The son of ship captain Illuminado Manalo and public school teacher Victoria Manalo, Jesulito “Jess” Manalo understood the extent of his parents’ sacrifice which prompted him to strive hard and excel in his studies. He finished his pre-law studies at the University of the Philippines-Diliman and graduated among the top graduates of his class in Ateneo De Manila University Law School. Since the 1980s he has served as corporate secretary and general counsel of various corporate entities engaged in the transport, software development, racing and leisure, construction, farm development and industrial-economic zone business.
Apart from his legal practice, Jess has served for the Philippine government in various capacities, among them being Director and Corporate Secretary of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and a private sector representative of the Road Board of the Philippines. His legal expertise and experience paved the way to form ANGKLA: Ang Partido ng Pilipinong Marino in 2011, which is an organization that seeks to protect seafarers’ rights and to institute relevant reforms in the seafaring industry. In the election year that followed its institution, ANGKLA immediately won a seat in the House of Representatives of the Philippines, making him, in the history of congress, the very first representative of the Philippine maritime industry.
In 2007 Jess established Outlooke Pointe Foundation (OPF), an organization with the aim of reigniting passion for the nation through the support of artistic initiatives. He has also taken active roles in several professional and socio-civic groups, such as the Philippine Legal Forum, Philippine Bar Association, and was also a commissioner of Bar Discipline for Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Being an educator himself, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of both the Universities of Iloilo and Pangasinan. He also lectured at the MBA-JD Program of the De La Salle-F.E.U. Institute of Law.