José Marcelo Ejército Sr., or popularly recognized by the screen name Joseph Estrada, was born on April 19, 1937 in Tondo. Aside from that, he was also commonly called “Erap,” a nickname his close friend Fernando Poe Jr. gave him which came from the Filipino slang word “pare,” spelled backwards.
Estrada was the eighth among ten children of Emilio Ejercito Sr. and Maria Marcelo. More than being a politician, serving as the Philippine’s 13th President and 9th Vice President particularly, Estrada also slayed in his film career from 1956 to 1989 both as an actor and a producer, summing 33 years. He played lead roles for more than 100 movies and produced more than 70 films. Among all the films, he was greatly known for Geron Busabos: Ang Batang Quiapo (1964), Hoy Tukso Layuan Mo Ako! (1980), and Kumander Alibasbas (1981).
Proving his brilliance in the film industry, Estrada bagged 5 awards for Best Film from the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Science (FAMAS) and was the first to receive 5 awards as well for Best Actor, elevating him to the FAMAS Hall of Fame in 1981 and 1984.
His passion as an actor didn’t just stop with the awards. Instead, he extended his arms as a sign of compassion for his fellows in the same industry he was in. That’s why in 1974, he established the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (Mowelfund), an organization which aims to help filmmakers through medical and livelihood support. In 1979, he then founded Mowelfund’s educational arm, the Mowelfund Film Institute (MFI), which conducts workshops in filmmaking and other art-related professions for those who aspire to become one of the significant people in the Philippine cinema.