the University of the Philippines– Diliman, Quezon City. As an undergraduate, he joined the UP Christian Brotherhood (UPCB), the Church's official student organization for the brethren enrolled in UP. He became its vice president for external affairs prior to becoming its president in his sophomore year. As his contemporaries would recall, Brother Eduardo was not unaccustomed to debating with members of other religious organizations, speaking in either Filipino or English, as the situation necessitated.
While pursuing his undergraduate studies in UP, he undertook his ministerial studies at the Evangelical College (EVCO), where in a single academic year, he completed courses for both the fourth and fifth years of the program. He graduated from UP in 1978, and from EVCO in 1980.
After graduating from EVCO, Brother Eduardo's first destino or area of assignment was in the local congregation of Cubao in Quezon City whose pastor at the time was Brother Cesar Pedrozo. Brother Eduardo was ordained as a minister on May 9, 1980 at the Iglesia ni Cristo house of worship in Tondo, Manila. After a week of being assigned to the local congregation of Project 4, he was assigned as a Tagapagturo or Instructor of Evangelical Studies and as Assistant Dean of EVCO. He would bring along evangelical students from outside the Philippines, like Brothers Steven Kroll and Edward Maranan, to different provinces, especially in propagating God's words, to supplement their experiences in the ministry.
He was also assigned by Brother Eraño to host a religious radio program in DZEC and to be one of the first panellists on the TV program Ang Iglesia Ni Cristo. As a panellist, he would receive advice and constant guidance from the Executive Minister, which he would also share with his students.
As Coordinator of Metro Manila
In 1984, Brother Eduardo was designated as a Coordinator at the Metro Manila Office of the Church, where he served with pioneering ministers, such as Brothers Benjamin Santiago Sr., Aniceto Bunag Sr., and Pedro Almedina. He was also involved in numerous projects, the most notable being Project Tambalan, which was initiated for the Sugo's Centennial. Project tambalan, a brainchild of Brother Pedro Jaraza, also a senior minister of the gospel, was a system of inviting non-members that yielded an unmatched record number of converts into the Church.
In order to document the worship services being officiated by the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo initiated the use of sound and video facilities. He also founded the Society of Communicators and Networkers (SCAN) for brethren with a common interest in radio communication. Because the internet was technically non-existent in the Philippines during that time, he began and maintained a popular Bulletin Board System (BBS) and further developed his skills in computer programming. He organized the Data and Network Management (DNM), which allowed computerization of the entire Central Office. He also sponsored Internet seminars for ministers in various ecclesiastical districts of the Church.
Based on an article entitled "RP marks7th year on the Internet", printed in the magazine Computer world Philippines in March 2001, Brother Eduardo is recognized by Filipino information technology enthusiasts as belonging to the "group of pioneers that brought the nation into the Internet Age."
As Deputy Executive Minister
A day after Eduardo was elected unanimously by the Church's Executive Council, he was sworn in as Deputy Executive Minister by Brother Eraño on May 7, 1994. That blessed and historic occasion was witnessed by brethren all over the world by means of video conferencing technology.
In 1994, he was entrusted bythe Executive Minister with the historic task of registering the church officially in Rome, Italy. Two years later, he along with 11 ministers, joined Brother Eraño in restoring the Church in Jerusalem, Israel. In 1997, he accompanied the Executive Minister in a pastoral visit to Athens, Greece.
In 1998, he was tasked by the Executive Minister to make a pastoral visit to the United States, specifically in the states of Hawaii and California, for the 30th anniversary of the Church of Christ's establishmentin the West. He officiated at special worship services at the Neal Blaisdel lHall in Hawaii and San Jose Arena in California, both ofwhich were filled to capacity. In his homilies, he preached not only in Filipino but also in English for the benefit of all the brethren.
In the year 2000, Brother Eraño once again sent Brother Eduardo on a pastoral visit to 10 US states and Washington, D.C. in 2006, he was sent by the Executive Minister to visit brethren in countries in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.
Brother Eraño took every opportunity to hold klase with his son. Even simple moments like taking a brisk walk would turn into precious mentoring sessions. Advice and guidance from the Executive Minister were extremely important to Brother Eduardo that during pastoral visits outside the Philippines, he always made sure his line of communication was always open to and for the Executive Minister. In fact, each time the plane he boarded had barely landed, Brother Eduardo would already be reaching for his phone to report his whereabouts to Brother Eraño. It had always been very characteristic of Brother Eduardo to consult constantly with the Executive Minister.
The ideals of the Executive Minister have always been the inspiration of Brother Eduardo's project. He sponsored workshops in writing and and translations and seminars for ministerial students, as Brother Eraño wanted ministers trained in all fields beneficial to the Church. Such learning activities culminated in projects like the Eye 'N See Life photo exhibit and Christian Music Video Festival (CMVFest), which were under not only Brother Eduardo's sponsorship but also his artistic direction, given his knowledge of photography, filming, and video editing.
Because Brother Eraño wanted good values to be prompted especially among the youth of the Church, Brother Eduardo launched a children's exhibit entitled "Values 101." He also released animated documentaries about the Sugo and Brother Eraño to help the youth understand and value their compassionate labors for the Church. In addition, he initiated the digital restoration of older issues of the Pasugo.
As a composer and arranger himself, Brother Eduardo has continuously encouraged brethren to compose music for the Church. He has produced and released CD's of contemporary Christian music and "audio books" featuring Bible-verse reading paired with original INC hymns, which are all based on the books and lessons of the Executive Minister.
Brother Eduardo met his wife, Sister Lynn Ventura, when as a minister, he officiated a committee prayer of the UPCB. They were married on January 2, 1982, the 57th birthday ofthe Executive Minister. That was also the year when Brother Eraño devised the Gabay sa Pagkakasal, a minister's manual in counselling couples to be married and in solemnizing the wedding service.
Brother Eduardo and Sister Lynn molded their children early in their youth to value Church offices, which, up to now they fulfill faithfully. Brother Eduardo's constant advice to them is "Don't let the world influence you, you should influence the world," for by doing good, others will do the same. They also instilled in their children the value of studying hard so that they can use their God-given gifts in the service of the Church.
Their three children began studies at New Era University (NEU) before matriculating at UP. Dorothy Kristine graduated at U.P with Bachelor's degrees in Philosophy and Law and has been teaching at NEU since 2005. Gemma Minna, having graduated with a bachelor's degree in Music Education and currently pursuing a second degree in Choral Conducting, teaches music at NEU and is a choir member. Angelo Eraño is a senior majoring in European Languages and is also a fifth-year Bachelor of Evangelical Ministry (BEM) student at the College of Evangelical Ministry (CEM).
Radio communication and other current hobbies and interests
In his early teenage years, Brother Eduardo became interested in radio communication when he began tinkering with his father's unused ham radio units and antenna, eventually becoming aregular Short Wave Listener (SWL). He formed the Citizens Band Radio Group (Special Forces), and later on progressed to become a licensed amateur radio operator. He learned the Morse code, and has used voice, RTTY, and various other radio communication modes, which have afforded him the chance to communicate with people all over the world. Along with the computer technology, he is currently interested in astronomy and astrophotography.
Brother Eduardo is also fond of animals as he has had dogs for pets and currently own cats. He enjoys witty jokes, especially those that involve puns and word play. He is an aficionado of good movies and appreciates them not just because they are entertaining but they can also be instructive.
Principle of Leadership and Administration
Elder ministers have described Brother Eduardo as humble. According to them, although he is the son of the Executive Minister, he has always been respectful of others ministers, especially those older than he. When it comes to the Executive Minister's instructions, his principle is to "always obey and never complain" even if it entails sacrifice, no matter how great, since such derivatives are biblical.
To Brother Eduardo, most prominent among the many advices his father imparted to him is to have selfless love and concern for the Church. For this reason, he has also been described as "compassionate" and a "good listener," although very firm and meticulous inimplementing Church rules and discipline.
Now that the mantle of over-all Church administrations rests on Brother Eduardo, he himself hasemphasized:
"Wala akong iibahin sa sinimulan ng Sugo at itinaguyod ng Tatay (Iwill not change anything from what the Sugo began and what my father continued to uphold),"
because all that they laid down for the Church have always been based on Church doctrines and regulations, in accordance with God's teachings written in the Bible.
from: Pasugo October 2009 issue