What’s For Breakfast?


I have read all the medical reports about how important the first meal of the day is…for years. For me, the first meal of the day is not usually Breakfast any longer but it is usually Brunch.

Cooking for one person is not fun for me, although I do at times. Only for me.

If I have leftover Pizza or Chili on hand, I will eat one or the other for Brunch. However, I do not have leftover Pizza or Chili on hand everyday.

Cooking Oatmeal or Poaching an Egg to eat on toast is a snap for me but I often do not want to. So, I constantly look online for the good Brunch Recipes. I also take a stroll down Memory Lane and think about what I ate for the first meal of the day when I was growing up. Usually somewhere in the Southern USA.

Many Brunch and Breakfast Choices

Pascual branded Greek Yogurt is available in our area and I can buy it by the case at the distributor, Asia Brewery. Greek Yogurt, Chickpeas and Feta Cheese is a recommended Mediterranean Breakfast or Brunch.

An Over EZ Egg Sandwich on an English Muffin or on your choice of Bread, with Cheese and Mushrooms is another suggestion.

Scrambled Eggs with Tofu and Curry Sauce does not float my boat! No, I will pass on that suggestion.

Avocado, Tomato and Cheese Platter for Brunch is something I can get into.

Hash Browns with Refried Beans and Egg of choice sounds good to me!

I like Steel Cut Oats and I like Rolled Oats but I do not want to eat those everyday over the long haul. Most of the Quaker Oats I see in our area are overloaded with Sugar. No thanks for me.

A couple of days ago, I had a Cheese Omelet on a split Croissant. It hit the spot!


In South Carolina, I had Deep Fried Catfish with Grits and Cornbread, Toast or a Biscuit more times than once. Always good and I wish I could eat it on Saturday! Also She Crab and Grits.

I like Eggs Benedict and I make it but I leave off the Hollandaise Sauce. Purists may not like it but I am the one eating the Eggs Benedict and they can prepare it the way they like it.

Dried Fish with Rice, Instant Noodles, Rice with Corned Beef/Beef Tapa/Tocino/Longaniza/Hot Dog and Fried Egg remain popular among Filipinos in our area for their first meal of the day. Do not forget the Coffee! I also eat those, often referred to as Tapsilog in the Visayas to cover all, other than just Tapa.


I enjoy Lugaw and my wife makes great Lugaw. Yellow Rice with Boiled Eggs made into a Porridge or she will leave off the Boiled Eggs and add Shredded Chicken Meat. Both are good but my wife knows I never, never, eat Eggs and Chicken together.

Pan de sal with Peanut Butter is a local Breakfast that I enjoy. A Southern version would be Cornbread with Honey or Table Syrup…and Butter. What about Cornbread Apple Fritters?

I like the purple colored Salted Duck Egg with Sliced Tomato but my wife advised me not to eat this as the first meal of the day. I asked her why not and she just told me..It is not good for you!

I never had the Elvis Special, Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich, deep fried after being dipped in butter. Or so the story goes, as I never had breakfast with Elvis!

I think Southern Cuisine has some of the best Breakfast and Brunch dishes, at least that I enjoy. I will eat Sausage Gravy over Biscuits even at supper time. I also enjoy Grits any time of the day or night. There is also Bacon Gravy over Biscuits.


If I have Biscuits, I will have a good Brunch or Breakfast or for any meal. The Dixie Special is a large Cathead Biscuit with Ham, Sausage Patty, Bacon, Scrambled Egg, Sliced Tomato and plain White Gravy. Now, we’re talking!

Whatta bout Ham Steak with Red Eye Gravy, Biscuits and Fried Apples?

Of course, Waffles, Pancakes and Johnny Cakes, aka Hoecakes, are good to me. The Native Americans in Florida had Fry Bread available, Corn as well, often with Gator Tail, Turtle, Raccoon, Bobcat, Deer or Otter.

Have a great Breakfast or Brunch!

I hope to see you one day, somewhere….all around Bacolod!

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

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Sardines


Yes, it is bad news for those living on a limited or daily income, concerning price increases. Many people in the Philippines depend upon the lower prices of canned Fish and Instant Noodles. Just to eat every day!

The DTI, Dept of Trade and Industry, has a website for price checking of basic and prime commodities in the Philippines but their website is not working properly for going on two weeks now.

Canned Fish, such as Sardines, Mackerel and Tuna are considered as Basic Necessities by DTI and they are supposedly keeping check on their retail pricing. To prevent Gouging.

Sardines Are Healthy

I buy canned Sardines and always have 3 or 4 cans on hand. I do not keep a mental note of the exact price of Mega, 555, Ligo, Saba, Capitan del Mar, Family’s Brand, Young’s Town, Master brands of Sardines but I know they are usually P11-P15 per can. Depending upon the brand.

I do not buy Sardines every week but I replace the stock I have on hand, as needed. I prefer buying Victorias Spanish Sardines, which are canned in Victorias City, Negros Occidental, Saba Sardines Adobo, Mikado Sardines and imported Portuguese Sardines. Among the local favorites, I buy both Mega and Ligo Sardines in Tomato Sauce.


When I was growing up, my Dad was a US Navy Officer, a real US Navy Officer, who lived, breathed, ate and slept the World’s Greatest Navy. However, my parents, my brother and I enjoyed eating Sardines on Saltine Crackers with Louisiana Hot Sauce. Thankfully, that was not our main meal of the day.

Inflation and the Sardine War

Sardines Premium Brands are not cheap in America these days. Certainly not as in years past. Crown Prince Sardines in Oil are now selling for $1.85 per can. Best I recall, Crown Prince Sardines were a product of Scotland.

Bumble Bee Sardines in water, canned in Poland, are about the cheapest in America at 89 cents per can. Walmart sells Brunswick Sardines for 96 cents per can.

King Oscar Sardines, sold in America, were also great Sardines, Product of Norway.


A brand of Sardines that I am familiar with in the Southern USA, is Possum Sardines. Those were great! Sadly, the long arm of the FEDS stepped in and put Possum Sardines out of business. According to News Reports. Possum Sardines owned their signature brand, as well as Admiral, Neptune, Bull Frog, Port Clyde and Admiral Sardines. They were the largest supplier of Sardines and when they tried to buy Bumble Bee Sardines, that is when the FEDS stepped in. Proving Possum Sardines was guilty under the RICO Act was over the top and a stretch of the imagination but they were found guilty of…Monopolizing Sardines! Wow, whatta crime!

With the death of Possum Sardines, Brunswick Sardines became most popular in the Southern USA. I also bought Brunswick Sardines when I was still in Alabama and Florida. I liked the Brunswick Sardines packed in Mustard Sauce and Brunswick Sardines packed in Louisiana Hot Sauce. However, Brunswick Sardines are a Canadian Company and not a Brunswick, Georgia Company.


The export version of the Philippines branded Ligo Sardines is internationally recognized as Quality Sardines. Ligo recently landed on a Top 10 List of the World’s Best Sardines in one write up.


After writing this article, I am about to have Mega Sardines on Sky Flake Crackers with Louisiana Hot Sauce.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod!

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Adjusting to Life in the Philippines


There are indeed adjustments to be made to Life in the Philippines. Depending upon location and personal attitudes, it may not be a walk in the park for some expats. The transition was EZ for me. A number of expats from the Southern USA are taken back to another time in America, as there is a correlation of the laid back Southern lifestyle, as is still found in some areas of the Philippines today.

After being away for so many years and living abroad, even some returning Filipinos cannot make the transition to living here year round. They like to visit for a few months each year but they do not want to really live here full time.

I can honestly say that over the past 31 years of my experience of living in the Philippines 3 times and visiting annually, many foreigners made the adjustment. Among those who I have come to know and some, even befriended. The main reason they made the adjustment is because they wanted to. They realized that the Philippines is not back home. The Philippines as a whole is not trying to be like any other location around the world.

What You See Is What You Get

It is what it is. Like it or not and take it or leave it. Bacolod is not ever going to be Florida and I do not expect it to. I have long accepted the Philippines as it is. It is not Loxahatchee, Apalachicola, the Everglades, Sopchoppy, Cedar Key, Live Oak, Ft Walton Beach, Orlando or Miami Beach.

The last year, after the 2016 Philippines Presidential Election, has been much different than any time I have been here since 1986. Much different! A different Admin, a different Agenda and a different Direction.

And then there are the laws. Some foreigners think they can say or do anything here and the law is the same as in the USA or as in other home countries. Foreigners living in the Philippines are living under all the Philippine Laws. Freedom of Speech only goes so far. Libel and Slander are Crimes in the Philippines and not just Civil Offenses.

There are also Filipino Cultural Taboos, which a number of expats do not know about, while others are not interested in knowing about!

The Food Issue


I think for the most part, the expat food issue has been solved in the adjustment, especially for those living in mid-size and large cities. During the last 5 years, more and more food items that I enjoy have arrived in Bacolod and are readily available much of the year. Not all but many. Some food items turn up, are then sold out, never to appear again.

There are probably a few food items that I have forgotten about but if I do not think about them, then I do not want them or need them. I had not forgotten about Johnsonville Italian Sausage and it is now available at Cafe Bob’s Deli. I did not buy all their stock but I bought 2 packages. Silva Linguica Portuguese Sausage also returned to Bob’s.

That’s What Friends Are For

I think your life will be much more rewarding in the Philippines when you have good Filipino friends. I know someone in our area of the Philippines who can help me with anything that arises. Anything! Problems, bumps in the roads, inconveniences, trouble on the rise, can all be nipped in the bud if you have a good network of Filipino friends. I have found if they don’t know what to do to assist, they know someone who does. A friend of a friend of a friend or a relative. Maybe even a friend of a relative.

The Philippines is a great place with beautiful people. Whether you are planning to move here to live or not, I hope you will at least visit the Philippines one day. I think you will be glad that you did.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

A Day At Cafe Bob’s Deli


My best Filipino friend, Randy, and I went to Cafe Bob’s Deli this afternoon to kill some time. He ordered America Brewed Coffee and I ordered 1 bottle of Kawayan Ale, made by the Negros Island Craft Brewery. A great Ale, to say the least! I also ordered 1 bottle to go.


My friend and I had already eaten lunch at home. I had the more recently posted about, The Spam Burger! With Sriracha Mayonnaise, which I made. It has bite but is not overly spicy.

Bob’s Deli Grocery has a new supply of Johnsonville Italian Sausage, which I had to have! Bob’s has many other new items in stock, such as Jack Daniels Horseradish Mustard and more Spice It brand Creole Seasoning. Bob’s Deli always has a large supply of Deli Cold Cuts and Cheeses.


Take a Look Around!

I always enjoy dropping in Bob’s Deli for a cold beer and for browsing. For hard to find foreign food products, Bob’s is the go to place.

Bob’s Deli also has a Bakery. I bought a package of Ciabatta Baguettes, a very good version of the Verona, Italy original. Also, a package of Cinnamon Rolls.

I do not own stock in Cafe Bob’s Deli but I wish I did! Bob’s has a number of branches in Bacolod City but their Deli is on Lacson Street. Bob’s recently opened a Spanish Tapas Restaurant on CL Monteilbano in Bacolod.

I hope to see ya one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod. Maybe at Bob’s Deli?

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Looking For Love in All The Wrong Places


I talked to an American friend the other day and the conversation turned to relationships. He has lived full time in the Philippines for more than a decade. He had several sad stories to share, as well as a number of good stories.

My friend is still single but he has not given up, however, he is smarter now then he was even 5 years ago. Marriage is no longer a priority in his life. He said he is not a playboy but he decided he liked the freedom to just date different women.

Internet chat sites, single bars, street girls and girlie bars but no overall longer term positive results. He finally realized that a key to success in any of those venues is very slim.

Grifters and Con Artists

An American Expat posted 3 or 4 times about meeting local women on the internet in Cebu, inviting them over to his house and then having money and possessions stolen not long afterward. It is risky behavior. There is no honor among grifters, con artists or scammers and they are found in every country around the round world! A new victim is only the click of the computer keyboard away!

I was asked one time…which city is the best to meet a good wife? I did not have an answer of an actual city. I know guys who are happily married to Filipinas from Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. I also know guys who were taken to the cleaners by women from the same Regions. I added that a younger lady from a Provincial Area, if they are hell bent on a 20 something year old in a relationship, may raise the odds of a successful relationship but even that is not a guarantee. Personally, I think a 30 or more age gap in a relationship is bad news for both parties, more times than not!

There is no way a man or a woman can really get to know their soon to be spouse during a short term whirlwind relationship of a few weeks. Both sides make the mistake of jumping into the ring of fire too soon. They seem to think if they do not jump in now, there may not be another chance for them. Once the knot is tied in the Philippines, it is not EZ to untie that knot!

True Romance

I have been asked about my relationship with my wife of 14 years. I am a man, she is a women. We met in Hong Kong, we dated, we maintained a non-live in relationship in two different locations in Hong Kong/China for 20 months before we married. We knew each other very well. We were both working as professionals in our career.

People can front for a few weeks and for a few months, but their true self comes out after a year, most often before 6 months! Many times within a few months.

Why the Philippines?

Many foreigners have heard that many of the fine women in the Philippines are Christian, they are Conservative, they are family oriented, they are very friendly & outgoing, they are fun loving, they like to sing, many like to dance, many know how to have wholesome fun and most all speak English. It is no secret that women in the Philippines have won more Beauty Competitions than any other country! They possess Beauty, both outward and inward. This characteristic is not EZ finding in 2017 within just any location in the world today.

Sadly, there are foreigners who are also Grifters and they come to the Philippines with one purpose. To exploit the Beauty of the Country. All foreigners are not good people and some are actually heinous and pure evil in their intentions and in their behavior. That is the reality.

Friendly Advice

To all the single guys, I can only say…take time to know her. She is not the only woman in the Philippines and she will not be the last woman in the Philippines, so no need to rush into something you have no realistic idea what you are getting into.

Men and Women alike, who use the internet for date chatting usually have more than one person lined up. Whoever arrives first with the most usually gets the prize…forever how long that may last. On both sides of the aisle!

Last but not least. I have posted about it and I have personally told foreigners about it many times. The most overlooked age group among women in the Philippines is 32-45. Many have realistic expectations about a potential relationship with a foreigner. They possess a level sense of maturity and they are not teenyboppers in their 20s. All women in this age group of 32-45 are not married and all do not have children. A number of them have long careers, own their own house or are buying their own house and they have a vehicle. Yes, they drive. They are not looking for a foreigner to feed their poor family. I know a number of Filipinas in their mid 30s to mid 40s who are down right beautiful. Even some in their 50s and on into their 60s! You can believe that!

I wish all the single folks the very best.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Tenderizing Pork Shoulder Ribs


I am trying a new method of tenderizing Pork Ribs and other cuts of Pork. when suspected of being…tough.

I made a Brine to marinate a rack of Pork Shoulder Ribs in the ref, for 12 hours. Water, Coarse Salt, Black Pepper Corns, Brown Sugar, White Vinegar and Toyomansi Sauce.

I had bought 2 racks of Pork Shoulder Ribs at SM Supermarket. I marinated the first rack in Pineapple Juice and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauces, however, not long enough. The Pork Ribs were not as tender as we like them.

I really do not like boiling Meat before Grilling. The slow cooker will take the Pork Ribs right off the bone, over- tender, and I like the Rib Bones intact.

The Sauce Makes the Difference!


I often make my own BBQ Sauce, however, I also buy several different flavors of Commercial BBQ Sauce, readily available in Bacolod City Supermarkets. Bulls-Eye Original BBQ Sauce is a personal favorite. I also enjoy Kraft Mesquite Smoke BBQ Sauce and Hunt’s Hickory BBQ Sauce. Basting Pork Ribs on the grill with a thick BBQ Sauce should be near the end of the grilling because it will burn if applied too early. A bit of blackening is alright but I do not like solid blackening. I greatly enjoy BBQ Ribs!


Due to a time constraint, I put the Pork Shoulder Ribs on the Grill last evening after 10 hours of marinating, instead of at least 12 hours. On a scale of 1-10, I rate using the Brine Marinade for tenderizing…7.5.

The Pork Shoulder Ribs were tender enough and I did not want them falling off the bone.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Leftover Rice?


Leftover Rice? My wife cooks extra rice each day because she mixes some of the rice with other food to feed our Belgian Malinois, Tasha. Tasha is our pet dog, of course, and she enjoys eating the Rice dishes much more than eating commercial dog food. No doubt, a full dog is a happy dog!

What About Me?

I use White Rice to make several dishes I enjoy. Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage, Black Beans and Rice with Grilled or Roast Pork, Stir Fried Rice and Spanish Rice.

Early on when I began cooking for myself, years ago, I did not know to use Cold Rice from the ref to make Stir Fried Rice but I quickly learned my mistake by asking what I was doing wrong.

Some people use leftover Rice to make Dirty Rice but I am not one of them. When cooking the Rice with all the ingredients together, wow, the Rice really soaks up all the flavors. Chicken Livers and Ground Beef make a much more flavorful Dirty Rice than using Chicken Livers and Chicken Gizzards. Onion, Celery and Bell Pepper round out the ingredients. Garlic is optional.


Rice Pudding can be made simply with Milk, Sugar and Vanilla Extract. To kick up your Rice Pudding a few notches, add Raisins, a beaten Egg and bake in the oven.

Rice, Ground Beef and whatever you enjoy adding make very good Stuffed Bell Peppers. Mushrooms are a great addition.

Deep Fried Rice Balls require more prep but nothing major. Cold or at least chilled Rice should be used. One-three Eggs, depending on how many Rice Balls you plan deep frying, grated Parmesan, Mozzarella or Cheddar Cheese and Japanese Breadcrumbs are the ingredients. Make the Rice Balls by hand and deep fry.

Milk poured over Leftover Rice, with sugar added, makes a nice Rice Cereal. I ate this often in the South, long before I ever came to the Philippines.

Rice is nice, when I use it to make Rice dishes, however, I am not a fan of plain white Rice as a side dish. If it has, at the very least, Gravy over it, I am happy.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

The Evolution of Sisig and Mayonnaise


For years in the Philippines, Sisig has been associated with drinking sessions, as Pulutan. Also, lesser known, nutrition for pregnant women in the Philippines. However, these days, Sisig is a staple at Filipino Restaurants, most often served on a sizzling plate.

On the home turf, Sisig was made with pig cheeks, pig snouts, smothered with onions and laced with red hot peppers.

Maybe foreigners would not like pig ears and pig tails any better than pig cheeks but it is a step up.

Sisig has now evolved. Ground Pork, Ground Beef, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Tuna, Squid, Shellfish are all being utilized to create Special Sisig. Other ingredients include Calamansi, Pineapple Juice, Black Peppercorns, Salt, White Onion and Chili Peppers. The new chefs on the block recommend garnishing Sisig with Mayonnaise and an Over EZ Egg.

Mayonnaise

Kewpie is probably not the go to Mayonnaise to put on your Cold Cut Sandwiches but it is good with Asian dishes. Like Sisig! In China, where I was an English teacher for 9 years, that was the only brand of Mayonnaise available where we lived, unless you took the A-Train to Hong Kong for shopping.

For years in Bacolod, I bought Home Brand Mayonnaise, Product of Freedonia, NY, but this year, I am buying Kraft Mayonnaise since it appeared on the scene. Surprisingly, I never see Hellmanns Mayonnaise in Bacolod City.

I have never tried Best Foods Mayonnaise, which I see everywhere. I have tried Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise in a pinch and that was it! It is not bad but it is not my choice.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Pork Chops at Olimba


Yesterday, I dropped by Olimba Resto Grill on Lopez Jaena Street, Barangay 31, in Bacolod City. If you are looking for good Native Food, a place to spend the night in a Pension House, a place to receive a Wellness Therapeutic Massage and a place to sing Karaoke, I can tell you the place to go. Olimba! It is also a Coffee Shop and they are open 24/7.

Cold Beer


For sure, you can order San Miguel Light or Red Horse Beer at Olimba.

Great People and Great Service

I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of Olimba, Cherry, and several of her family members. They are all very friendly and they will treat you nicely. The price is the same, for one and all, as no higher price for foreigners.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod. Maybe it will be at Olimba?

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Cure All Chicken Soup


Tried and true for many decades, the Cure All Chicken Soup has been used by Hilots and Quack Doctors in the Philippines with much success. Especially from the onset of Colds and Flu.

The Chicken must be 100% Organic, aka Free Range, aka Yard Chicken. Place the whole chicken in a pot, cover with water and boil it. Do not remove the neck or the skin. After an hour or so, remove the meat but do not remove the carcass, the neck and skin from the broth.

Next, add one whole Medium to Large Onion, shredded fresh Ginger, freshly shredded organic Carrots, Malunggay and at least one clove of minced Garlic. Keep a soft boil for another hour. You can add Salt and Pepper to taste.

Enjoy the soup.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~