A foreign citizenship is no excuse to shut other nationalities out of your life, especially if you were born in the Philippines. Ask international rock star MiG Ayesa, whose heart belongs to the Philippines, the land of his and other relatives’ birth.
His Australian citizenship is not keeping MiG from releasing his composition, “United as One” on iTunes and donating every cent it earns to the Philippine National Red Cross, which in turn is helping Yolanda victims rebuild their lives.
Sure, MiG included clips from his and America’s Next Top Model winner Sophie Sumner’s upcoming show, ‘Fil it Up’ in the video, and the clip is also marketing tool. But the noble goal is all over the clip.
“We had to do something with this song,” he told media at the presscon of “Fil it Up,” which aims to promote the Philippine tourist spots through foreigners’ (MiG and Sophie’s ) dazzled eyes. “There is no other important time than now to rebuild the Philippines.”
The incurable traveler went scuba diving, swam with whale sharks and did other things tourists in the country do – with a difference. A camera followed him and Sophie every step of the way. The resulting footage will be used in “Fil it Up’s” local and international editions starting January 2015 (GMA 7 will air the show locally).
MiG killed four birds with one stone. He indulged the wanderlust in him, reconnected with his roots, helped the Philippines and earned money as well. Figures why he thinks he is one lucky guy who can do what he loves and get paid for it.
“What people see is the destruction of Tacloban and the Visayan region,” he points out. “Instead of focusing on destruction, I want to show the world the many beautiful things there is to see and explore in the country. That's how we make sure people come and see this place."
No kiss and tell
MiG, who went to Australia at age two, admits he’s not proud of how he speaks Filipino.
“Pangit,” he explains.
But if fluency in the language is the sole yardstick of patriotism, a lot of people will fall flat on their faces.
MiG – a descendant of the elite Roces, Prieto, Montinola, Legarda and Tuason clans -- literally and figuratively has a heart for the Filipinos. An ex is a “gorgeous Filipina who is doing very well in London.”
The lady’s name “rings many bells,” and MiG is proud of her. But sorry, he won’t kiss and tell. It’s enough that she stars in the international musical “Here Lies Love.“
Fan of Pinoy singers
Jaya’s version of the Gary Valenciano original “Sana Maulit Muli,” so impresssed MiG, he wants to learn the song and perhaps record it someday.
”I hope my Tagalog will be better when I come back to the Philippines,” he says.
New York-based MiG is no stranger to local music. He’s a huge fan of Nyoy Volante, Aiza Seguerra and Vina Morales.
“What I love about Filipino artists is they don’t do things for the money, they do it for the love (of their craft). They do everything themselves. They warm each other up. In Broadway, everyone has a specific job demarcation. You do your job, I do mine. In the Philippines, all hands (are on board). I like that because I’m a bit of a control freak myself. I want to get involved in the editing process, in developing the work.”
This, and the warmth of family, are what MiG longs for, now that he’s back in London to rehearse on the Michael Jackson-inspired musical “Thriller Live.” He’ll be touring Australia and New Zealand starting December and hopes to back in the Philippines by March next year.
“If I can come back to the Philippines every few months and travel the world, that will be a perfect combination,” he beams.
But no matter where he goes, MiG will always wear a smile whenever he thinks of cousins, aunts and uncles back in the Philippines. Yes, he left his heart in the land where he – and his ancestors –were born.