Zap2it: You spent the first episode of this season in Manila in the Philippines. What did you find there?
Anthony Bourdain: … I kind of wanted to look at the Filipino character a little bit. You know, why so many seem to take care of other people, why that’s such a fundamental and important part of Filipino culture. … So many have to leave their families and go work abroad. They leave their own kids to take care of other people’s children; that’s both admirable and heartbreaking.
There’s that musical tradition that’s so powerful. I know from my own life, the Filipinos who are really part of my own extended family, singing is just such an important, everyday thing; everybody does it. And of course, the famous Filipino cover band phenomenon is endlessly fascinating to me, that’s a constant in my life. Everywhere I travel, whatever hotel I’m in, chances are, there’s a Filipino cover band doing brilliantly perfect versions of just about every song ever recorded. It’s ubiquitous, all over Asia. I mean, any hotel you go into, whether it’s country music, rock and roll, I mean you’ll see a duo doing all of Pink Floyd, Guns ‘N Roses, Shirley Bassey, Happy Birthday in German and Cantonese. I mean, and any song you can think of, they can cover it perfectly.
Zap2it: Even Pink Floyd?
Oh, I’ve seen one cover band, two people, do like all of ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ note for note.
Zap2it: Later in the season, you went to the Greek island of Naxos. Why that particular island?
I was looking for someplace presumably idyllic, beautiful, low impact and yet not a vacation wonderland, a place with an actual indigenous culture remaining and people making livings doing other than carrying golf bags.
Zap2it: You also dove on that shipwreck.
Yeah, any excuse to go. I just certified a few years ago for scuba so any opportunity to do that, I’m going to do it.