“Taga-saanka?” Every Filipino must have had this question asked of them abroad when chancing upon a kababayan. To take pride in one’s hometown, after all, is a quintessential Filipino trait.
And once they start talking about their beloved probinsya, they will for sure do so in a manner that — to borrow yet another millennial slang term — makes their hometown sound “G.O.A.T.” That is, the “Greatest of All Time,” for the unfamiliar.
Common as this phenomenon is, it is the genius inspiration of AXN Asia and the Philippine Department of Tourism’s (DoT) latest collaboration to promote the country’s diverse and colorful destinations. Premiering November 4 on the cable channel, three sets of celebrity adventurers will spotlight the regions they call home and why they can assuredly say, “My Hometown Is G.O.A.T.”
From the pristine beaches of Zamboanga to the gastronomical delights of Pampanga and all the way up to lovely La Union, every 15-minute episode of the unique production will showcase the parts of the Philippines, which seven popular personalities call home. And by the way, viewers will get to see each destination through their very eyes with personally shot videos showed straight from the stars on how to travel safely in the “new normal.”
First up to show their G.O.A.T. hometown is celebrity couple Megan Young and Mikael Daez, who headed to Zambales to mark their second wedding anniversary. Zambales is where the beauty queen and GMA Network actress was born and raised.
“It’s very different from the Zambales of today,” Young recalled in a virtual interview. So, it was nice to see yung kaibahan ng Zambales from the pictures I showed Mikael [from my childhood].”
Happily, the former Miss World noted a surge of new developments rising back home, adding, “It’s nice to see na kung ano man ang lagay natin ngayon [because of the pandemic], we’ve really tried [then] and continue [even now] to push for tourism.”
Her enamored husband then said of the experience, “Sa totoo lang mas makaka-relate ako sa audience kasi nga it’s Megan’s hometown, so I was also getting introduced to the tourist spots and destinations in Zambales.”
Daez also chimed, “As much as na-in love ako sa aking asawa, na-in love din ako sa hometown niya.”
Meanwhile, Miss Universe Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados’ episodes see her flying to Zamboanga for a grand homecoming. Embarking on a solo “Eat, Pray, Love” rendezvous, she happily rediscovers the most breathtaking adventures her hometown uniquely offers.
“I was so excited to see my friends and family, and I even got a big bonus to visit my grandparents. That’s my routine every time I come home,” shared the beauty queen.
“But on this trip, I was able to discover places I never knew existed! That’s why I’m so thankful and grateful to the show for allowing me to explore my hometown again,” Ganados expressed.
“Na realize ko na bakit pa ako lalayo, nandito lang pala ang mga hidden gems na pwede nating ma-explore as a traveler. I know the pandemic has taken such a toll on us since we weren’t able to travel pero bakit ka pa lalayo internationally?” she pointed out.
Finally, Marc Pingris, along with fellow basketball superstars JC Intal, Jayjay Helterbrand, and Rico Maierhofer will take viewers on a breathtaking road trip on motorbikes to the most scenic spots of La Union. But first things first, the episode will pass by his hometown of Pangasinan on the way.
Real travel buddies who call their group the Philippine Bikers Amazing “PBA” Moto Club, the hardcourt cuties promise an “adventure of a lifetime in the great North.”
“The most memorable part of the trip to me is the bonding. Sa court kasi lahat kami magkakalaban, but with this trip talagang naging iba yung pagsasama namin dito. Bonus na din yung mapakita ko yung hometown ko sa Pangasinan,” Pingris enthused.
La Union’s champion, it turns out, is Intal who shared, “I was nostalgic all throughout [the homecoming] and at the same seeing a different side of La Union. They will see beautiful destinations.”
Their producers very happy with the 15-minuters waiting to air, AXN Asia‘s George Chien — co-founder, president and CEO of mother company KC Global Media Asia — noted, “While we remain at home, our desire for travel continues to grow. [For now] in ‘My Hometown is G.O.A.T.,’ viewers can discover beautiful destinations in the Philippines intimately as our celebrity hosts share the best of their hometowns. We, therefore, hope that the show can help satiate the wanderlust of our audiences as we wait for the world to become ready for travel.”
On the side of the DoT, Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat averred, “Now, we will see a destination through the eyes of not just a tourist, but someone whose roots go deep, whose community ties hold strong, and whose love for their hometown makes it indeed the greatest.”
The six-episode travel and lifestyle series “My Hometown Is G.O.A.T.” will have its regional Southeast Asian premiere on November 4, with new episodes airing on AXN Asia every Thursday and Friday at 8.30 p.m. and the AXN Asia YouTube channel every following Wednesday at 8.30 p.m. The show will also air on AXN Taiwan and AXN Korea beginning November 8 and November 13.