Cebu City, Philippines—The reactions to Erik Matti’s remarks about Netflix’s Cebu episode of “Street Food Asia” keep on coming.
Among the noted personalities who recently reacted was former Cebu-based actress Chai Fonacier.
“Di ko maintindihan (I do not understand). Are regions only considered Filipino if it’s convenient for Manila? Manila is so used to speaking for its neighbors without asking us. I know he’s Hiligaynon but this reeks of imperial Manila,” the “Halik” star said.
Matti, in a Facebook post last Monday, April 29, 2019, described the Cebu episode as “poverty porn” and “bad research.”
Fonacier is known to be vocal in expressing her stand, especially on social issues through her social media accounts.
“Here’s the problem with Manila: I like you, but sometimes no. When you go and represent the country, walang reklamo. Pag regions, you alienate us and say ‘not all of PH.’ But sa mga TV show, sabi nyo, “Pinoy tayo lahat.” So ano ba talaga?” she added.
(Here is the problem with Manila: I like you, but sometimes no. When you go and represent the country, no one complains. If coming from the region, you alienate us and say “not all of PH.” But on your television show, you say, “We are all Filipinos.” So, what is it?)
The episode features nilarang bakasi (stewed eel), lechon (roasted pig), tuslob-buwa (pork brain gravy), and Chinese vegetable lumpia (spring rolls). Matti described nilarang bakasi (stewed eel) as an esoteric eel dish while he also expressed frustration on the Chinese vegetable lumpia (spring rolls).
“Hey, regional Philippines! We’re only “Filipino” to Manila when it’s convenient for them,” another tweet from Fonacier read.
The former Cebu based actress is known for her role as Chari in ABS-CBN’s top-rating series, “Halik.”
She also starred in several films like “Patay Na Si Hesus”, “Respeto”, and “Pinay Beauty.”
Fonacier also made sarcastic remarks saying that the last time she checked, Cebu is still in the Philippines.
“Not Filipino enough? Aw sure sige kamo ray Pinoy diay sah? O, kamo na, dali go, pitch banana cue sa Netflix kaw,” she said. (Not Filipino enough? Sure, so you are the only Filipinos now? Then fine, pitch banana cue to Netflix now.)
Amid the backlash, writer Jude Bacalso, who was part of the Cebu episode of “Street Food Asia,” defended the narrative.
“(Matti) should know better than the conversation is moved forward by the discussion of new ideas, the untold stories. Not rehashing the same narrative, the same plot. Then again, Gagamboy. What was I thinking? Also, netizens strike back. And I swear I couldn’t have put it better,” she said.
To recall, Matti mentioned in one of his tweets that Ilocano fried empanada is much more truly Filipino. He suggested choosing something widely regarded by most Filipinos and Cebuanos as the street food that can represent the country.
Cebuano director Victor Villanueva, on the other hand, looked at the controversy as a blessing in disguise.
In a statement posted on Twitter, he said he understood where all the rage was coming from and believed that at the end of the day, Cebu stands to benefit from the issue.
“Pati ako na off pud. But the good thing out of all this is the conversation of Cebuano food pushed to the limelight,” he said.
(It turned me off, too. But the good thing out of all this is the conversation of Cebuano food pushed to the limelight.)
He admitted he has not tried the nilarang bakasi (stewed eel) at Mang Entoy’s Bakasihan in Cordova town, owned by Florencio “Entoy” Escabas.
“But after seeing the episode, I really want to try it,” said Villanueva.
Villanueva is the director behind the films like “Patay Na si Hesus” and “Kusina Kings.” /bmjo