Basco Balikbayan Project: Rediscovering Filipino Heritage


The Basco Brothers and of course, their sister Arianne

How much of our kasimanwas have gone abroad to settle in a faraway land? For most of us, if we have relatives abroad, they are most likely in the United States. In the United States alone, there are close to four million Filipino-Americans which first settled in the United States at the height of the Martial Law era. Filipino-Americans are spread all across the United States in various terrain but most settled in California like my aunt and her family.

A June 2008 photo of my Filipina-American cousin's visit to the Philippines

My cousins are first generation of immigrant families there but they are characteristically American and does not speak a single sliver of any Filipino tongue other than “Mabuhay!” and “Kumusta?” Last month, I was invited to the press conference of Basco Balikbayan, a documentary project of the second-generation Filipino-American Basco Family to visit the best places in the Philippines and rediscover their uniquely Filipino heritage.

Filipina Actress, G. Tongi explains the gist of the Basco Balikbayan Project

The project is jointly produced by Giselle Tongi and Michael Carandang, an Emmy Award-winning producer for the Tyra Banks Show and America’s Next Top Model. Basco Balikbayan Project was born in the realization of Ms. G that there has been a lack of creative production that features the Philippines specially geared towards the Filipino-Americans who have never even seen the Philippines. They will part of the journey of actor Dante Basco with siblings Darion, Derek, Dionisio and Arianna to rediscover the homeland never seen before with its culture and richness of life.

Producers Michael Carandang, G. Tongi with host Tim Yap

Philippines’ Department of Tourism will be very much part of the production, taking the Basco siblings to  Palawan, Davao, Cebu, Ilocos, Naga, Pangasinan, Zambales and Baguio, as far as I have asked them, Negros Island was part of their interest list. In a jam packed but fun schedule, they will be going to key natural and historical places, savoring the local cuisine. The low-cost carrier Airphil Express will ferry them to the destination of choice.

The Basco Brothers and Sister with producer G. Tongi

While in part it is a documentary, it will also be featured as a series that will be pitched or is planned to be pitched in This project will pitch in with  Travel, A&E, Bravo, History, Discovery, Own, Tru TV, TLC, Current TV, Biography, DOC, and the National Geographic Channel. With much hope, the project will be a magnet for other Filipino-Americans to take the same path as well but in my own opinion, will be also a tool for us Filipinos left in the Philippines to actually travel around and discover the richness of our own country for – It’s More Fun In The Philippines!

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About Mark Mayo - Magallanes

MARK MAYO - MAGALLANES – blogger by passion, cook by hobby, student by life, theater actor by fate, writer by work, and Christian by grace. Part Filipino, Chinese and Spanish by blood, he is proudly 100% Negrénse. His love for his home Island of Negros, heritage and lifestyle has led him to write much about it and full-time, all-time. View all posts by Mark Mayo - Magallanes

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