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MiG: Never take your life for granted

With San Teodoro Mayor Marvic Feraren and the Oriental Mindoro Police and Rescue Squad

Two weeks ago, I bumped into international rocker MiG Ayesa at Victorino’s restaurant (Scout Rallos corner Jamboree Streets, Quezon City). He was deliciously sunburned, just like former Manila (Third District) Rep. Miles Roces who was with him.

I would learn from Edmund Silvestre, Funfare’s Big Apple correspondent, that MiG was on hiatus from his regular gigs overseas, including West End and Broadway stages, for the past couple of months now. He flew around the Philippines for a travel show that will showcase top vacation destinations seen through his eyes and his stunning co-host’s, Sophie Sumner, winner of America’s Next top model (Cycle 18).

The Philippine project called Phil It Up came after MiG completed the Manila production of Rock of Ages and before the earthquake (that hit Cebu and Bohol) and storm surge that struck Eastern Visayas and left massive devastation and deaths in several cities and towns there.

MiG said the recent tragedies only gave Phil It Up a profound significance to help let the world know that the Philippine tourism industry stays open for business and has a lot more to offer with its over 7,000 beautiful islands inhabited by resilient, loving and hard-working people. (Bohol, for instance, is getting back on its feet with its destroyed and damaged churches and other structures now part of tourism attractions.)

Said Edmund, “The first season (for 13 weeks) of Phil It Up will have Sophie touring the Philippines looking for unique local fashion gems. Weekly episodes will unravel Sophie’s journey immersing herself in the culture and synergy of the Filipino people and their sense of style. Halfway through the season, Sophie will rendezvous with MiG to kickstart the second season, a new journey featuring MiG.”

In a compelling fusion of travel and music, MiG will trace his Filipino roots through the sites and sounds that abound the Philippine archipelago. MiG will be seen rocking it out at the hottest entertainment spots, jamming with local talents, and enjoying the fiesta beats.

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“We want to showcase the Philippine archipelago as the new hip destination, attractive to young and not so young adventure seekers across the globe, who are looking for a different adventure than the usual Thailand beach trip,” MiG told Edmund (who is a close friend of MiG’s New York-based uncle and aunt Drs. Ramon and Ching Legarda).

The show, produced by a new team called Limitless and supported by the Philippine Department of Tourism, will be aired both on television and web, with links to different travel bureaus around the world. Details will be announced early next year.

MiG added that the travel show gives him a chance to see places or things he didn’t know exist. Take a look at one of mind-boggling entries in his travel diary (dated Dec. 2, 2013) and get an idea of what you’ll see on Phil It Up:

Just came back from a weekend on Mindoro Island. Oriental Mindoro, to be precise. It was an adventure which I will never forget, and almost didn’t survive. As we sailed into Puerto Galera, I marveled at the beauty of this majestic island of such diversity. From the pristine beaches to the rugged mountain ranges, the beauty and simplicity of life here is overwhelming.

I witnessed a cockfight which is something I do not wish to witness again, in the same way seeing a bullfight in Spain would have me going once, but only once. It’s an age-old Filipino tradition, and not for me to judge, but to accept. Yet immersing myself in the culture of the place, I felt compelled to try everything on offer. Which brought us to the Arigoy River to try white water kayaking.

Now, I have been white-water rafting in Taupo, New Zealand before, and canoed over a 10-meter waterfall, so looking at Arigoy River, I thought it would be a snap. Yet when it comes to the forces of nature, one must never underestimate our mortal limitations. In a group of five kayaks, four of us hit a point where we were thrown out of our boats.

However, for some reason, I was carried away farther than most, hit some big rocks on the way and dragged under and further than anybody else. I found myself missing the safety ropes thrown at me, and continued to be carried away and under by the torrent. There was actually a point where I thought to myself that this could be it. This could be my last moment, after being thrashed against rock after rock and dragged under again and again.

It was not until the river calmed down that I could actually swim to the shore. Exhausted, bruised, cut and slightly in a bit of shock, I suddenly found myself surrounded by my minders and rescuers, who had frantically run over jagged rocks and cliffs to come to my aid. I was unlucky yet very lucky to tell the tale, and a little embarrassed about how much of a commotion I made.

When we got to home base, there were ambulances, rescue trucks, police, and even Mayor Marvic Feraren (of San Teodoro) had come to make sure I was okay. I even received a call from a distressed Gov. Alfonso Umali. It was an adventure, and a triumph, and a reminder of how fragile we all are. As we remember Paul Walker today, we must never take our life for granted. I am lucky to be here to tell the story. Live each day as though it was the last. My time is definitely not up yet!

From Edmund: “MiG flew to London a few days ago to celebrate Christmas there and catch the new musical American Psycho featuring his friend Lucie Jones, who was Cosette in the West End version of Les Miserables. He’ll be back in the Philippines after the holidays to resume shooting for Phil It Up.”

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. You may also send your questions to askrickylo@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

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