Saturday, April 4

No Reservations: Philippines


Anthony Bourdain enjoys Bulalo and San Miguel beer.

Perhaps a result of my being a very visual person, I love to watch shows or videos about food when I eat. I reason that it may be a way of enhancing the actual food I am scoffing down at the time with the perceived flavor of the stuff I am watching about. Well, no other show is as great for me to eat food by than Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. Well, years ago it was another show- Cook's Tour (also by Tony Bourdain). I have Mr. Bourdain to thank for countless good meals made even better, making even simple spoonfuls of rice and tuna taste like Foie Gras, or routine Jolly Hotdogs taste like Black Pudding. Not just the food, but the wonderful travelog experience, the insightful narrations into various countries and peoples, and the genuine appreciation of good taste and good friends makes sure that my iPod Touch will never be without an episode of No Reservations or Cook's Tour.

So it was with real enjoyment that I watched the Philippines' episode of No Reservations. I remembered the 'Fan-atic' episode of NR, where Tony almost went to RP (but eventually settled on Saudi Arabia) but ultimately decided against it due to Filipino fan Augusto's apparent scant knowledge of the country being recommended. Nicely enough, NR eventually made it a point to come to Manila and Cebu and finally have the fickle Bourdain feast on Pinoy fare.

My being a Filipino made watching the Philippines' episode kinda odd- on one hand, all the food being shown was pretty familiar to me, so I wasn't as interested as much in the food (as with other countries) as I was in Bourdain's reactions to the meals. I was kinda disappointed though by Augusto, our country's main representative to Tony. Where you'd expect a country's guide to be fun, energetic and enthusiastic in taking Tony on wild rides and showing the best of their homeland, Augusto was sadly very subdued and pretty much spent most of the time musing over his plate, with Tony serving as a kind of shrink, helping him over his search for his heritage and national identity. Gladly though, it just showed a particularly insightful and empathic side to Tony that was quite wonderful to see.

I'm pretty happy that Tony enjoyed the food and the visit to Philippines in general- the crowning glory being that Cebu Lechon got his highest marks as The Best Pig Ever. I also totally agree with his analysis of the Filipino people- Yes, we ARE too nice. Oh well, nobody's perfect.

Glad you enjoyed your trip, Mr. Bourdain. Hope you visit Manila again someday.

1 comment:

Anton said...

The only gripe i had was with some inaccuracies and faux pas in the visit to ongpin. Couldn't he have been served fish balls instead of chicken balls? I mean chicken balls, never heard of it, must be something new. And the choice of Adobong Shrimp...hmm, i may be abrtoad but i sure as hell have never come accross adobong hipon...and the ingredients for basic adobo will always have vinegar (which was left out of the description the guide gave) For what is adobo if there is no vinegar....Yun lang, sorry for the rant...