Cesar Montano

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Cesar Montano
Cesar Montano 
Born August 1, 1962 (age 54)
Birth Name Cesar Manhilot
Spouse Sunshine Cruz Montano
Occupation Actor, Film Director
Years Active 1984-present

César Manhilot, known by his popular screen name Cesar Montano, is a multi-awarded Filipino actor and film director.

He started in show business as a stuntman for a lot of known Filipino actors.<ref name="tv"/> He played roles in numerous B movies. He then played major roles in several action movies and a brief but successful television career playing the lead role in the television sitcom Kaya ni Mister, Kaya ni Misis with veteran actress Maricel Soriano.

His breakout role is his portrayal of José Rizal, the Philippine National Hero in the film José Rizal. The film is unprecedented as it portrays Philippine society during Spanish colonization of the Philippines and its relevance up to the present day.

He has won numerous acting awards, especially in his internationally acclaimed movies, such as Hollywood's The Great Raid, Panaghoy sa Suba (The Call of the River), José Rizal, Muro Ami (Reef Hunters) and Bagong Buwan (New Moon).

Aside from acting, Montano also embarked on a singing career, with the release of his music album Subok lang or Just try in 2000. He has also ventured into film production as well as directing, with Panaghoy sa Suba as his directorial film debut.

After his first Hollywood movie The Great Raid with Benjamin Bratt, he was cast in another Hollywood movie Another Deep Breath'.

In May 2007, he ran for senate under the coalition TEAM UNITY (TU). Unfortunately, he lost by landslide (ranking only 22nd). GMA news reported that he lost about P40 million worth of endorsement for running in public office.

Currently, he is part of ABS-CBN contract actors


Biography and career

Montano, known by his nickname Buboy, was born and raised in Sta. Ana, Manila, Philippines, but traces his roots to the Manhilots of Baclayon, in the island province of Bohol in Central Visayas, Philippines.

He is the fifth of seven children born to a lawyer father and Seventh-day Adventist Church mother. Montano says discipline was the hallmark of his childhood: he describes his father as a strict disciplinarian, and his mother imposing the religious prohibitions of "no pork" and "no movies". <ref name="hunk"/>

Montano went to the Sta. Ana Elementary School, and finished Engineering at the Lyceum. An average student, he was good at drawing and would have become a painter, if not a singer, if he hadn't become an actor.

Montano was first married to Marilyn Polinga, a fellow Boholano he met at a local Seventh-day Adventist Church. Their two children, Angela and Angelo, grew up with her when they separated as a couple. When she died of a brain tumor in 1993, the children moved back with him. His other son, Caloy Diego, lives with his mother, Filipino actress Teresa Loyzaga, in Australia.

He is currently married to Philippine actress Sunshine Cruz with whom he has two daughters, Angeline Isabelle and Samantha Angeline.<ref name="idol">Cesar Montano: "the true idol ng bayan"</ref>

Early work

The acting bug bit Montano when he was in his senior year in college in 1984, and soon enough, he was taking acting workshops with the likes of Joel Lamangan and Imee Marcos, and landed the role of elevator boy in "Estremenggoles." TV and movie roles quickly followed: "Agos" with Gretchen Barretto, the Pinoy Thriller, "Regal Shocker", and the "Maricel Soriano Drama Special". He did a lot of B movies which he prefers to call "trash" movies rather than bold.

Montano's passion for acting was first seen in Dulaang UP's stage productions. He was an active member of University of the Philippines or UP Playwright under the direction of Tony Mabesa.<ref name="imdb">Cesar Montano Mini biography www.imdb.com Retrieved 30 November 2006. </ref>

His first movie careers were as a stuntman for a lot of known Filipino actors.<ref name="tv">Biography www.tv.com Retrieved 29 November 2006.</ref> In his early career, he played major roles in several action movies like "Sanggano" with Judy Ann Santos and Mikee Villanueva, while also having a successful TV career as he played the lead role of Buboy Magtanggol opposite Maricel Soriano in the TV sitcom Bida si Mister, Bida si Misis.

Critical and popular success

One of his greatest performances is the role of José Rizal, the Philippine National Hero, in the film José Rizal in 1998. The film, directed by critically acclaimed director Marilou Diaz-Abaya, is unprecedented for depicting Philippine society during Spanish colonization of the Philippines and its relevance up to the present day.

In 1999, he played the role of Fredo, the ruthless captain of 150 muro ami divers in Muro Ami, a film that depicts one of the worst forms of child labor in the illegal fishing industry.<ref name="muro"/> The film won thirteen awards at the 1999 Metro Manila Film Festival.<ref name="muro">Muro Ami www.geocities.com Retrieved 30 November 2006. </ref>

He is known as one of the Philippines' most versatile actors, he starred in various film genres such as drama, comedy and action. He is acclaimed to be the only Filipino actor to have starred and played the most number of historical and political roles in film, such as Chavit Singson, Francisco Dagohoy, Juan Pajota, Jose Rizal and Ninoy. His longest-running role is as "Ralph Palomeno", which started in the 1980's until 2008. He appeared in various films under the character name "Ralph Palomeno", a total of 14 roles.


Cesar Montano produced, directed and starred in the 2004 film Panaghoy sa Suba or The Call of the River. It features Filipino actors Juliana Palermo, Jackie Woo, Philip Anthony, Caridad Sanchez, Joel Torre, Daria Ramirez, Ronnie Lazaro, Suzette Ranillo, Rommel Montano, Dr. Warfe Engracia, Ramon Villanueva, Chelo Espina, Flora Gasser, Disi Alba and Rebecca Lusterio.<ref name="imdb">Panaghoy sa Suba(The Call of the River)2004www.imdb.com Retrieved 29 November 2006. </ref>

It is an epic story set during the American Occupation (1898-1942) and the Japanese Occupation (1942-1945), shot amidst the virgin splendor of the island province of Bohol, Philippines mostly along and around the Loboc River which plays a significant role in the story.<ref name="flash">Cesar Montano's not-so-impossible dream www.newsflash.org Retrieved 29 November 2006.</ref> It is a mixture of action, drama, romance, and history.

The film is Cesar Montano's directorial debut with an almost entirely Visayan cast, and perhaps the biggest film ever to be shot in its entirety in the Visayas. The film, intended for both national and international exhibition, boldly used Visayan as the main language <ref name="freeman"/> with English subtitles for the convenience of non-Visyans.

It was given an "A" rating by the Cinema Evaluation Board or CEB of the Film Development Council of the Philippines and was CM Films' entry to the 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival.<ref name="ceb"/>The CEB described Cesar Montano's direction as "meticulous but light-handed." It turned "a somewhat rambling and slow screenplay into a poetic, sometimes even magical, current of silent struggle and survival."<ref name="ceb">A-rating for 'Panaghoy sa Suba' www.inq7.net Retrieved 29 November 2006.</ref>

The Call of the River won multiple awards. It has bagged Second Best Picture (to Mano Po 3), Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Musical Score, Gatpuno Villegas Cultural Award at the Metro Manila Film Festival, 2004;<ref>And the winners are... www.abs-cbn.com Retrieved 30 November 2006. </ref> and Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress at Gawad Suri Awards, Manila, 2005.<ref>The Call of the River www.cinemaya.net Retrieved 30 November 2006.</ref>

Panaghoy sa Suba, which garnered 16 awards and 11 nominations <ref name="imdb"/> including 5 from the Metro Manila Film Festival, was also given an endorsement by the UNESCO.<ref name="freeman"> Panaghoy sa Suba www.thefreeman.com Retrieved 30 November 2006.</ref> It was named Best Picture at the International Festival of Independent Films held in Brussels, Belgium. Montano was also chosen Best Director.<ref>Two Pinoy films triumph at international film fests www.abs-cbnnews.com Retrieved 30 November 2006.</ref> In addition, Montano also won Best Actor in Panaghoy sa Suba in the Golden Screen Awards.<ref>Congrats sa mga Winners ng Golden Screen Awardswww.abs-cbn.com Retrieved 30 November 2006.</ref>

Panaghoy sa Suba was invited as an exhibition in the Tous les cinémas du Monde (Movies of the World) at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005.<ref>Panagahoy sa Suba (Call of the river) to Cannes Filmfestwww.newsflash.org Retrieved 30 November 2006.</ref><ref name="cannes"> Cesar Montano’s Panaghoy... to screen in Cannes filmfest www.filipinoreporter.com Retrieved 30 November 2006.</ref> It has also been invited for exhibition in other international film festivals in Berlin, Toronto, Tokyo, Korea and in the Czech Republic’s Karlo Vary Film Festival.<ref name="cannes"/>

Montano The Action Star Was He is Started Action Movie From Leonardo Delos Reyes: Alyas Waway (1993) Until Mananabas (2001) 8 Years Contract of Cesar Montano's Action Movie.


In 2005, American film director and screenwriter John Dahl cast Montano in The Great Raid after taking notice of Montano's performance in the movie Muro Ami. He played Juan Pajota in the Miramax Film set in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, Philippines in 1945 towards the end of WWII.<ref>The Great Raidwww.imdb.com Retrieved 30 November 2006.</ref> The director was impressed with the bald look Cesar sported in "Muro Ami". In addition, his intense performance in Marilou Diaz-Abaya's film was a determining factor for his being chosen to play Captain Pajota.<ref> Cesar Montano recounts 'The Great Raid' filming www.inq7.net Retrieved 30 November 2006. </ref> Only a few Filipino actors have penetrated the international film scene and enjoyed equal exposure with foreign stars.

Montano was cast in another U.S. film, Another Deep Breath, scheduled to start shooting in the San Francisco Bay Area in March 2005.<ref>Cesar Montano to star in another Hollywood moviewww.inq7.net Retrieved 30 November 2006.</ref> It will be the first film starring a Hollywood actress and a Filipino actor to be released by a major American distributor. David Maquiling, a Filipino-American filmmaker, is directing "Another Deep Breath". It also features a Filipino-Canadian actress, Jane McLean, who will play the wife of Montano's character. The story is described as "an intense love affair that crosses racial lines and threatens the marriage of Peter Materdo (Montano), a thirty-something Filipino American college professor, and endangers the career of Alison Turner (to be played by the Hollywood actress), a new teacher at the college and a former student of Peter's.


On 1 January 2000, Montano released his first music solo album entitled Subok Lang (Just Try) under Star Records.<ref>Subok langRetrieved 30 November 2006.</ref> While being famous as a Philippine action movie star, he is also known for singing acoustic ballads. Nine of the album's ten songs is accompanied only by an acoustic guitar, giving a quiet, mellow ambiance. He sings a duet on the second version Kailan Ko Lang Sinabi (When I Just Told You) with his wife, Sunshine Cruz, who is also a famous Filipino actress and recording artist. The spirited Ikaw Lang (Only You) is the only song to use other instruments besides the acoustic guitar, and drums and bass are also heard. Subok lang went on to become Platinum record. <ref name="hunk"/>

UNESCO Commissioner

On 19 May 2005, Cesar Montano was sworn in as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO Philippine commissioner for culture and the arts. <ref name="idol"/> This came as a surprise to most Filipinos because he is better known for his award-winning roles in critically acclaimed movies Rizal, Muro Ami than his principles and beliefs. Little is known of his tireless and thankless efforts to "promote" his home province, Bohol, where he and his family always spend Christmas. Whenever he can, Montano makes sure to put in a good word about this little paradise in central Philippines that there's hardly a Filipino who doesn't know yet of his Boholano heritage.<ref name="idol"/> His vocal support for Bohol and the preservation of its heritage and environment, he says, may have earned him the nomination to the UNESCO. <ref name="idol"/> But he did not seek the honor. Montano believes there is something to be proud of in every part of the country-the lovely landscape or delicacies or exotic catch from the sea. According the him:

Born and raised in Manila, Montano says he learned the importance of heritage preservation early on. He saw how people slowly forgot over the years the value of safeguarding tradition, culture, arts and heritage-the backbone Filipinos need to be able to stand proudly. To foster national pride, Montano believes parents must instill this value in their children. Character is first molded at home. <ref name="idol"/>

Political career

On Friday, 16 February 2007, Philippine Daily Inquirer in its Breaking News Section, bore the article title "Petilla out of TEAM Unity, actor Cesar Montano in". It wrote how Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, spokesman for the administration's TEAM Unity, confirmed that Leyte Governor Jericho Petilla is pulling out of the administration's TEAM Unity senatorial lineup and will be replaced by actor Cesar Montano. <ref name="senate"> Lira Dalangin-Fernandez"Petilla out of TEAM Unity, actor Cesar Montano in" Philippine Daily Inquirer Retrieved 16 February 2007. </ref>

The article further explained that in a text message to INQUIRER.net, Durano said Montano was chosen by Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) and by TEAM Unity itself. <ref name="senate"/> Presidential Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio said Montano was endorsed by Petilla himself because the actor was also a Visayan. Claudio said in a text message:<ref name="senate"/>

On 13 October 2009, he filed his candidacy for Governor in his home province Bohol.


Year Title Role Notes
2010 Biktima Mark De La Cruz Main Role
2010 MMK:Aquino Family Benigno Ninoy Aquino Jr Main Role
2009 Wowowee Himself Guest Co-Host
2008-2010 The Singing Bee Himself Host
2008 Palos Rafael Palomeno / Palos
2008 Pinoy Mano-Mano The Celebrity Boxing Challenge Himself host
2007 Asian Treasures Pancho Pistolero guest cast
2006 Ligalig MMFF Entry
2006 The Rootcutter tugshk pre-production
2006 Batang Maynila Ralph Clinton Palomeno Director
2006 Ang Pagbabalik ng Bituin: a mega celebration Himself performer
2005 Dagohoy Dagohoy / Jeremiah Roxas
2005 Balangiga Massacre Ralph Palomeno
2005 The Great Raid Guerilla Leader Captain Juan Pajota Miramax Films
2004 30th Metro Manila Film Festival-Philippines Awards Night Himself-awardee TV
2004 Panaghoy sa Suba (The Call of the River) Duroy actor, director, producer
2003 Chavit Singson Story Chavit Singson
2003 Bida si Mister, Bida si Misis Buboy Magtanggol / Sean Serrano
2002 Kapalaran Himself TV series
2001 Lakas Sambayanan (People Power) No data
2001 Bagong Buwan (aka New Moon) Ahmad Ibn Ismael
2001 Mananabas: Mga ligaw na talahib (aka The Reaper) No data Writer
2001 Alas dose Ralph Palomeno
2001 Baliktaran: Si Ace at si Angelique Ralph Palomeno
2001 Hostage Jimmy Pizarro Actor, Writer
1999 Muro Ami (aka Reef Hunters) Fredo
1999 Bullet Bullet actor, line producer (Viva films)
1999 Type kita, walang kokontra Victor Star Cinema with John Regala and Dayanara Torres, directed by Toto Natividad
1999 Kaya ni Mister, Kaya ni Misis Buboy Magtanggol TV series with Maricel Soriano
1998 José Rizal José Rizal
1998 Warfreak: Walang sinasanto, walang pinapatawad (Warfreak) No data
1998 Alyas Boy Tigas: Ang probinsyanong wais Boy Tigas
1998 Kasangga Kahit Kailan Ralph Palomeno
1997 Sanggano Diego
1997 Wala nang iibigin pa Ralph Palomeno
1997 Kadre Ka Ruben
1997 Batas ko'y bala Ralph Palomeno
1997 Pusakal Ralph Palomeno
1996 Bilang na ang araw mo Raphael Villegas
1996 Kung kaya mo, kaya ko rin Mac
1996 Utol Jaime
1995 The Lilian Velez Story Narding Anzures
1995 Silakbo Andy
1995 Asero Victor
1995 Manalo, matalo, mahal kita Jack
1994 Talahib at Rosas Jacob
1993 Antipolo Massacre Winifredo Masagca
1993 Markadong Hudas Daniel Braganza
1993 Alyas Waway Leonardo delos Reyes/Waway Moviestars Production
1993 Ikaw lang Alfred Moviestars Production
1992 Eh! Kasi Bata Glen
1992 Sumayaw Ka Salome Anton
1992 Hiram na Mukha Julio
1991 Kapag nag-abot ang langit at lupa Hamil
1990 Ganito Ba Ang Umibig? Armand
1990 Hindi Laruan ang Puso Mark
1990 Machete: Istatwang buhay Machete
1989 Ako ang batas: General Karingal Lt. Reyes
1989 Sagot ng Puso Efren
1989 Kasalanan ang buhayin ka Jimie
1989 Bihagin ang dalagang ito Hector
1989 Kokak Ralph Palomeno
1989 Lihim ng Golden Buddha No data
1989 Ang bukas ay akin Predo
1988 Puso sa puso Noel
1983 Broken Marriage Ralph Palomeno
1982 Relasyon Ralph Palomeno
1982 Annabelle Huggins Story Ralph Palomeno
1981 Four the Boys TV Series
1981 Waway<ref name="hunk"> From Hunk to hero to hollywoodwww.inq7.net Retrieved 30 November 2006.</ref> Waway
1981 Agos <ref name="hunk"/> No data with Gretchen Barreto
1980 Regal Shocker<ref name="hunk"/> No data
Pinoy Thriller<ref name="hunk"/> No data
1979 The Maricel Soriano Drama Special<ref name="hunk"/> No data

<ref name="imdb"/>


Albums and singles

Album information
Subok lang (Just try)
  • Released: 1 January 2000 (Philippines) Star Records
  • Chart positions:
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • P.I. Sales:
  • Worldwide sales:
  • Singles:
    • 2000: "Sana Dumating Ka Na" (I Hope You Come Soon)
    • 2000: "Sa Pagpatak NG Ulan" (When the Rain Drops)
    • 2000: "Kailan Ko Lang Sinabi" (When I Just Told You)
    • 2000: "All My Life"
    • 2000: "Ikaw Lang "(Only You)
    • 2000: "Subok Lang" (Just Try)
    • 2000: "Lumayo Ka Man Sa Akin" (Even If You Leave Me)
    • 2000: "Magic of Love"
    • 2000: "Kailan Ko Lang Sinabi" (When I Just Told You)
    • 2000: "Ikaw Pa Rin" (Still You)



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External links

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