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Cesar Montano

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Cesar Montano
2016 Cesar Montano as COO of TPB.jpg
Montano in 2016 as COO of the Tourism Promotions Board
Born Cesar Manhilot
(1962-08-01) August 1, 1962 (age 56)
Manila, Philippines
Occupation Actor, Film producer, Film director, Game show host, Part-time musician
Years active 1981–present
Spouse(s) Sunshine Cruz
(m. 2000–2013; annulled)
Marilyn Polinga
(until her death in 1993)

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

Montano 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. 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.

Montano has won numerous acting awards in 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.

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. Montano also lost the 2010 Gubernatorial race in his home province of Bohol.

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.

In 2016, Montano was running as the 2nd nominee of Aangat Tayo party-list in the 2016 national elections, but subsequently lost. In the same year, he was appointed by Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo as the Chief Operation Officer of the Tourism Promotions Board.[4]

Biography and career[edit]

Montano, known by his nickname Buboy, was born and raised in Sta. Ana, Manila, Philippines. His paternal side traces its roots to the Manhilots of Baclayon, a town in Bohol.[citation needed]

Early work[edit]

Montano acted in stage productions at the University of the Philippines. He worked as a stuntman early in his career.[5]

Montano's first action movie, directed by Toto Natividad, is Leonardo Delos Reyes: Alyas Waway (1993). The two latter collaborated on such movies as Utol (1996), Biláng na ang Araw mo (1996), Pusakal (1997), Sanggano (1997), Kasangga Kahit Kelan (1998), Warfreak (1998), and Type Kita Walang Kokontra (1999).

He played national hero José Rizal in the historical biopic José Rizal in 1998. In 1999 film Muro Ami, he played Fredo, the boss of child laborers in the illegal fishing industry.[6] The film won thirteen awards at the 1999 Metro Manila Film Festival.[6]


Montano produced, directed and starred in the 2004 film Panaghoy sa Suba. 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. The film is set during World War II, and the story takes place mostly along the Loboc River in Bohol.[7] The film was Montano's directorial debut. It was filmed mostly in the Visayan language with an almost exclusively Visayan cast.[8] t 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.[9] The CEB described the film as "a poetic, sometimes even magical, current of silent struggle and survival."[9]

The Call of the River won multiple awards. It collected Second Best Picture (to Mano Po III: My Love), 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;[10] and Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress at Gawad Suri Awards, Manila, 2005.[11]

Panaghoy sa Suba, which garnered 16 awards and 11 nominations including 5 from the Metro Manila Film Festival, was also given an endorsement by the UNESCO.[8] It was named Best Picture at the International Festival of Independent Films held in Brussels, Belgium. Montano was also chosen Best Director.[12] In addition, Montano also won Best Actor in Panaghoy sa Suba in the Golden Screen Awards.[13]

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.[14][15] 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.[15]


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 during World War II. The film was shot mostly in Australia and partly in China.[16]

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.[citation needed]

Music career[edit]

On 1 January 2000, Montano released his first music solo album entitled "Subok Lang" (Just Try) under Star Records.[18] On nine of the album's ten songs he is accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. 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. Subok lang went on to become Platinum record.[19]

Political career[edit]

Cesar Montano ran for a senate position under the Lakas Partylist in the 2007 elections and lost.[20] On May 19, 2009, he was appointed by then-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as her Presidential Special Envoy for Film and Digital Cinema, a newly-created position accorded ambassador rank and given diplomatic status by the Department of Foreign Affairs.[21][22] He then again attempted to be involved in politics on October 13, 2009 when he filed his candidacy for Governor in his home province Bohol. He lost the 2010 local election for the Governor position.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Cesar Montano and wife Sunshine Cruz' 2.5-hectare rest house in Pandi, Bulacan.[1].

Montano is fluent in both Tagalog and Cebuano, and speaks his ancestral Boholano dialect. He is the fifth of seven children born to a lawyer father and mother that belonged to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Montano describes his father as a strict disciplinarian, and his mother imposing her religion's prohibitions against pork and movies.[19]

Montano attended Sta. Ana Elementary School and Mariano Marcos Memorial High School, finishing Mass Communication at Lyceum of the Philippines University in Intramuros, Manila.[citation needed]

Montano was first married to Marilyn Polinga, a fellow Boholano he met at a local Seventh-day Adventist church. Montano then worshipped at the Bread of Life Ministries International evangelical church in Quezon City, before becoming a congregant at Christ's Commission Fellowship in Mandaluyong together with his second wife, Sunshine Cruz, and his children. Polinga, with whom he had two children, died in 1993. Their second child, Christian Angelo Manhilot, died at the age of 23 on March 26, 2010 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at their house in Quezon City.[24]

His son with actress Teresa Loyzaga, Carlos Diego, lived with his mother in Australia, and has returned to the Philippines as an exclusive contract actor with ABS-CBN.[25][26][27]

Montano married Sunshine Cruz on September 14, 2000 in a Christian wedding.[28] They have three daughters, Angeline Isabelle, Samantha Angeline and Angel Francheska[29] He filed for annulment of marriage with Cruz, which was finally granted on August 26, 2013.[citation needed]

Aside from his farm in Pandi, Bulacan,[30][31] Montano also owns an Italian restaurant located in Quezon City.[32]

Cesar Montano has rejoined the Seventh-day Adventist Church.[33][34][35]


Year Title Main Role Notes
2017 Carlo J. Caparas Ang Panday Police C/Supt. Erwin Rivera CCM Film Productions, Viva Films & Star Cinema Films
2016 FPJ's Ang Probinsyano Hector Mercurio ABS-CBN
2016 Bakit Manipis ang Ulap? Leo Cabrera TV5
2015 Nilalang Tony (Haunted Tower Pictures, WeLovePost, Parallax Studios & Viva Films)
2015 Kid Kulafu Sardo (Star Cinema)
2014 ASOP Music Festival Himself Composer (UNTV News and Rescue)
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)
2008 Urduja Limhang (voice only) APT Entertainment, Seventoon and Imaginary Friends
2007 Asian Treasures Pancho Pistolero guest cast (GMA Network)
2006 Ligalig MMFF Entry
2006 The Rootcutter pre-production
2006 Batang Maynila Director
2006 Ang Pagbabalik ng Bituin: A Mega cClebration 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
2002 Lakas Sambayanan (People Power)[36] Documentary
2001 Bagong Buwan (aka New Moon) Ahmad Ibn Ismael
2001 Mananabas: Mga ligaw na talahib (aka The Reaper) 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 Mega Vision Films (Release 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 Victor Asero
1995 Manalo, matalo, mahal kita Jack
1994 Talahib at Rosas Jacob
1994 The Cecilia Masagca Story: Antipolo Massacre (Jesus Save Us!) Winifredo Masagca Viva Films
1993 Markadong Hudas Daniel Braganza
1993 Alyas Waway Leonardo "Waway" delos Reyes 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 Leo
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
1989 Ang bukas ay akin Predo
1988 Puso sa puso Noel
1985 Hinugot Sa Langit Cesar
1984 Working Girls Office Bully tormenting the character portrayed by Rio Locsin
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] with Gretchen Barreto
1980 Regal Shocker[19]
1980 Itak[19]
1979 The Maricel Soriano Drama Special[19]


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 Won
1998 Best Actor Jose Rizal[37][37] Won
2001 Bagong Buwan[38] Won
2004 Best Director Panaghoy sa Suba [37][39] 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 Won
2012 Best Supporting Actor El Presidente Won


  1. ^ The Philippine Star
  2. ^ Biography Archived February 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 29 November 2006.
  3. ^ "Transfer to GMA7" Archived July 22, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Cesar Montano to head Tourism Promotions Board". ABS-CBN News. December 6, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Cesar Montano: Biography". Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Muro Ami[unreliable source?] Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  7. ^ "Cesar Montano's not-so-impossible dream". Archived from the original on 1 January 2006. 
  8. ^ a b Panaghoy sa Suba Retrieved 30 November 2006. Archived November 30, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ a b "A-rating for 'Panaghoy sa Suba'". Archived from the original on 12 November 2005. 
  10. ^ And the winners are... Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  11. ^ The Call of the River Archived 2008-01-12 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  12. ^ Two Pinoy films triumph at international film fests Archived 2006-04-26 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  13. ^ Congrats sa mga Winners ng Golden Screen Awards Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  14. ^ Panagahoy sa Suba (Call of the river) to Cannes Filmfest Archived 2006-12-14 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  15. ^ a b Cesar Montano’s Panaghoy... to screen in Cannes filmfest Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  16. ^ The Great Raid Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  17. ^ Cesar Montano to star in another Hollywood movie Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  18. ^ Subok lang[permanent dead link] Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g From Hunk to hero to hollywood Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  20. ^ Retrieved February 9, 2017.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ Chiu, Rey Anthony (5 June 2009). "PGMA names Montano envoy for film, camera". Philippine Information Agency. Retrieved 3 May 2018. 
  22. ^ Sy, Marvin (4 June 2009). "Cesar Montano named special film envoy". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 3 May 2018. 
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  24. ^ "Cesar's son committed suicide"
  25. ^ Franco, Bernie (2011-03-09). "Showbiz newbie Carlos Diego Loyzaga joins 'Mara Clara'". Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  26. ^ "Cesar Montano's son signs contract with ABS-CBN". ABS-CBN NEWS. 13 March 2011. Retrieved April 14, 2011. 
  27. ^ Rowena Joy A. Sanchez (13 March 2011). "Cesar Montano's son ventures into showbiz". Manila Bulletin. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012. Retrieved April 14, 2011. 
  28. ^ Cesar and Sunshine: Sunset Nuptials
  29. ^ Cesar Montano: "the true idol ng bayan"
  30. ^ "Bulacan Farm Article 1" Archived August 9, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  31. ^ "Bulacan Farm Article 2" Archived April 13, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  32. ^ "Bellisimo Restaurant" Archived August 11, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  33. ^ Cesar Montano Converted into SDA Retrieved August 17, 2018
  34. ^ Cesar Montano Conversion Story Retrieved August 17, 2018
  35. ^ Cesar Montano testimony during Hope Baybay 2014 Retrieved August 17, 2018
  36. ^
  37. ^ a b c Award-Winning Movies MMFF[permanent dead link] Regal Films Retrieved 29 January 2007.
  38. ^ "Metro Manila Film Festival:2001". IMDB. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  39. ^ Cesar Montano wins film award in Brussels Archived 2016-01-13 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 29 November 2006.

External links[edit]