TFC News

Disney show 'Firebuds' showcases Filipino talents on- and off-screen

Yong Chavez | TFC News Burbank, California

Posted at Nov 14 2022 02:29 PM | Updated as of Nov 15 2022 09:42 AM

Lou Diamond Phillips and JB Tadena. Photo credit: JB Tadena/Twitter
(L-R) Lou Diamond Phillips and JB Tadena JB Tadena/Twitter

Filipino talents are front and center in 'Firebuds,' a Disney Junior series about heroic first responders.

Lou Diamond Phillips voices Chief Bill Bayani, while another Fil-Am actor, JB Tadena, plays retired fireman and the family's patriarch, Lolo Ben.

Lolo Ben, Bo Bayani, Chief Bill Bayani. Photo credit: Courtesy: Disney 'Firebuds'
(L-R) Lolo Ben, Bo Bayani, Chief Bill Bayani Disney "Firebuds"

The series also stars Declan Whaley, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jecobi Swain and many other talented actors.

One of its main cast members is Vivian Vencer who voices Violet.

Violet. Photo credit: Disney 'Firebuds'
Violet Disney "Firebuds"

"It feels really great. I've never seen a Filipino American character in television before, especially like animation. And so it's really amazing to be able to represent my culture and my family. I've seen a lot of other Asian American characters before but never anyone that's actually Filipino," Vencer said.

"So it's just really great because I'm giving little girls and little boys like someone to kind of look up to and relate to on television, which is really important to me."

Vivian Vencer
Vivian Vencer Yong Chavez

Vencer is the daughter of Fil-Am actress Liza Del Mundo who starred as the former Philippine first lady in the East West Players stage musical 'Imelda'.

Bo Bayani and Chief Bill Bayani. Photo credit: Disney 'Firebuds'
Bo Bayani and Chief Bill Bayani Disney "Firebuds"

'Firebuds' creator and executive producer Craig Gerber shared why he thought of making the show with many Filipino influences.

He said, "I grew up in Los Angeles. I spent most of my life in Southern California, and one of the things I noticed was what a huge and rich Filipino community there is here and in fact, the second largest metropolitan community for Filipinos outside of the Philippines. So I felt like there wasn't enough presence in the media of Filipino culture, and so that was really what motivated me to make Filipino characters the center of 'Firebuds'."

Photo credit: Disney 'Firebuds'
Disney "Firebuds"

Behind-the-scenes Filipino talents include writer Krystal Banzon. Filipino traditions and food are also incorporated in the show and will be shown more in upcoming episodes.

'Firebuds' can be seen on Disney Junior, Disney Channel, and Disney+.

Watch more News on iWantTFC