TIA Carrere is thrilled to be part of upcoming movie "Showdown in Manila," which will be shot in the country.
Now on her third visit, the American actress-singer of Filipino descent also shared she is looking forward to reconnect with relatives.
"It’s been so great. I've been spending a lot of time with my cousin and our family, and tasting all the food of my childhood and my grandma used to make. It has been old home, hanging out with Hollywood friends, and also coming back. It's good to be here," she said Sunday at the movie's press conference.
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Tia said that in her last visit, she had the opportunity to visit El Nido, Palawan, a town blessed with pristine beaches, marble cliffs and rich wildlife.
"It was amazing. I had dinner on a sandbar in the middle of the ocean, the South China Sea. In the middle of the ocean, a sandbar, and they had dinner. They said we have a surprise for you. On a speedboat, in the middle of the ocean, you see the torches and dinner. These are amazing experiences we can’t even explain back in the States. This is a magical place," she said.
Meanwhile, Tia said she's grateful to director Mark Dacascos for including her in the cast of "Showdown in Manila."
A good friend of Tia, Damascos is known to Filipinos as "Chairman" in cooking competition "Iron Chef America." He’s been to the Philippines five times. Damascos' father is a Filipino, she said.
"I love Mark Dacascos and we've known each other for 30 years and he's such a positive, kind and enthusiastic playmaker in Hollywood. We've worked together on ‘General Hospital.’ We've been friends for a very, very long time and when he called me and said, 'Tia, I'm doing this movie, my first full movie. Will you be there?' I said absolutely," Tia said.
"He's Filipino, I'm Filipino, I have family here. I came here half to visit my family and half to do the movie and eat the food. Sarap!"
Aside from the Hollywood actors, Tia will work with local talents Jake Macapagal and Iza Calzado.
"I'm so happy hanging out with Iza and making new friends from Russia, from all over the world. Alexander (Nevsky) is putting this big crew together and that's something you don't see every day. It's great to be here. It's wonderful to do collaboration with these people," she said.
"And when we see, like Iza said, 'when we see you're a Filipino, we rally behind you.' And I think there's really that community of Filipinos around the world, even if we're part, even if we're one half, one quarter, it's Pinoy pride," Tia added.
She's also happy that Filipino talents are being recognized around the world. Tia said there’s big potential for Filipino actors in the international film market.
"We are very talented people on all across, you know, singing, dancing and acting. But it's kind of funny because Filipinos' great strength is that we can assimilate into many different cultures. But also, in the same token, we hold on to our culture and identity," she said.
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii to Filipino parents, 48-year-old Tia made a name in Hollywood through her acting and musical stints.
She appeared in movies "Enemy (Fatal Mission)," "True Lies," "Rising Sun," "The Immortals," television series "General Hospital," "Tour of Duty," "MacGyver," "The O.C," and participated in "Dancing with the Stars Season 2," "The Celebrity Apprentice," among others.
Tia, a two-time Grammy Award winner, also lent her voice to one of the characters in Disney Pictures' "Lilo & Stitch." (Sunnex)