‘The Apprentice’ American contender has close connection to the Philippines, thanks to his Filipina wife

Published March 27, 2021, 6:31 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Roman Wilson (right), former Princeton football player and American contender for ONE: The Apprentice and Filipina wife Carmina Mancenon. (ONE Championship)

Roman Wilson, an American contender for ONE Championship’s edition of “The Apprentice,” has kept his close connection to the Philippines through the years, thanks to his Filipina wife.

From the get-go, Roman knew that it was love he felt when she met Carmina Mancenon.

No language barriers nor nationality, not even distance, could separate the two, as if they were really destined for each other during their first meeting in Japan, when Carmina went to visit her parents while Roman, a former Princeton football athlete, had stayed in the Land of the Rising Sun for quite some time as a professional player for the Asahi Beer Silver Stars in the Japanese X-League.

It only needed one week for them to get to know each other since Carmina had to fly back to the United States to continue her graduate school. But one week was enough for Roman to realize that Carmina was “the one.”

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Roman Wilson, wife Carmina Mancenon and her family (ONE Championship)

“She was only there for a week, but a week was enough time for me to know that I wanted to be with her. That’s when we started to discuss if we want to start dating and pursue our relationship,” said Wilson, one of the 16 candidates in the hit reality television series.

What’s even interesting is Roman started to capture the hearts of Carmina’s parents first — and the so-called “ligaw” process began.

“I spent every weekend at her parents’ house in Japan, having lunch and dinner with them, talking to them, going to church with them, just actually spending time with her parents,” said the 29-year-old Wilson. “It was a chance for me to understand her from the perspective of the people who have essentially formed who she is, who Carmina is today. And I sang Tagalog songs in front of the entire family and ate ‘balut.'”

After retiring from the sport, Wilson would return to the US and work in the banking industry in New York City, which paved the way for the two love birds to pick up where they left off. Eventually, Roman and Carmina tied the knot and found themselves moving to the Philippines.

Roman explored the healthcare industry while Carmina is firm with her business-related job.

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“For me, the idea of moving to the Philippines was exciting because I got to know Carmina’s family, spend time with them, and visit destinations in the Philippines,” said Wilson. “I was familiar with Filipino social culture which is so jovial, friendly, upbeat, positive with so many jokes and so much laughing. And then you get into the work culture and much of that social culture translates over to the work culture.

“Before when I was working in New York, everything was direct, cutthroat, and fast-paced. But when I was working in Manila, things operates more slowly and you have to be more patient, I learned a lot about that. I learned how to socialize at work. There’s less of a balance between social life and work life and that was quite a big adjustment for me.”

Roman Wilson with Carmina Mancenon and her family (ONE Championship)

And if there’s one unique takeaway from the Philippine experience, do not count the food out as Roman feasted over the famed “lechon,” or simply roasted pig.

After years of staying in the Philippines, the Wilsons moved to Singapore and Roman maximized the opportunity to join “The Apprentice.”

Again, thanks to his wife Carmina, Roman believed he has what it takes to bag the $250,000 job offer to work under ONE CEO and founder Chatri Sityodtong as his protege.