Like father, like son (well, almost!)
Race Matias on his dad, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista: I got my passion for work from him.
Photos by RICKY LO
Like father, like son (well, almost!)
A POINT OF AWARENESS - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - January 5, 2017 - 12:00am

An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

That oft-quoted line aptly describes Race Matias, the eldest of Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista’s four children with two women.

“I like that quotation,” Race, who’s turning 20, told Funfare in an interview yesterday at Via Mare (on its new location, Timog Avenue, near the Timog-Morato Rotunda in Quezon City), which is owned by his mom, Eloisa Matias. “I did an 11-minute short film called Like Father, Like Son, and it runs along that line...something dark about depression. I wanted to show that depression is a serious thing.”

Entered in 12 international film festivals so far, the short film has garnered six nominations and won a gold from the New York Independent Film Festival (NYIFF), beating dozens of entries.

Here on Christmas break from New York Film Academy (NYFA) where he’s finishing his first year next week (and starting his second year by end of the month), Race is determined to complete the four-year film course (not just the crash course that some local artists have been taking).

It’s easy to connect Race (full name: Heinrik Caesar Cruz Matias, one of Eloisa’s two sons) to that quotation because, like the apple, he didn’t stray from the family tree, having opted to follow in his father’s footsteps to showbiz (and not to politics). Herbert has two other children with Tates Gana, one of whom, Harvey, has graduated from the ABS-CBN kiddie show Goin’ Bulilit.

“Henry was too common, according to my mom,” explained Race (with an American twang who studied at La Salle from kindergarten to high school, “so she jumbled the Caesar and came up with the nickname Race. I like it.”

Like his father (shorter by several inches), the son is a racer (against time), so to speak, in a hurry to accomplish so many goals including eventually venturing into directing (and producing) a full-length feature film that he plans to enter in international film festivals (he has a wide choice: Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival based in Utah, USA; Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Film Festival based in New York; the New York Independent Film Festival; or, why not, CineMalaya in Manila).

As a kid, Race appeared in his father’s movie, Viva Films’ Like Father, Like Son. Herbert started as a child star (in Kaluskos Musmos back then, produced by Imee Marcos before Race and his siblings were born), Race could have grown up under the klieg lights but his parents said, “Wait a minute…after your studies.” Instead, after La Salle, Race decided to take up a film course. Before that, he joined a dance group called Legit Status where he met Corinne Catibayan, his girlfriend of two years.

And how is he unlike his father (who was seated beside Race during this interview, across him sat Eloisa)?

“I got my passion for work from Dad,” confessed Race, but when it comes to his love life, “I guess I am loyal.” That spoke volumes. Asked at what age he started, “sa pag-ibig?” Herbert clarified, “I was 13.” That makes Race a late bloomer.

Aside from growing in the shadow of his father, Race grew up on movies, nourished by Eloisa on all kinds of movies but particularly horror-suspense.

“I’m a fan of horror films,” confirmed Race. “My mom has all these DVDs which she watched after dinner and I would watch with her, such as Nightmare on Elm Street which I watched when I was six years old. I like Erik Matti, Chito Roño, Lav Diaz and other great Filipino directors,” he added, saying he planned to catch Matti’s Seklusyon last night before he flies back to New York tonight on a PAL flight.

Race did watch his dad’s movies, partly, and completed watching only one of them, Captain Barbell in which Herbert plays a simpleton who transforms into a superhero (played by Edu Manzano) during crucial times (to help solve a crime, etc.).

And how did he find Herbert as an actor?

“Hmmm, he was good. Compared to the likes of Aga Muhlach, he was somebody else. At the end of the day, he was always the good guy…like Captain America before the serum.”

Told that in the end of Herbert’s movies, his character always gets the girl in the end.

“Like in real life,” joked Eloisa who, even if she’s not in good terms with Tates, is striving to bring all four children closer, “After all,” she said, “the children have nothing to do with it,” whatever “it” is.

Before he graduates from NYFA, Race plans to do a 45-minute film as a school requirement and, why not, for submission to a film festival here or somewhere else.

“It’s going to be a horror film,” shared Race, “something dark, set in the Philippines. There’s a form that I have to sign and if I’m able to fulfill all the requirements, they can send the equipment wherever I want to shoot it anywhere in the world and I could submit it to a festival. Have you seen Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later? Something like that. Oh yes, I’m also a big fan of zombie movies, just like the one that came out of Korea recently.”

“Train to Busan,” volunteered Herbert.

By the way, would Race have Herbert in the cast of his planed movie?

“Nice idea,” agreed Race.

(E-mail reactions at You may also send your questions to For more updates, photos and videos visit or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

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