Stating that he has “unfinished business” in the Philippines, Anthony Bourdain, a world-renowned American celebrity author and chef, together with his team has set out to film a documentary. The celebrity chef is no stranger to the Filipino hospitality or care and once again, he visited the Philippines to rediscover and uncover the Filipino heart with “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.”
A month before the airing of the Manila episode of “Parts Unknown”, Bourdain shared that her daughter Ariane grew up with a Filipino nanny named Vangie. She even knew Tagalog words and has grown to love Filipino dishes and pretty much has the spirit and zest of a Filipino.
In his essay published on CNN, Bourdain detailed his observations and curiosity on the Filipino culture:
“There’s always singing, for instance,” observed Anthony. “Everybody seems to sing – an affinity passed on to my daughter. Family – and church, of course, loom large (even in my otherwise atheistic household). “My daughter is no stranger to sisig and sinigang and adobo and holds me in disregard for being unable to procure her the delicious Filipino pastries and breads she finds at her other family’s home.”
He visited the festive streets of Manila just in time for the Christmas season and got a taste of sisig, kare kare, lechon, halo halo, and even went to Jollibee. He discovered how halo halo is prepared and shared the treat with the street kids. There was a lot of merry making and drinking especially because it’s the holidays. He also got to discover the slice and splice of the Philippines right in the heart of Manila. He gets to eat in Jollibee (a Filipino-owned counterpart of McDonald’s) and ordered the all-time favorite Chickenjoy and spaghetti.
He said that the Manila episode is not about the Philippines or the Filipino people alone but to know and understand why the Filipinos are so damn caring even to strangers. You could definitely say this episode is “personal” as he grew amazed of the agility and unrelenting spirit of Filipinos to rise up and survive or in his words “getting by” and “rising up” on their own. It’s the curiosity on this Filipino attitude of having that innate capacity to care and brave it out amidst challenges that took Bourdain’s feet off from the American soil and back to the Philippines.
Bourdain stated that this will not be their last show in the Philippines because there’s more to explore with the 7,100 islands; and they were actually hindered too by the typhoon. He made this episode sound more like a tribute to a Filipino nanny who worked for 30 years away from her family to take care of other people’s kids and raising them as their own. Anthony Bourdain found that very unusual for a human being but natural with a Filipino. This and a lot more of the good food and scenic places he discovered in his personal quest in Manila which he calls fondly as the “Land of the Lechon.”