Shares insights about Rizal film
By Danilo V. Rogayan Jr.
Screen actor Cesar Montano keynotes the 49th National Rizal Youth Leadership Institute (NRYLI) Conference held at Benitez Hall, Teachers Camp, Baguio City, December 11.
“It’s not what you can do; it’s what you will do.”
These were the challenging words of screen actor Cesar Montano, to the 561 delegates of the 49th National Rizal Youth Leadership Institute (NRYLI) Conference during his keynote speech at Benitez Hall, Teachers Camp, Baguio City, December 11.
Montano inspired the delegations coming from the different parts of the archipelago about his unforgettable characterization of the national hero in the monumental film Rizal and imparted them how one’s skills can be used to bring to light the values and the teachings of Dr. Jose Rizal.
“It’s a great privilege to be part of this conference [NRYLI]. It’s good to see young leaders here who are tasked to uplift our country,” Montano, who is also a member of the Order of the Knights of Rizal (OKoR) with the rank of Knight Commander of Rizal (KCR), said in Filipino.
The multi-awarded movie actor’s keynote speech focused on the use of skills and talents in proliferating the idealism and teachings of the national hero.
Who is Cesar Montano?
A son of a Boholano and an Ilongga, Buboy shared his inspiring life story to the participants before he became a famous screen actor, film director/producer, TV host/personality, theater/stage actor, singer/performer, product endorser and film industry crusader.
“Make life difficult to your children and you make life easier for them,” said Buboy recalling the greatest principle he learned from his father.
He narrated to the participants how his father taught him about life that made him earn his own money at a young age by selling newspaper in Sta. Ana, Manila.
“There are only two kinds of people, those who are hard-working and those who are indolent,” Buboy said, “if you were born poor that’s not a crime but if you died poor, that’s a crime.”
He believed that “we are the gatekeepers of our faith, of our destiny” and if we desire to use our education and to use our mind, our future will surely be good.
As Rizal film lead actor
When asked why he was chosen to play the lead role in the film Rizal, Montano quipped that it is a gift to him as an actor.
“I think it’s a wonderful gift playing the lead role. It is a film where you can get to know the teachings of Rizal. And even Cesar Montano dies, he will be remembered through this film,” said Buboy during the opening forum after his keynote speech.
He likewise shared his experiences and the preparations he had done in doing the Marilou Diaz-Abaya film.
Buboy recalled that the script of Rizal film was collaboratively written by the director, staff, screen writers and actors after having meetings thrice a week in the director’s house where one will read a book and share it.
He said that the reading and sharing sessions started every 1:00 pm and finished 5:00 am the next day.
“We really had a deep study about Rizal. Prior to the film, I had no knowledge about the Spanish language. What I only knew is the Spanish sardine,” said Montano that made the delegates laughed.
He told that in the shooting set they have to speak in Spanish at all times.
When the role was given to him, he said that he gathered all the photographs of the national hero and posted these in every corners of their house.
Buboy likewise tuned all their televisions in Spanish channels and even read 15 Rizal and Philippine History books which he all personally bought to really internalize the role in himself.
“Sa lahat po ng kahirapan, nandyan po ang tagumpay at kaligayahan dapat hindi po tayo natatakot because comfort destroys usefulness,” the Rizal lead actor emphasized.
Rizal in Buboy’s life
“Rizal is simple. Rizal is not afraid to sacrifice,” said Montano when asked how he would describe the national hero.
Buboy also shared his readings he got from “Rizal with an Overcoat,” a book written by his friend Ambeth Ocampo wherein he narrated that Rizal values every single cent and every detail.
“Mathematics is important to Pepe. Pag sinabi pong math, ang sasabihin natin mahirap yan. Why do we need to be scared of things we don’t like? It’s just a matter of approach,” said the keynote speaker.
He also said that Rizal believed with aptitude inclination and challenged the participants to examine their respective skill and capacity.
“I believe that God gave us special place, special talent. We have a perfect God and everything he does is perfect,” Montano said. “We are talented, we are creative and we are valuable.”
Like Rizal, he believes that no negative experience can stop one from achieving ones goals.
“Si Rizal ay tunay na dakila sapagkat hindi niya inisip ang kanyang sarili, inisip niya ang kapakanan ng mga kabataan,” the screen actor stressed.
Buboy also said that he shares the same belief with Rizal when it comes to education.
“We can never neglect education. Education is a strong weapon we can use and this should be shared,” he said.
Montano said that he will not stop from producing valuable films to advocate Rizal’s life and ideologies and to continue the edicts of Rizalism.
“Naniniwala po ako na tayong makabagong Pepe, nasa ating mga kamay ang pag-asa ng bayan,” he said.
Advocacies and affiliations
Montano advocates for different sectors of the society including moral recovery program of the PNP, anti-smoking campaign of the DOH, fellow artists’ welfare, ideals of Filipino directors, basic education of poor children in Bohol through Panaghoy Foundation, Inc., and campaign to end violence against women.
He is a member of Dulaang UP, Actors Guild of the Philippines, Directors Guild of the Philippines, Health Education Reform Order (HERO), Rotary Club and Philippine Arts Central.
In recognition of his well-rounded capability and his consistent track record of achievements, he was called upon to serve the government in various capacities.
He is an Ambassador Extraordinaire and Plenipotentiary; Special Envoy for Art, Culture and Film-Digital, UNESCO Commissioner; and President/CEO of Panaghoy Children’s Foundation, Inc.
He completed two courses both from the Lyceum of the Philippines including Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications – Broadcasting.
Editor’s Note: This article was published in The Leader, the Official Publication of the National Rizal Youth Leadership Institute (NRYLI) Conference, Vol. 1 No. 1. December 10-14, 2011.