Friday, January 11, 2008

The Philippines: As seen on TV

Discovery Channel has a new series in which the two hosts, Jimmy and Doug, go from country to country studying different fighting styles, culminating in a match against native practitioners. I'm currently watching an episode in which they travel to the Philippines to study the knife and stick fighting art of Kali. The two previous episodes I've seen have been in China and Japan and they're about what you'd expect. There was nothing really out of the ordinary in those episodes about either of the host countries. Nothing made me say "Man, the Chinese/Japanese are a bunch of freaks." Well, the Filipinos (from whom I claim 50% of my heritage) didn't come off as well as their Southeast Asian neighbors.

First of all, the hosts have lunch in a Manila cafe and are served testicle soup. There are a lot of societies that eat testicles. I myself choked down bull balls while in Chile so I could say "Been there, done that." So it's not the idea that Filipinos eat balls that offends me, but the idea that there's a Teste Bell and that scarfing gonads is as common as buying a footlong in NYC.

After that, Jimmy and Doug meet their Kali masters, who are sparring... in a cemetery. When Doug starts his training, he's initiated by getting slapped around by his master. That's just the prelude to the CHICKEN SACRIFICE. Then the Kali practitioners take the blood of said chicken and drip it over Doug.

The Philippines rarely gets media attention, at least compared to other Southeast Asian countries, but when it does, it's rarely flattering. I just want to go on record and say that the Filipinos I know don't sacrifice chickens or eat testicles. My family home did once serve as a pit stop for some roosters on their way to cockfighting glory in the Philippines, but that's neither here nor there.

1 comment:

JD said...

My interest in watching Discovery has gone way down due to their hiring choices!!