September 26, 2014
As it turned out, Cesar made an instant fan of PNG Vice Minister Ben Micah who watched “Jose Rizal” on YouTube the night before. Suddenly filled with admiration, Minister Micah asked Cesar to do a film version of his country’s historic liberation that pinnacled on a crisis that claimed 20,000 lives.
“I ask Cesar to make us a movie as significant as his ‘Jose Rizal’ portrayal. I want him to make this another one of his masterpieces and I want it to be a grand movie that could launch a movie industry in PNG,” he said over early breakfast Sunday at the home of Philippine Ambassador to PNG Bienvenido Tejano, who was responsible for introducing the two.
For the same project, the minister also asked Cesar to explore the possibility of engaging the services of Hollywood actor Will Smith or Denzel Washington to play his role in the film.
Cesar was only too glad to oblige, saying, “To be considered this way and be given this kind of valuable regard, I am humbled. For sure, this trip will not be the last as we will be coming to PNG for this project soon, and maybe for more.”
He said, “I didn’t have high regard for you before this. I never looked at you past what I hear from the media before, during the time of Marcos. But having the knowledge about Jose Rizal now because of Cesar’s movie, your national hero now ranks at the top of the men in history that I truly admire. The Filipinos, I just found out, are truly an admirable race,” he said.
The biggest surprise was Minister Micah’s gesture of kissing Cesar’s hand to honor the Filipino race and show his downright admiration for the actor in the presence of Ambassador Tejano. The Ambassador said it was a heart-tugging moment, something he has never witnessed before and especially coming from a man of the stature of Micah, who could be PNG’s next minister.
Moreover, when an exhibit of Cesar’s paintings was held right after the concert performance Saturday night, the minister bought five of the seven art pieces up for sale.
Minister Micah was among the VIPs and members of the diplomatic community that Ambassador Tejano invited to the concert held at the FAPNG Club House. The concert’s proceeds will help victims of typhoon in Mapanas, Northern Samar and build a Seventh Day Adventist Church in Port Moresby.
The ambassador’s five-year-old granddaughter Chelsea Pohani (daughter of the hardworking daughter of the event’s organizer, Biena Tejano-Pohani) wowed the crowd with her songs at the concert. Bayani brought the house down with his brand of comedy and novelty music that left the audience in stitches – including the ambassadors of Indonesia, Malaysia and Solomon Islands.
The concert highlighted the trip that also included mission work for both Cesar and Sandra. Both have been conducting mission trips for the Adventist Church all over the Philippines for a few months now and this trip was their first to share their testimonies outside of the Philippines.
Cesar and his entourage (also consisting of Bayani’s wife Lenlen and Sandra’s mother Zenaida and his PAs Jun and Itoy and yours truly) are very appreciative of the warm welcome and loving accommodation given to us, especially by the household of Ambassador Tejano and his wife Dr. Lyn, who cooked nonstop to make sure that everyone was well-fed and happy. To Biena and Harry Pohani, Atty. Ron Ron and little Chelsea, their home staff Manang Cherry, their neighbor Elwyn “Joyce” Lilles, and all their friends and office staff who were on hand to care for all of us, we are truly grateful and will forever celebrate the friendships forged during this trip. They truly made us feel like PNG is home away from home. (Inset photos courtesy of Sandra Seifert)