Focus on Philippines: Anthony Bourdain explores Manila on CNN show

Also, Filipino track featured on Vampire Diaries, Voice Kids finalist joins Les Misérables cast, and Little Azkals to screen at Toronto festival.

Best-selling author and chef Anthony Bourdain filmed an episode of his food documentary series Parts Unknown in Manila. Courtesy CNN
Powered by automated translation

The seventh season of the CNN travel and food ­documentary series ­Anthony Bourdain: Parts ­Unknown ­begins on April 24 with a trip to Manila, capital of the ­Philippines. The show follows the best-selling author and chef as he travels the globe to discover the cultures and cuisines of ­lesser-known destinations.

Bourdain visited Manila unannounced in December, catching his fans and the local media by surprise. Exploring the city during the Christmas season, he travelled through its festive streets to try out local dishes including adobo, sisig and kare-kare. He also indulged in the popular sweet and milky dessert halo-halo. The episode opens with Bourdain’s visit to Jollibee, which he describes as “a fast-food wonder”.

In an interview with CNN this week, Bourdain said he was looking forward to the latest season and “very excited particularly with the episode on Manila”.

“I’m very close to a lot of ­Filipinos here in America – I have a sort of extended Filipino family,” he said.

“In the episode we also explore the overseas Filipino worker phenomenon. We look at the caring and generous nature that is very much a part of Filipino culture.”

“Filipinos like to eat and they like to cook – and they do it well.”

This is Bourdain's second TV trip to the Philippines. In 2008, he visited Manila, Pampanga and Cebu to film an episode of his Travel Channel series No ­Reservations.

The eight-episode new season of Parts Unknown of will also feature trips to Chicago, the Greek Islands, Montana, Tbilisi, Senegal, ­Cologne and Buenos Aires.

Filipino track featured on Vampire Diaries

Filipino fans of American television series The Vampire Diaries were surprised to hear a 20-year-old popular Philippine song used as background music in a recent episode of the horror-fantasy drama.

The 1997 song, Bakit Di Totohanin (Why not make it real), was performed by Carol Banawa, a popular actress and singer in the late 1990s.

It appeared in a scene featuring lead characters Stefan (played by actor Paul Wesley) and Valerie (Elizabeth Blackmore), who were visiting the Philippines – although the scenes were not filmed in the country.

The episode, the 16th in the show's seventh season, was directed by actor Ian Somerhalder, who plays Damon in the show. Vampire Diaries also features Filipino-American actress ­Leslie-Anne Huff, who plays Rayna, though she did not appear in the episode.

Banawa revealed that Vampire Diaries's music supervisor Chris Mollere had contacted her to seek permission to use her track for the show.

“I am in disbelief right now but very grateful,” she posted on ­Instagram.

Banawa, 35, who now lives in the United States with her husband and three children and works as a nurse, also messaged Mollere on Twitter: “I just want to thank you for giving my music a chance. I am beyond thrilled.”

Asked on the television programme Rated K whether she regrets leaving the entertainment industry, Banawa replied: "Fame – I can live without it. I'm OK because I'm such a homebody."

Voice Kids finalist joins Les Misérables cast

Eight-year-old Esang de Torres, who finished third on the second season of The Voice Kids Philippines, has joined the cast of the Manila run of Les Misérables.

She debuted in the musical last weekend, playing the role of the young Cosette in the hit show, which is based on the novel by ­Victor Hugo.

On The Voice Kids Philippines, De Torres was coached by actress and singer Lea Salonga, who starred in the Broadway adaptation of Les Misérables as Eponine and Fantine.

“I’ve been dreaming about this. I’m very thankful and I’m very grateful,” De Torres told ABS-CBN News. “I’ve been hoping to emulate what Coach Lea had ­accomplished.”

The Manila run of Les Misérables features Filipino singer ­Rachelle Ann Go as ­Fantine.

Little Azkals to screen at Toronto festival

The Filipino documentary Little Azkals, directed by Baby Ruth Villarama, has been selected to screen at the children's ­cinema section of the Toronto film ­festival's Kids International Film Festival, which opened last Friday and runs until April 24.

It follows 22 young boys ­selected to train in the United Kingdom for the Philippine ­national football team.

The documentary will screen at Toronto’s Bell Lightbox ­Theatre today and on Tuesday.

"The doc is about these boys' dreams," Villarama told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

“Hopefully the world will see our nation’s growth in these kids’ journey to become world-class athletes.”

Little Azkals, produced by Voyage Studios, ­previously screened at last year's Zlin ­International Film Festival for Children and Youth in the Czech Republic.