Simon says: 'Live life fearlessly.'
MANILA, Philippines - The weather was extremely windy on the day I met with Hidden Cities: Extreme presenter Simon Yin at the New World Hotel in Makati.
The serene meeting room was, of course, a total contrast from the howling chaos outside.
Simon and I were joined by a couple of executives from the History Channel and Simon’s PR representative in the Philippines.
Simon looks Asian in every way but he grew up in the States and built his career there, up until the move to Hong Kong more than 4 years ago.
He is a writer, producer, director and MTV VJ (and it was easy to imagine him working those roles).
It was, however, an effort to visualize Simon free-diving and spear-fishing (simultaneously, mind you) in the deep seas of Southern Phiippines, or climbing up a towering coconut tree to try and extract wine (tuba) from the coconuts, or going behind the wheel of a customized jeepney — the “King of the Roads” they call it — and navigating Cebu’s crazy thoroughfares.
But these adventures are exactly what he came here for.
Simon commends the History Channel for picking him to host the new season of Hidden Cities: Extreme, the new adventure show that is more fast-paced and more extreme than the previous seasons and episodes.
“Choosing me to host is something new for the Asia Pacific region,” he says, “They could have picked a different looking host, of another color, someone who is skinnier... sexier.”
But Simon was offered the opportunity because his personality matches the program’s identity. He is the “extreme person” the network was looking for.
The History Channel executives agreed on the words to describe him: energetic, colorful, adventurous.
Simon auditioned as host for the original Hidden Cities series, but it was Anthony Morse who got the job.
“Anthony was definitely the guy for Hidden Cities,” Simon admits. “He was just so friendly and amazing, but I guess I left an impression with the History Channel so when they created this show, they gave me a call.”
“Horseback riding, fishing, rock climbing, I have done all of that,” Simon shares. “I’m an outdoorsy guy; I play tennis, basketball, all the traditional Western sports... I like adventure, and I’m looking forward to the challenges.”
For the first season of Hidden Cities: Extreme, Simon will be travelling all over Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and China after the Philippine leg of his tour.
He will be trekking the Malaysian jungle with members of the indigenous Batek tribe in search of a popular animal. In Indonesia, he will come face to face with a King Cobra and then try his hand at mud wrestling. In Thailand, Simon will shoot a squirm-worthy segment as he devours one of the biggest insects in the country.
These are just a few of the challenges he will face in these places, because each 30-minute episode will be packed with mind-blowing action.
Simon hopes to pass on his points of view about these journeys to his Hidden Cities: Extreme audience. In creating each episode, he wishes that viewers will “have fun, become inspired to go and find their own adventures, and get motivated to explore things they normally wouldn’t do.”
The show’s message is crystal clear: “Live life fearlessly... do what you want and find your happiness in it.”
Simon Yin understands that things are unpredictable and that there will be some hard times ahead. “I know that things are not going to go the way I expect them to, but I intend to go with the flow, be flexible... try to be tough.”
Simon Yin’s brand new show Hidden Cities: Extreme will start airing on the History Channel in October this year.
Simon says that “viewers in the region are going to experience a lot of things that they only hear or read about... the adventures are all real and people are having them on a daily basis in these hidden cities.” - Rappler.com