It’s so Filipino to start the bickering after the main event. Get a grip. Augusto is my hero and here is why. Of the 100+ million Filipinos (or part-Filipinos) around the globe, some 6+Million of whom are domiciled legally and illegally in North America, Augusto is the one guy who had the initiative to do something to get Anthony Bourdain to seriously consider a trip to the Philippines. If for that reason alone, being the “catalyst” to an event, he was brilliant in my eyes. He had the initiative to record a video, a nice one in case you haven’t bothered to watch it before you rag on him, send it in, go through an interview process and accept that he didn’t come out on top, the Saud lady did (and I watched that show and it was a good one as well). But Bourdain’s curiosity was sufficiently piqued and he decided to do the Philippines anyway, and he was still interested enough in Augusto’s story to pack him, his wife and daughter onto a plane to meet him in Cebu. So no matter what you say, you are all couch or armchair or deskchair directors/drivers/critics. YOU probably didn’t have the balls to try and get Bourdain to come, you didn’t go out on a limb at the risk of looking foolish, and you, I would guess for 99.99% of you haven’t been faced with 3 cameras literally in YOUR FACE for hours on end and try to look like it was a walk in the park.
So what if he “wasn’t Filipino enough?” He said from the get-go that he was born and raised in the U.S. And I suspect a MAJORITY of those with Filipino blood in the U.S. would strongly identify with Augusto. And let’s not forget that if given a visa and a chance to visit and work in the U.S., some 40+ million Filipinos who live in the Philippines would jump at that chance with a second’s notice to relocate and do whatever they have to do to make it big in America. So I applaud Augusto for wanting to know more about his roots, for wanting to visit his country, for appearing to be more proud of his Filipino heritage than a whole lot of so called dyed in the wool Pinoys. I agree he seemed less enthusiastic during the program than he did on his video, and I certainly am in no position to explain that, but in the several hours we spent together, which is a whole lot more than MANY FOLKS LEAVING COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG AND ELSEWHERE HAVE KNOWN HIM, he struck me as being a young, proud father, extremely interested in his Filipino heritage. He was curious, observant, intelligent. And he was a bit of a tourist, as any of you here would be if you had only spent 8 days in the Bronx, or Queens NY and were trying to understand that borough after you realized you wanted to reconnect with the family and friends of your parents who grew up there.
The show chose Augusto for a reason. They have a story that weaves through their episode. And that story was pre-determined before they even landed here. The choice of venues, the main dishes, the scenery, were as far as I am concerned all pre-selected, and CAREFULLY so. Folks who leave comments about their not shooting a fabulous beach or not dining in a Forbes Park home are all barking up the wrong tree. I am sure many of you wouldn’t have a clue that some 160-180+ hours of video were shot in the 6 days they were in the Philippines, which was edited down to just 48 minutes or so. Which means less than 1/2 of 1% of the material they had made it to the program. So let’s not try and re-direct it or second-guess it for them. Augusto was the catalyst. If not for him, they wouldn’t have taken the next step of identifying people on the ground who could help them with the episode. And they did a respectable amount of BACKGROUND RESEARCH before they got here, more on that in another post. So Augusto, a big FAT BRAVO to you, buddy. And I know I gave you my email address but I am not sure you gave me yours. I hope you read this. Because you and your lovely wife and daughter are very welcome at Marketman’s home or Cebu lechonan should you happen to visit the Philippines again! We’ll definitely have another one of those pigs roasting over the coals, because only you and I and a handful of folks at that lunch know exactly how many times Tony said “The Best Pig, Ever!”. :)