Anthony Bourdain Shares Experience with Filipino Culture in ‘Parts Unknown’

Anthony Bourdain

A successful author and a famous TV personality, Anthony Bourdain has indeed made a name for himself in the entertainment industry. Being the main man in CNN’s travel and food show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, which has been running for three years now, anything Bourdain shares with his viewers would surely be the talk of the town.

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Parts Unknown

Recently, the Philippines was lucky enough that the American chef decided to feature the country’s capital city, Manila, in one of the episodes of Parts Unknown. Before the episode was aired, Anthony Bourdain wrote about his experiences with the Filipino people and its culture, as well as what the show had in mind as he and his team visited the country.

Titled “Unfinished business in the Philippines,” Bourdain’s essay also talked about the Filipino nanny named Vangie, who took care of his daughter Ariane from when she was still a baby. Through Vangie and her family, he and his family learned a lot about the Filipino culture.

Anthony Bourdain’s Essay on the Filipinos

The interesting things about the Philippines that Bourdain wrote about in his essay included the Filipinos’ love for singing and, of course, the food. He wrote,

“Everybody seems to sing, an affinity passed on to my daughter. Family and church, of course, loom large (even in my otherwise atheistic household). And food.

“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.”

Filipino Food

A few clips of the Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown in Manila showed Bourdain diningwith Filipino cover bands. He also ate sisig (his favorite Filipino street food) and adobo. He also had some Jollibee fried chicken and spaghetti, had some lechon, and even some halo-halo.

Parts Unknown, which was first aired on April 14, 2013, usually focuses on people, and in the case of his episodes in the Philippines, he wanted to understand more about the Filipino people’s hospitality, because as he put it, this has been consistent in all of his experiences with them.

Cover Bands

He also spoke about the people he met on the show and even shared why he’s curious about cover bands.

Anthony Bourdain has this to share,

“For years now, in hotel bars in Chiang Mai, in lobbies in Singapore, cocktail lounges in Colombo and Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, wherever I go, I find a Filipino cover band able, on request, to play ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ note for note, before moving on to Happy Birthday (in English, German, or Cantonese), Patsy Cline, Celine Dion—and then ‘Welcome to the Jungle.’”

This, he said, was why he needed to know more and even asked a question many have been begging to know, Where did they all come from?

He did say that he hoped OFWs and Filipino fans would like the episode and even noted that his visit would not be the last in the country. “This is certainly not the definitive show on the Philippines, and it will not be our last show there.”

Bourdain in Manila

He mentioned early on that the episode did not exactly represent the entire Philippines due to the country’s size (and archipelagic nature) plus that they were hindered by a typhoon during the visit, although he along with his crew still wanted to explore further.

Among the cities that Bourdain had gone to besides Manila are Cebu and Pampanga, which he visited previously for an episode on his show on the Travel Channel, No Reservations. During the said previous visit, he tried lechon and had many other local dishes. He even toured Manila with Ivan Man Dy from Old Manila Walks and even visited a fan’s home.

Manila Episode

At the end of the episode, he wrote, “I imagine this time around there will be tears. At least I hope so. We tried to do right by people who’ve been very, very good to us.” He also tweeted details in Filipino.

Like the Manila episode, Anthony Bourdain also wrote about the countries he has featured in his show prior to their air dates. The Manila episode, which aired last April 24 in the US, was the first episode of the current season, which later featured Chicago, Greece, Montana, Georgia, Senegal, Germany, and Buenos Aires.

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