On May 19, 2005, Cesar Montano was sworn in as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO Philippine commissioner for culture and the arts. 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. His vocal support for Bohol and the preservation of its heritage and environment, he says, may have earned him the nomination to the UNESCO. 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 to him:
“Kahit hindi nila ako gawing ambassador, promoting Bohol is my heart’s desire. With my appointment, makakatulong ako to get sponsors for our projects from the products that I endorse.”
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.