After playing as Totoy Mola, more adult roles came in the way. These include various X-rated films such as Kool Ka Lang, Sakit Sa Katawan, Kaliwa’t Kanan, Bayad Puri, Balahibong Pusa, and Bawal Na Halik. As the new century hit, his role became further serious and dramatic.
Manalo’s fresh performances received various excellent critics and allowed him to receive several acting achievements from diverse award-giving bodies of the Philippines. Among his remarkable depictions are in the movies Bayaran, Prosti, Hubog, Ang Huling Birhen Sa Lupa, Mano Po 3, and Aishite Imasu 1941 Mahal Kita. He previously undertook other movie genres starting off with comedy films like Ako Legal Wife and I Will Survive, and fantasy or horror movies like Feng Shui, Gagamboy, and Barang. He also dubbed in the first Philippine animated film Urduja together with stars Regine Velasquez , Eddie Garcia, and Cesar Montano .
Jay Manalo has been included in several TV series. His first TV career began when he was included in the highest-rating soap Mula Sa Puso in 1997, where Claudine Barretto played the lead role. There were follow-ups to that TV series career such as Pangako Sayo as well as Kung Mawawala Ka. His breakthrough role was when he starred in the soap Vietnam Rose in 2005.
When he reached his thirtieth year, he already had a total of 10 children from 5 different women: Jay Jr., 10; Sharmaine Joy, 10; Jeandra Marie, 8; Jericho Martha, 7; Jayerianne Toni, 6; Ashely Nicole Zaine, 6; Jayenne Therese, 5; and Adrianne Riona Jaenylla, 1. In January 2007, he married Raizza, the mother of Adrianne.
His father was a Vietnamese musician, previously settled in the Philippines. After the birth of Jay in Vietnam, their family relocated to Manila, and then his parents finally separated. When he turned 5, his father got him from his mother; in 1995, his mother eventually wedded a U.S. Navy man, and his father went on with his music field.
On July 6, 2007, Manalo was discharged to the protection of his lawyer because of an incident that occurred in Philippine Airlines. He was about to board a plane going to Puerto Prinsesa when he said to a flight attendant that his backpack is carrying a bomb.