Cesar Montano

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Cesar Montano
Cesar Montano.jpg
Born Cesar Manhilot
(1962-08-01) August 1, 1962 (age 52)
Manila, Philippines
Occupation Actor, Film Director
Years active 1981–present
Spouse(s) Marilyn Polinga
Sunshine Cruz
(m. 2000–2013; annulled)

Cesar Manhilot,[1] (born August 1, 1962) known by his screen name Cesar Montano, is a multi-awarded Filipino actor and film director.

He started in show business as a commercial model.[2] He played roles in numerous B movies. He then played major roles in several action movies and a brief television career playing the lead role in the television sitcom Kaya ni Mister, Kaya ni Misis.

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 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 which was never actually shot.

In May 2007, he unsuccessfully ran for senate under the coalition Team Unity (TU). GMA news reported that he lost about P40 million worth of endorsement for running in public office.[citation needed]

On July 13, 2010 Montano officially became a contract artist of GMA Network after signing a two-year exclusive contract with the said network.[3]

In 2012, he left GMA 7 for TV5's Artista Academy.

Biography and career[edit]

Montano, known by his nickname Buboy Jakolero, 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.

Early work[edit]

Montano started acting in his senior year in college in 1984 and took acting workshops with Joel Lamangan and Imee Marcos. He landed the role of elevator boy in "Estremenggoles." TV and movie roles followed: "Agos" with Gretchen Barretto, the Pinoy Thriller, "Regal Shocker", and the "Maricel Soriano Drama Special".

Montano acted in Dulaang University of the Philippines stage productions. He was an active member of UP Playwright under the direction of Tony Mabesa.[4]

His first movie careers were as a stuntman.[citation needed] In his early career, he played major roles in several action movies like "Sanggano" and the TV role of Buboy Magtanggol in the sitcom Bida si Mister, Bida si Misis.

Montano's was first action movie of Toto Natividad's Film Leonardo Delos Reyes: Alyas Waway (1993), Utol (1996), Bilang na ang Araw mo (1996), Pusakal (1997), Sanggano (1997), Kasangga Kahit Kelan (1998), Warfreak (1998), and Type Kita Walang Kokontra (1999).

He played the role of José Rizal in the film José Rizal in 1998. 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.[5] The film won thirteen awards at the 1999 Metro Manila Film Festival.[5][unreliable source?]

He starred in various film genres such as drama, comedy and action. 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.[4]

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.[6] 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 [7] 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.[8] 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."[8]

The Call of the River won multiple awards. It collected Second Best Picture (to Mano Po 3), Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Musical Score and the Gatpuno Villegas Cultural Award at the Metro Manila Film Festival, 2004;[9] and Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress at Gawad Suri Awards, Manila, 2005.[10]

Panaghoy sa Suba, which garnered 16 awards and 11 nominations [4] including 5 from the Metro Manila Film Festival, was also given an endorsement by the UNESCO.[7] It was named Best Picture at the International Festival of Independent Films held in Brussels, Belgium. Montano was also chosen Best Director.[11] In addition, Montano also won Best Actor in Panaghoy sa Suba in the Golden Screen Awards.[12]

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.[13][14] 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.[14]

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 2002, 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 as well as an extensive open call audition and series of callbacks in Manila. He played Juan Pajota in the Miramax Film set in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, Philippines in 1945 towards the end of WWII, however the film itself was shot mostly in Australia and partly in China.[15] 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.[16] Only a few Filipino actors have penetrated the international film scene and enjoyed equal exposure with foreign stars. Manila press releases around the time when the film was shown in the Philippines announced that the actor had been signed on to do 3 more Hollywood films, none of which have materialized since.

Montano was cast in another U.S. film, Another Deep Breath, scheduled to start shooting in the San Francisco Bay Area in March 2005.[17] Funding was never secured so the production never started shooting.


On 1 January 2000, Montano released his first music solo album entitled Subok Lang (Just Try) under Star Records.[18] 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 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.[19]

UNESCO Commissioner[edit]

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.[20] 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.[20] His vocal support for Bohol and the preservation of its heritage and environment, he says, may have earned him the nomination to the UNESCO.[20] 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.[20]

Political career[edit]

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.[21]

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.[21] 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:[21]

On 13 October 2009, he filed his candidacy for Governor in his home province Bohol. He lost the 2010 local election for the Governor position.[22]

Transfer to GMA Network[edit]

After years of portraying Jose Rizal from GMA Films, he returned to GMA Network and signed one-year exclusive contract in 2010. His first TV series in the said network was Ilumina. He then starred with his wife in Puso ng Pasko: Artista Challenge. His current TV project is Andres de Saya with his new leading lady, Iza Calzado, this is his first sitcom under GMA Network. Now he is back to the network with his latest night show, Akin Pa rin Ang Bukas. \

Transfer to TV5[edit]

In 2012, Montano was named as a new host of reality based search Artista Academy along with fellow ex-GMA and ABS-CBN contract actor Marvin Agustin. In the same year, Montano was portrayed Andres Bonifacio for ER Ejercito's El Presidente. In 2013 he join the cast of newest TV5 teleserye Never Say Goodbye along with Vin Abrenica, Sophie Albert and also Nora Aunor.

Personal life[edit]

Cesar Montano and wife Sunshine Cruz' haven (2.5-hectare rest house in Pandi, Bulacan, they acquired 8 years ago).[2].

He is the fifth of seven children born to a lawyer father and Seventh-day Adventist 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".[19]

Montano went to the Sta. Ana Elementary School, Mariano Marcos Memorial High School and finished Engineering at Lyceum of the Philippines University in Intramuros, Manila. 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, but Montano attended before at the Bread of Life Ministries International, evangelical church in Quezon City, and now in Christ's Commission Fellowship in Mandaluyong City, together with his wife, Sunshine Cruz and his children. Their two children, Angela and Angelo, grew up with his late wife Marilyn when they separated as a couple. When his wife died of a brain tumor in 1993, the children moved back in with him. His other son, Carlos Diego, lives with his mother, Filipino actress Teresa Loyzaga, in Australia, and has recently signed to a three-year exclusive contract with the Philippines TV network, ABS-CBN.[23][24][25]

Montano married Philippine actress Sunshine Cruz on September 14, 2000 in a set of Christian wedding.[26] They have three daughters, Angeline Isabelle, Samantha Angeline and Angel Francheska[20]

His second child from first wife, Christian Angelo Manhilot, died at the age of 23 on March 26, 2010 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at their residence in Quezon City.[27]

Now, Cesar is dating Sandra Seifert, former Miss Earth Philippines 2009 and 1st runner up Miss Earth Air 2009 in the international pageant.

Aside from his Bulacan farm,[28][29] he also owns an Italian restaurant located in Quezon City.[30]

He was filed for annulment of marriage Sunshine Cruz and annulment was finally granted on August 26, 2013.


Year Title Main Role Notes
2015 Kid Kulafu Sardo (Star Cinema)
2014 The Ryzza Mae Show Himself Guest (GMA Network)
2013 Akin Pa Rin Ang Bukas Conrad Alperos GMA Network
2013 Alfredo S. Lim: The Untold Stories Alfredo S. Lim CM Films Productions and Viva Films
2013 Never Say Goodbye Javier Montecastro TV5
2012 El Presidente Andres Bonifacio y de Castro VIVA Films, CMB Film, Scenema Concept Int.
2012 Biktima Mark de la Cruz Alba Productions and Star Cinema
2012 Gandang Gabi, Vice! Guest ABS-CBN
2012 Hitman Ben Viva Films & CM Films (Cesar Montano's Comeback Action Movie)
2012 Artista Academy Himself/Host TV5
2011 Andres de Saya Andres Taguyod (GMA Network)
2010 Puso ng Pasko: Artista Challenge Challenger (GMA Network)
2010 Ilumina Romano Sebastian (GMA Network)
2010 Hole in The Wall Guest Host (GMA Network)
2009 Wowowee Himself Guest Co-Host (ABS-CBN)
2008–2010 The Singing Bee Host Host (ABS-CBN)
2008 Palos Fabio Cassimir / Palos Main Role (ABS-CBN)
2008 Pinoy Mano-Mano The Celebrity Boxing Challenge Himself host (ABS-CBN)
2007 Asian Treasures Pancho Pistolero guest cast (GMA Network)
2006 Ligalig MMFF Entry
2006 The Rootcutter tugshk pre-production
2006 Batang Maynila Director
2006 Ang Pagbabalik ng Bituin: a mega celebration Himself performer
2005 Dagohoy Dagohoy / Jeremiah Roxas
2005 Balangiga Massacre
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 Titus (Viva Films) Directed by: Augusto Salvador and Cesar Montano
2001 Larawan  ???? (TV Mini Series) GMA Network
2001 Baliktaran: Si Ace at si Angelique Cameo
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 (Released Date: 27 January 1999)
1999 Kaya ni Mister, Kaya ni Misis Buboy Magtanggol TV series with Maricel Soriano (ABS-CBN)
1998 José Rizal José Rizal
1998 Warfreak: Walang sinasanto, walang pinapatawad (Warfreak) Jack Llamas Neo Films (Released Date: 25 November 1998) (Directed by: Augusto Salvador and Toto Natividad)
1998 Alyas Boy Tigas: Ang probinsyanong wais Cameo
1998 Kasangga Kahit Kailan Bardo Santa Mesa/Benjie Borres Neo Films (Released Date: 22 July 1998) (Directed by: Toto Natividad)
1997 Sanggano Diego Viva Films and Octoarts Films (Released Date: 26 November 1997) (Directed by: Toto Natividad)
1997 Wala nang iibigin pa Daniel Viva Films (Directed by: Toto Natividad)
1997 Kadre Ruben Torres Premiere Productions (Released Date: 22 October 1997)
1997 Pusakal King Rustia Solar Films (Released Date: 4 June 1997)
1997 Batas ko'y bala Guiller Mega Vision Films (Released Date: 11 September 1996)
1996 Bilang na ang araw mo Raphael Villegas Neo Films (Released Date: 12 June 1996) (Directed by: Toto Natividad)
1996 Kung kaya mo, kaya ko rin Mac
1996 Utol Jaime Cordero Star Cinema Productions Inc. (Released Date: 24 April 1996)
1995 The Lilian Velez Story Narding Anzures
1995 Silakbo Andy
1995 Asero film 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 (Released Date: 13 October 1993) (Directed by: Toto Natividad)
1993 Ikaw lang Alfred Moviestars Production (Released Date: 25 August 1993)
1992 Eh! Kasi Bata Glen
1992 Sumayaw Ka Salome Anton
1992 Hiram na Mukha Julio
1991 Kapag nag-abot ang langit at lupa Hamil
1991 Ganito Ba Ang Umibig? Armand
1991 Mainit, masarap... parang kaning isusubo
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
1985 Hinugot Sa Langit Cesar
1983 Broken Marriage Ralph Palomeno
1982 Relasyon
1982 Ang Tapang Para sa Lahat! Young Alex
1982 Annabelle Huggins Story
1981 Waway[19] Waway
1981 Agos [19] No data with Gretchen Barreto
1980 Regal Shocker[19] No data
Itak[19] No data
1979 The Maricel Soriano Drama Special[19] No data



Albums and singles[edit]

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)


Year Award Given Body Category Work Result
1989 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Supporting Actor Ang Bukas ay Akin[31] Won
1998 Best Actor Jose Rizal[32][32] Won
2001 Bagong Buwan[33] Won
2004 Best Director Panaghoy sa Suba [32][34][34][35] Won
2004 Film Academy of the Philippines Awards (FAP) Won
Gawad Urian Awards Best Actor Won
Best Director Won
Brussels International Film Festival Best Actor Won
2006 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Actor Ligalig[36] Won
2012 Best Supporting Actor El Presidente[37] Won


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Biography www.tv.com Retrieved 29 November 2006.
  3. ^ "Transfer to GMA7"
  4. ^ a b c d Cesar Montano Mini biography www.imdb.com Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  5. ^ a b Muro Ami www.geocities.com Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  6. ^ Cesar Montano's not-so-impossible dream www.newsflash.org Retrieved 29 November 2006.
  7. ^ a b Panaghoy sa Suba www.thefreeman.com Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  8. ^ a b A-rating for 'Panaghoy sa Suba' www.inq7.net Retrieved 29 November 2006.
  9. ^ And the winners are... www.abs-cbn.com Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  10. ^ The Call of the River www.cinemaya.net Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  11. ^ Two Pinoy films triumph at international film fests www.abs-cbnnews.com Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  12. ^ Congrats sa mga Winners ng Golden Screen Awards www.abs-cbn.com Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  13. ^ Panagahoy sa Suba (Call of the river) to Cannes Filmfest www.newsflash.org Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  14. ^ a b Cesar Montano’s Panaghoy... to screen in Cannes filmfest www.filipinoreporter.com Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  15. ^ The Great Raid www.imdb.com Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  16. ^ Cesar Montano recounts 'The Great Raid' filming www.inq7.net Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  17. ^ Cesar Montano to star in another Hollywood movie www.inq7.net Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  18. ^ Subok lang Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g From Hunk to hero to hollywood www.inq7.net Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  20. ^ a b c d e Cesar Montano: "the true idol ng bayan"
  21. ^ a b c Lira Dalangin-Fernandez "Petilla out of TEAM Unity, actor Cesar Montano in" Philippine Daily Inquirer Retrieved 16 February 2007.
  22. ^ http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/257011/cesar-montano-automated-election-process-it-could-ve-been-better
  23. ^ Franco, Bernie (2011-03-09). "Showbiz newbie Carlos Diego Loyzaga joins ‘Mara Clara’". Push.com.ph. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  24. ^ "Cesar Montano's son signs contract with ABS-CBN". ABS-CBN NEWS. 13 March 2011. Retrieved April 14, 2011. 
  25. ^ Rowena Joy A. Sanchez (13 March 2011). "Cesar Montano's son ventures into showbiz". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved April 14, 2011. 
  26. ^ Cesar and Sunshine: Sunset Nuptials
  27. ^ "Cesar's son committed suicide"
  28. ^ "Bulacan Farm Article 1"
  29. ^ "Bulacan Farm Article 2"
  30. ^ "Bellisimo Restaurant"
  31. ^ "Metro Manila Film Festival:1989". IMDB. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  32. ^ a b c Award-Winning Movies MMFF Regal Films Retrieved 29 January 2007.
  33. ^ "Metro Manila Film Festival:2001". IMDB. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  34. ^ a b Panaghoy sa Suba Awards www.imdb.com Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  35. ^ Cesar Montano wins film award in Brussels www.boholchronicle.com Retrieved 29 November 2006.
  36. ^ "Metro Manila Film Festival:2006". IMDB. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  37. ^ "Metro Manila Film Festival:2012". IMDB. Retrieved 2014-04-09.

External links[edit]