William Thio and the multi-hyphen life

Published July 6, 2022, 7:24 AM

by Manila Bulletin Entertainment

William Thio

Before the slashie–a person who actively takes several careers– became a phenomenon, William Thio was navigating his way from construction projects, newscasting, modeling in commercials,  joining his dogs in  exhibitions and judging Pomeranians in international contests. 

“You have to make the most out of the short time given to you and of what life has to offer,” he says. He credits his grandmother’s half-sister and humanitarian Rosa Rosal, for motivating him. “You don’t have to be a politician to serve for as long as your heart is in the right place,” he quotes her as saying.

The son of a Thai-Indonesian banker and a Filipina mother, Thio studied in Jakarta International School and Brent School. When his parents separated, Thio was under the care of his maternal grandmother, Florence Yu.

At 15, Thio was discovered by a talent manager in a grocery. The latter got him jobs as a commercial model.  The gigs taught him to be punctual and disciplined and helped him overcome his shyness. Youthful at 48 today, he endorses an appliance brand, a construction company and a telco.

Thio went to Northern California to  study media and psychology at Menlo College. His studies were interrupted when he had return to the Philippines in 1999 to attend to family matters. 

Forced to become a breadwinner, Thio prioritized work over getting a diploma.  He started as host in a reality show, “Ideal Minds,” in a government network while being an apprentice at  his grandmother’s real estate business of buying old homes, renovating and selling them.

 Inspired by Yu’s boldness, he established his own business, Regal Homes Inc., the construction arm of his grandmother’s property development firm, R&F Construction.  He hired his grandmother’s workers with the aim of upgrading their skills set. 

Thio began his broadcasting career as a field reporter for RPN-9 in 2008 and was  promoted to hourly updater. At the Globel News Network, he became a news anchor in 2010. 

He favors smaller networks, so he could focus on construction, which is detail-oriented and time-consuming as he is hands-on from the selection of materials to customer relations. “I give 100 percent,” he says. 

Rosa Rosal would ask him to host in her public service program and talk show “Damayan” from 2007 to 2010. When it was revived as “Damayan Ngayon” from 2017 to 2019, Thio co-hosted the show with Emilie Katigbak.  

Thio’s objectivity, interpersonal skills, accuracy and hard work as news anchor have earned him awards such as the Legacy Icon 2022, World Class Philippine Council Awards 2019 and the Star Awards 2019 for Best Documentary Series in “Spotlight,” wherein he interviewed the late Environment Secretary and civic leader Gina Lopez.

He don’t consider the awards as hi-jinks but more of an affirmation that he is on the right track. Thio attributes his success to his family and his colleagues who have helped him in his endeavors. 

As the company president of Regal Homes, Thio considers himself more of an employee in the firm. “When you think you’re the owner, the ego can kick in. You have a better relationship with everyone when you are one of them. I make the rules but I have to follow them,” he says.   “I want to continue my grandmother’s legacy of integrity and the familial culture.”

 His day runs from 7 a.m till 1 a.m. Upon arising, he deploys his people to job sites. “My specialty is restoration. We modernize old home with good foundations,” says Thio. One of his oldest projects was a mid-century house in San Lorenzo, Makati, wherein much of the original framework was retained. “The owners wanted to modernize the house without losing its soul,” he says. 

 Celebrity dermatologist Aivee Aguilar-Teo is one of his best clients. He is the contractor of the Aivee Plus, the ultra-luxury aesthetic clinic of her chain which will open at the new Ayala Triangle Mall. He also renovated The Aivee Clinics in Alabang and SM Megamall. 

 Before noon, he hies off to the Philippine News Agency (PNA), the government web-based wire service, where he is the newscaster for “PNA Newsroom” which is aired on PTV-4. After taping the webcast, he goes off to construction jobsites in the afternoon and reports to UNTV to be news anchor of  “Why News”  at 7 pm. He doesn’t find any conflicts between doing a canned webcast in  a state agency and a live newscast in a private organization. 

 Upon coming home at 11 pm, he looks after his Pomeranians. He occasionally breeds them, with the knowledge of fostering the desired appearance for competitions. 

With his  modest kennel of six dogs, he stays till the early morning training and nurturing them.  “I’ve always liked animals since I was a kid,” he says. Thio has bred 11 champions and was qualified to become a licensed international judge for Pomeranian dog shows. “When I got my accreditation, countries such as Australia, started inviting me to judge,” he says. 

Thio’s multi-hyphen life isn’t about pursuing paychecks just to pay the bills, but more of finding purpose. “I didn’t have formal training in any of these fields. I came from the University of Hard Knocks. I didn’t know my talents or strengths until I started working. I just adapted to the situation.  In the end, there are no limits to what a person can do as long as you have the discipline and the passion.”