He led Imperial troops in 1189, when the Third Crusade crossed Byzantine territory. Manuel afterwards fought against a rival Bulgarian leader, Ivanko, and was captured. The emperor took no steps to ransom him. Manuel therefore asked his son-in-law, Dobromir Chrysos, to pay the ransom, and joined him in fighting against the Empire.
Manuel's wife's name is unknown. He is known to have had a daughter, who was forced by the emperor Alexius III Angelus to divorce her husband and marry Dobromir in 1198. He also had a son, named John Kamytzes (Ioannes Kamytzes).