Despite the joking and snappy wisecracks traded during the press conference proper of ABS-CBN's new primetime series, Palos, yesterday, January 15, it was evident right from the start that actor Cesar Montano would rather avoid the press at this point of his personal crisis.
"Siguro nagkataon lang din ulit na meron kaming mga Brazilian models na kasama sa teleserye," said Palos co-director Toto Natividad to the media, referring to the foreign sexy beauties included in the action series, which will premiere on primetime television on January 28.
Listening intently was Cesar, sandwiched between Natividad and young co-star Jake Cuenca. Permitting himself a genuine smile, Cesar silently gazed at the reporters gathered in front of the presidential table, taking comfort in the fact that everyone was talking only about the show.
But not for long.
WOOING AND TRYING. After the official presscon, Cesar was cornered by the press—all eager to talk about his reported gap with wife Sunshine Cruz and the prospect of seeing his 8-year-old marriage crumble in the face of an alleged infidelity.
It was in the early morning of December 29 last year that PEP [Philippine Entertainment Portal] posted an article detailing the reported separation of Cesar and Sunshine after she discovered that her husband was allegedly carrying an affair with Brazilian model Mariana del Rio.
Left to his own devices, and without Jake and Direk Toto to shield him, Cesar hesitantly settled in a chair and endured all the personal questions tossed at him by the reporters.
Ironically, Sunshine is also in the cast of Palos and, to top it all, she plays Cesar's murdered wife in the story.
"Okay naman kami," replied Cesar when asked if there's any feeling of awkwardness between the two during shoots. "We're very, very civil. We talk, ganoon pa din kami," he added.
Contrary to popular rumor, the two, according to Cesar, are still sharing one roof together with their three daughters. "Si Sunshine pumupunta lang sa Mommy niya ‘pag nagtatampo," he divulged, addressing the physical separation issue.
"I always try, of course," confirmed Cesar about the news that he's taking steps to regain his wife's trust by wooing her again.
"There's no harm in trying at 'tsaka hindi masamang manuyo sa asawa dahil asawa mo ‘yan. Kahit na ano pang gawin mo diyan, lumuhod ka, yakapin mo, iyakan mo, dapat lahat you should give your all to your family, to your wife."
Although he failed to admit it directly, it was obvious that all his efforts at the moment are still not enough to win back his wife's confidence, much more soothe her bruised pride.
"Kailangan talaga suyuin mo sila. Kasi ang tawag doon, in other words, assurance. Kailangan palagi ng assurance ng asawa," he said.
MARRIAGE 101. Cesar stressed that more than regaining Sunshine's love, he is thinking about his three daughters and the undesirable outcome of growing up with the stigma of a wrecked household haunting them in the long run.
Speaking about his fears, Cesar reasoned: "Alam mo, kung susuriin mo, lahat ng anak na produkto ng broken marriage hindi maganda, that's why iniiwasan natin ‘yan."
Momentarily letting his guard down, he grinned endearingly, "Lagi akong yayo ng mga bata, e."
Being married for years, according to Cesar, is not enough reason for the public to assume that their union is immune to the common problems experienced by any normal couple.
"'Yong buong pagsasama ninyo [is] still a trial," he said, sounding very serious. "Hindi ako nagmamarunong bilang isang taong may asawa. Sa tingin ko, habang buhay ka, struggle pa rin ‘yan; still learning, marami pa ring bagay na hindi mo maintindihan kung bakit ganoon. But out of love for your family, dapat magsakripisyo ka.
"They'll be a hypocrite ‘pag sinabi nilang hindi sila nagkakaroon ng problema, hindi sila nagkakaroon ng away, gulo," emphasized Cesar. "You say bad things, ugly things, beautiful things to your wife, husband. But at the end of the day, kayo pa rin ang magkasama... Kayo lang din ang puwedeng mag-ayos nun. Walang ibang makakatulong nun."
With only a few weeks left before Valentine's Day, Cesar begged off from revealing his plans for the special occasion. But he is hoping that Sunshine's heart will have softened by then.
"Sinisekreto ko pa," he smiled about his February 14 plans. "Alam mo naman ako, masyado akong masorpresa sa kanya. Baka ma-anticipate niya, lagi kong sinu-surprise 'yon, e."
Speaking like a true expert when it comes to the art of wooing a woman, the actor-director quipped: "Iba kasi ang saya ng babae kapag may surprise, e."