Life between the ivory tower and a cardboard box

A Petition for Anthony Bourdain to Visit the Philippines

anthony-bourdain.jpgI’m not sure sometimes if I am in love with Anthony Bourdain or if I just want to be him. Aside from his dashing good looks, his acerbic wit, and even the way he makes eating look badass on his show, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, he is an example of someone who is “living the dream”. To me, he has found a way to combine all of the best parts of life — food, travel, and writing — and even make some cash out of it. The best part is that he does all of it with honesty and respect for the cultures of the many places that he visits. If that doesn’t make for good TV, then I don’t know what does.

To summarize, No Reservations is a travel show hosted by and featuring Anthony Bourdain, who travels all over the world to sample different cuisines, learn about local cultures, and provide a little bit of his insight and humor on his trips. In addition to eating, we also see Bourdain drink alcohol, visit a few happening nightspots, do a little karaoke, and go to religious functions, among others. To me, what makes Bourdain and No Reservations stand out from his peers, most notably Andrew Zimmern and his show, Bizarre Foods, is the way he really engages himself in the local setting and comes in with a very open mind. Perhaps this is what makes the title No Reservations so clever and so encompassing of the host’s attitudes towards new experiences and life in general.

After watching hours of No Reservations re-runs, I realized that, despite his travels throughout Asia, Anthony Bourdain has not yet featured the Philippines. I am of the mind that this must be rectified, post haste. Here are my top 5 reasons why Anthony Bourdain must feature the Philippines in his show, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.

  1. Filipino food is delish, obviously. So I’m biased. Still, this may come as a surprise to people who may not have ever heard of or tasted Philippine cuisine. Admittedly, Filipino food doesn’t exactly inspire the global imagination in the same way that Chinese, Japanese, Indian, or Thai cuisines do. Furthermore, there is still a hint of insecurity about a perceived lack of exoticness or authenticity in Philippine cuisine, seeing how it is deeply influenced by Malay, Chinese, Spanish, and U.S. cuisines. Nonetheless, I am curious to hear what Anthony Bourdain has to say about Filipino food and see what brilliant piece of insight he can give us after tasting his first sinigang.
  2. More importantly, Filipinos love to eat. I think there is something to be said about a prevailing social expectation to invite others to eat with you, even if you do not have enough, because it is considered rude to eat alone or in front of others without inviting them to join you. This is one thing that Filipinos have in common with Anthony Bourdain, and I am sure it is something he will appreciate.
  3. Anthony Bourdain keeps it real, but in a good way. That’s right, I’m talking to you, Andrew Zimmern. While generally enjoyable, one of my problems with the show Bizarre Foods is the way Andrew Zimmern comes in with the assumption that, just because something is prepared “differently”, that is must be considered “weird” or “bizarre”. Take his response to the ice cream sandwich, one of many common street foods (start at 5:03):

    I understand that it is new to him, but I don’t understand why he has to go up to someone who clearly appreciates it and tell him just how “unusual” and “different” it is. No, honey, you’re the one who is different here.

    On the other hand, check out this clip of Anthony Bourdain trying out what Filipinos call balut for the first time:

    While clearly not his cup of tea, he doesn’t go out of his way to offend people, especially locals, with his thoughts about how different he thinks it is. He briefly and graciously tells us his opinion, stopping short of enlightening the viewer with a value judgment, and moves on. I would prefer to see someone who can present his reactions in a chill and dignified manner, instead of exaggerating its difference. Anthony Bourdain is the man for the job.

  4. Anthony Bourdain is cooler than Rachael Ray. Enough said. Don’t get me wrong; Rachael Ray does have her moments. I just don’t understand why she is as popular as she is and why I can’t flip past the Lifestyle Network without seeing her talk show. We need a little bit of cynicism to hit our shores. We need Anthony Bourdain!
  5. Anthony Bourdain would totally eat balut. See the second video in #3. This is the gold standard for foreigners upon visiting the Philippines. If you can eat balut, you become one of us. Anthony Bourdain has already joined the family, and he hasn’t even met the cousins yet. Anthony Bourdain needs to get his ass over here!

I encourage all foodie or travel fans to get this brilliant man to the Philippines, whether by writing him or by cooking up a storm so large the smell reaches New York. I think Anthony Bourdain would do an excellent job of presenting the Philippines, and we can expect nothing less than an honest, respectful, and humorous account of his visit.

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21 responses

  1. Sky

    A petition? So where do I sign?

    Oh, Anthony Bourdain is coming to Menlo Park, CA. Nov. 20 for a dinner event and I have reservations for two. I am so excited to meet him in person.

    November 14, 2007 at 4:35 am

  2. Erin

    Ah! I’m so jealous. I hope you had fun and that he was just as dashing in real life. 🙂

    November 27, 2007 at 6:08 am

  3. EMJAY

    i totally agree… i’s rather watch bourdain than zimmern!…
    anthony, if ever you go to the philippines, try some of these:

    KARE-KARE
    PINAKBET
    PINAKBET PIZZA
    LECHON PAKSIW
    LECHON KAWALI
    KRISPY PATA
    SINIGANG NA BABOY
    SINIGANG NA BANGUS
    CHICKEN ADOBO
    PANCIT LOG-LOG
    and more

    man…. i could go on all day but… yeah dude! gotta try the philippines…

    peace!

    January 5, 2008 at 12:51 am

  4. haha! i actually just recently wrote a post about how i can actually FORCE him into coming here too!

    glad to know that a lot of us here love him! 🙂

    February 15, 2008 at 9:14 am

  5. marie!

    oh, so glad you wrote this! I have always wondered why he doesn’t visit the phillippines! WHY NOT?! it’s RIGHT THERE!

    I would super sign a for reals petition.

    March 4, 2008 at 4:02 am

  6. I LOVE No Reservations! A Filipina just answered a call for the travel partner auditions and is asking Anthony Bourdain to travel with her to the Philippines.

    I’ve not read the guidelines yet and I’m not sure how AB will choose a travel partner but I think it would be a BIG help if we voted for her:
    http://yourtrip.travelchannel.com/clip.aspx?key=87B40F7C7FC4E562

    March 15, 2008 at 12:46 pm

  7. oh wait, I didn’t realize there were 8 other contestants offering to take AB to the Philippines.

    This girl is my fave: http://yourtrip.travelchannel.com/clip.aspx?key=FBCAA28B8E606346&ctx=toprated&type=video

    BTW, just got here by searching Anthony Bourdain + Philippines on Google. 🙂

    Have a nice day 🙂

    March 15, 2008 at 1:40 pm

  8. Erin

    Yay! Fellow fans! Excellent.

    vina: Glad to meet a kindred spirit!

    marie: I say we just go ahead and create one. http://www.petitiononline.com/create_petition.html ?

    razielle: those links are so exciting! I hope he takes one of them up on their offer.

    March 16, 2008 at 4:03 am

  9. Jennifer

    I’ve been saying it! Bring Anthony to the Philippines!

    July 23, 2008 at 12:27 am

  10. I sign!!!

    Will give up a kidney to see him.

    September 11, 2008 at 5:03 am

  11. Mia

    Just posted an invitation in Bourdain’s facebook.

    October 18, 2008 at 10:05 pm

  12. mochiicecream

    Love what you wrote because I agree 100%. And like you, I’m not sure whether or not I love Anthony Bourdain or if I simply just want to be him. I mean, is he living the life or what?!

    And I realize this post is pretty old. I don’t even know if you check this blog still, but I do want you to know that Anthony is filming in the Philippines, maybe even right now. He landed about five days ago I think. So hooray! Maybe you’ll see him…

    I sincerely hope he enjoys his time and is loving everything the Filipino cuisine has to offer. I can’t wait until the show airs!

    Btw, I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog—you sure have a way with words. This is the most well-written and concise entry about Anthony & the Philippines that I have read. I hope this blog will experience life again soon. Haha.

    Now that I think about it…you probably already knew he was there, huh?

    October 28, 2008 at 6:05 am

  13. I LOVE Anthony Bourdain! I do! You beat me to blogging about him. lol. I watch his show every chance I get… which is something because I rarely ever watch TV.

    I really didn’t like Andrew Zimmerman’s reaction to the ice cream sandwich. But it kind of ticked me off that I had never even heard of or seen an ice cream sandwich like that in my entire life. I think he went to the single place in the entire Philippines where ice cream sandwiches like that is being served… so I think it wasn’t THAT authentic of an experience.

    And I cringed when he mispronounced Palawan (PAL-uh-one instead of pa-LA-one)!

    December 15, 2008 at 8:49 pm

  14. Sky

    Finally….AB in the Philippines. Episode airing Feb 16, 09!!

    February 10, 2009 at 4:57 am

  15. Jordan

    Finally, got our wish. Episode in the Philippines is airing tonight Feb. 16, 2009. So excited and can’t wait. I just caught the trailer, where he said Philippine cuisine is still a blank slate to him. We’ll see what he finds out about it…

    February 16, 2009 at 9:58 pm

  16. Ria

    Did anybody watched it last night? All I could say that it is the best by far representation about Filipino food culture. What an excellent episode, the people he interviewed was awesome and knew a lot of things not only the food but the history of it. Although I feel bad for Augosto – he reminded me of him, born and raised in New York speak nothing about the language but grew up on a strict and hard core Filipino parent’s. To add on I was so in love with the episode I watched it twice last night. I even stayed up till the 3am for another re-run! I can’t wait to go to the Philippines on the end of this quarter and try out that mouthwatering Lechon.

    February 17, 2009 at 6:56 pm

  17. Nimrod

    I watched the ep last night and to tell you the truth I was a bit disappointed. Yeah, they ate a lot of filipino food, but although food is one of the cornerstones of the culture, it is not everything.

    I wish instead of just eating, they could have invited the crew to do something else like go spelunking in Sagada, hiking, snorkeling in Boracay. Or maybe time the ep to go to a festival like the Pinagbenga, Sinulog, etc.

    Our food, although very good, is not that unique because of all the influences. It is actually the happy and hospitable pinoy and the places which leaves a mark to travelers.

    February 17, 2009 at 11:00 pm

  18. Last night, I felt that it’s an unrequited love NO MORE…

    February 17, 2009 at 11:25 pm

  19. IZZA

    you try to visit the most beautiful boracay in philippines and a cold spring,and the most tradiscion a ati-atihan.thank you to visit philippines,you better try eat dog,bat,biglizard,white warm and more.

    February 24, 2009 at 7:38 am

  20. gene

    anthony u better visit a ati-atihan in kalibo,aklan and go to boracay the most popular places in the philippines.and their a different kinds of food thats you never taste in the whole words like dogs.go and you will see in your too eyes its like a malibu.

    February 24, 2009 at 7:48 am

  21. jojie laredo

    awesome!my b.f ask me to watch your video and im glad tht you can eat our food in simple way!
    your the best dude!

    September 5, 2013 at 4:15 am

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