[Cesar Montano and Sunshine Cruz: Estranged but in friendly terms]

MANILA, JUNE 17, 2013 (PHILSTAR) FUNFARE By Ricky Lo - As the world celebrates Father’s Day tomorrow, June 16, Cesar Montano is hopeful that sooner than later, he and estranged wife Sunshine Cruz are able to iron out the kinks in their marriage (yes, they still are…legally!) and get back together again. Just like old times, you know.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things will turn out well,” admitted Cesar during an exclusive interview with Funfare yesterday before he signed up with GMA for a soap that will be directed by Laurice Guillen and also star Lovi Poe and Rocco Nacino. “Sana nga maayos na ang lahat.”

Cesar and Sunshine have been living apart for several months now, with their three daughters (Samantha, Isabelle and Francheska) in Sunshine’s care, after Cesar was linked to a starlet who appeared with him in the Alfredo Lim biopic (a rumor that Cesar vehemently denied but which Sunshine obviously believed). Since then, Sunshine has resumed her rudely-interrupted career by accepting a mother role in the ABS-CBN action-drama series Dugong Buhay and posing semi-sexy (her second such outing) for the cover of FHM magazine.

“Honestly speaking,” confirmed Cesar, “we are in the process of healing, putting things back together. Of course, we have to be optimistic rather than to be skeptic,” adding as an afterthought, “for the kids.”

Those close to the un-couple are sure that Cesar and Sunshine are still in love with each other, Cesar agreed, “I’m still very much in love with her. Needless to say, excuse me if I sound over-acting, she’s irreplaceable,” adding half in jest, “every time I wake up in the morning and the sun is shining brightly, I remember her. In fact, I remember her even when the sun is hiding behind thick clouds.”

Although separated, Cesar and Sunshine are “text mates,” regularly communicating with each other.

What do they usually talk (text) about?

“About the kids,” Cesar smiled.

They get back together, especially during special occasions, such as Mother’s Day which they celebrated with their children — just like old times, you know.

And how often does Cesar see the kids?

“As often as possible,” adding, “mamaya lang, magkakasama kami with their mom. Manonood kaming apat.”

Tomorrow, Cesar said he would definitely treat the kids to a dinner, hopefully with Sunshine.

“She is busy with taping and if she’s free,” Cesar wished, “hallelujah!” Usually, they would celebrate special events by having lunch or dinner together and then watch a movie.

After dinner, father and daughters plan to go swimming.

“That’s what my girls want, mga outdoor activities,” said Cesar who is, uhm, somewhat of a spoiler. “I’m a practical kind of father. When I was a kid growing up in Sta. Ana, I and my playmates would play in the streets when it rained and throw mud at each other. I want to share that experience with my kids. And how they enjoy it! Sabi ko, hindi na pala kailangan bumili ng mamahaling laruan, batuhan lang ng putik sa garden namin okey na. Di na kailangan gumastos.”

Cesar said he makes sure that his daughters look up to him not just as a doting father (yes, a good provider) but also as a friend.

“So that they won’t hide anything from me and from their mom. Lahat isi-share nila sa amin, so we can give them suggestions and (pieces of) advice. What is important is not the things that they say but the things that they don’t say, kung ano ang nasa damdamin nila. That’s what we parents should take note of, para makapasok sila sa mundo ng kanilang mga anak. There are so many things that children don’t tell their parents. The kids won’t let you into their world if they don’t consider you a friend, if they don’t trust you.”

Meanwhile, Cesar is beginning to “court” Sunshine again, “court” her back to him.

“From Day One after we broke up,” Cesar admitted, “that’s what I’ve been doing, at hindi talaga ako titigil. But I’m not rushing her. Gusto ko sa kanya mismo manggaling na, alam mo na…”

What does he miss most about Sunshine?

“Everything about her, every part of her…ang amoy niya, ang ngiti niya, ang lahat-lahat sa kanya!”

In the next breath, Cesar denied rumors that there’s a pending annulment case between them.

“Wala,” he was firm, “wala kaming ganoon.”

Going back to his balik-GMA, Cesar said that he had a “serene feeling” when he decided to accept the offer (from several that he has been getting).

“I felt that this is the right work for me at the moment,” added Cesar who was first directed by Laurice in two films by Seiko, one of which, Ang Bukas Ay Akin (with Gretchen Barretto and Jestoni Alarcon) won for him his very first acting trophy (for Best Supporting Actor at the Metro Filmfest and the Catholic Mass Media Awards).

“That was after Cesar did Machete and before he played the title role in Jose Rizal in which he was directed by Marilou (Diaz-Abaya),” recalled Laurice, the second lady director Cesar is working with.

At yesterday’s story conference, it was learned that Cesar will play a lawyer (reminiscent of Al Pacino’s role in Devil’s Advocate with Keanu Reeves).

“I like the role,” said Cesar. “That’s my frustration. My father was a lawyer and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.”

What’s up?

= Oops! Sen. Ralph Recto’s term ends in 2016 yet and not on June this year as Funfare erroneously mentioned yesterday, Also, Carla Cardenas-Valeroso is the daughter of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos’ sister Emelyn and not just a family friend.

= Congratulations to Jose “Pete” Lacaba (photo) who is named U.P. 2013 Gawad Plaridel awardee by the U.P. College of Mass Communication for his outstanding contributions in the field of journalism. By the way, Pete is inviting music-lovers to the Conspiracy Bar (on 59 Visayas Avenue, Quezon City) where Tres Marias will sing Salinawit Ni Pete starting at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, with Cooky Chua, Bayang Barrios and Lolita Carbon, plus “extra” Jose Maria Flores Lacaba Jr. (a.k.a. Pete La Kabag) and pianist Ferdie Borja. Open mike after the show. Entrance fee is only P150.

= Also, congratulations to Paulina Bituin Laroya (photo) who graduated salutatorian from Charter Oak High School in Covina, California last May. She also received an award for obtaining the highest honor, a California Scholarship Seal Bearer and Golden State Seal Merit. Paulina performed in the 2013 Rose Parade on International Television last January. She’s the granddaughter of architect Angel and Mrs. Lita Bituin (of Century Compound, Cubao, Quezon City).

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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