AXN features Negros Occidental-A A +A
By Betsy Gazo
Saturday, March 2, 2013
YOU may not be aware of this but an eleven-man team visited our island last February 22 to stay for six days. Out of the eleven, seven were first-time visitors to our beautiful province and it seems that they had a blast digging into our culture, and their plates.
Just last month, Culture Shock Productions in partnership with Catlink Media Corporation for AXN hatched the idea of going around the Philippines on the theme "What makes the Philippines a perfect 10?"
This endeavor is the first locally-produced TV show block-timed by Culture Shock Productions which will be aired on AXN with April 21 as its pilot airing.
The trip to our island worked around the list of "Ten people you should meet in Negros." Here's the list: Mayor Leo Cueva and Councilor Mito Gamboa (Sagay sea ranching), Sagay Dairy Farm Manager Bong Valiente, cockfighter and breeder Dante Hinlo, Team Tikim, Alter Trade Foundation, Inc. Edwin Marthine Lopez, Mambucal Resort Manager Ellen Jalandoni Vasquez, Chin Chin Uy for organic food and lifestyle, Masskara Festival choreographer Panoy Cabulcar, Yepe Infante for ATV, and Bugoy Hagad for craft beer (Bogsbrew). Don't count. It's more than ten.
Production Manager Pao Magsaysay didn't know me from Eve when he first went through the list. Tina the Head Writer had read my articles online and learned about Team Tikim's activities (Team Tikim is a food critic group I formed in 2009) and included the group in the list. Pao's search for the Team included wanting to PM me on Facebook but not finding my account.
Eventually, he tried the Bacolod City Tourism Office and, voila! he got my number and traced me to The Suites at Calle Nueva where I was giving French lessons at the exact time he called the hotel. Talk about serendipity and Pao's superior sleuthing ability!
It's a wonderful story on how Culture Shock's team was able to establish its network in Negros. Here's Pao's text message to me in response to my question on how he got to connect with people here: I got your number from Bacolod City Tourism Office, si Bugoy from Chin, si Chin from Ms. Christine Sarrosa-Dorris of Nature's Village Resort and Mrs. Dorris from Mrs. Clarissa Araneta, Mrs. Araneta from our Director of Photography. His good friend is the daughter of Mrs. Araneta. :) Everyone is apparently connected with everyone around here. The ATV group headed by Yepe Infante from my family friend Mr. Luigene Lacson, Panoy Cabulcar from our writer, [for] sabong Mr. Dante Hinlo from Catlink, Sagay Tourism for Mayor [Cueva] and Councilor Mito Gamboa, Mr. Lopez the head of the foundation that helps sugarcane farmers from DTI region 6, Mambucal Resorts Ms. Ellen Jalandoni-Vasquez from provincial tourism.
This shows that Bacolod is really a town disguised as a city where everybody knows everybody. All that coziness came in handy for Pao as he tried to get everything and everyone ready for the shoot. Before I forget, let me acknowledge the crew members who did a splendid job of bringing out the best of our province. Here's the list:
Jason Godfrey - Host
Ronald Rillo- Director/ Executive Producer- Culture Shock Productions
RJ Precilla- Executive Producer - Culture Shock Productions
Mini Maglahus- Executive Producer- Catlink Media Corporation
Cristina Gomez- Verano - Head Writer
Pao Magsaysay- Production Manager
Macoy Tarnate- Director of Photography
Carlo Ambrosio Lina- Director of Photography
Joel Angeles- Director of Photography
Allan Hilado- Sound Man
Ronald Diaz- Producer
You want more lists? Pao would like to acknowledge, in turn, the members of the ATV group headed by Yepe Infante, i.e., Joel Sarmiento, Steve Maramba, Jesus Tanpinco, Bumpy Coscolluela , Patrick Villanueva, Tonette Ramos, Toots Tanpinco, Sr., and Olito de la Rama.
And I shouldn't forget my own team, the Team Tikim members Bambi Borromeo, Ruth Cruz, Imelda Tinsay-Bringas, Maricar Dabao and me. 'Twas a pity that our schedules didn't permit us to be all present so only Maricar and I were able to do the shoot.
Now let me tell you about the shoot for the Team Tikim segment. Pao had asked me beforehand what eating places to recommend. For Manukan Country, it was Aida's and for Negrense fare it was 21 Restaurant.
The 2 p.m. shoot was the perfect time to do Aida's when the lunch crowd had dissipated and the strong early afternoon sun still provided enough light. It was during the shoot that Jason Godfrey, our mestizo Canadian host with the kilowatt smile, was given a lesson on the different body parts of the chicken inasal, i.e. paa, pecho, pakpak, li-og, atay, baticolon, and isol. Manang Marcilla, Aida's daughter, had a plateful of paa, pecho and isol brought over to our table.
The grilled chicken pieces were glistening with basting mixture and looked invitingly succulent enough to make our mouths water. The compact mound of garlic rice scented the air. Yet, we held our horses. Look. Don't touch.
The cameras were rolling. Jason tore off a tiny piece of the isol, said something about it and pretended to eat it. We three exchanged witty remarks about the beginnings and evolution of the chicken inasal industry, etc., etc. Cut. And went off to 21 Restaurant...
...where Paolo Araneta (21's president) and siblings Ritchie and Mito Gamboa were a-waiting. There were crablets (but, of course!) crisp and ready for dipping in vinegar, pinitaw (shredded beef a la pinitaw or after the style of the small pitaw bird that was either deep fried whole or shredded) and a huge steaming bowl of La Paz batchoy that started it all and made 21 a favorite among diners.
Beauty shots were also taken of the steamed fish and eggplant stewed in coconut milk that are specialties of 21.
It was around 3 p.m. (and that meant merienda time) so I watched with regret over the crablets I wanted to devour and the batchoy I wanted to finish off but were for the shoot only. Darn. Maricar and I had a 4 p.m. meeting with Jerry Ledesma so we had to leave while the crew got to stay behind and eat everything. Double darn.
Pao has this to say about why he and his team love Bacolod. It's the food. Also, the lifestyle is more laid-back compared with other major Philippine cities (he said it's not too busy here), and it's a city Jason considered living in.
Pao said, "We had so much fun in Negros. It's a relaxing place and everyone was very, very friendly." He added that he enjoyed the scenery and repeated the word 'people' for he cannot get over the fact that the crew was 'spoiled' by their new friends. Perhaps, a future trip will spoil them further.
The food segment was only one of many Negrense features that Culture Shock covered. Check the list of 'ten" above for guidance. If Culture Shock had stayed longer, it would have discovered more about Negros but then it would have had to forget the "ten" and made it "a hundred".
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 02, 2013.