Campuestohon Highland Resort

Are you ready for a spectacular view of Negros Occidental, the sea and Panay Island? You can see all the beauty from Campuestohan Highland Resort, which is about 40 minutes from the downtown area, located on the border of Bacolod City and Talisay City. Pass through Barangay Granada in Bacolod City and follow the signs. It is an uphill ride to Campuestohan Highland Resort. Admission is P150 per head and includes use of the swimming pool. A cottage rental for the day starts at P600, which includes a BBQ grill. Campuestohan Highland Resort is such a wonderful place to spend the day during a family outing. Our visit was part of our Thanksgiving Weekend Celebration last week.

Entrance

We are Fam-i-ly!

Children’s Playground

Pool Area

Mountain View

Nipa House in Background

Many people live on the mountain where Campuestohan is located. On the road, along the way, a ten hectare farm was pointed out that is owned by world famous boxer Manny Pacquiao. 

Jun Jun Making Pineapple Boats

Pineapple Boat

Empty Pineapple Boat!

Yep, we finished off the pineapple. These were Dole Pineapples, grown in Mindanao.

Dolphins

Log Cabin

Inside the log cabin are hotel rooms for overnight. We brought our own food to have a picnic and we also grilled fish beside the day cottage. However, we were told that Sinugba Restaurant is or will be located at the resort.

Day Cottage

We enjoyed Campuestohan Highland Resort so much that we are already planning a trip again in the near future! It was about ten degrees cooler at Campuestohan than in the city of Bacolod. Around 530pm, it was really nice, cool weather. Campuestohan is one of the newest resorts in the area and they are adding more fun things to do in the near future, such as a zipline adventure. We look forward to our next visit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving in Bacolod City

Thanksgiving is not a holiday or a festival that is widely celebrated in our area of the Philippines. However, Filipinos with Americans in their family and Filipino-Americans, who spent years in the States, celebrate Thanksgiving.

The first three Thanksgivings we have lived in the Bacolod Area, we always bought a Butterball Turkey or a Norbest Turkey and had it prepared in the Filipino style, lechon turkey. The turkey was stuffed with lemongrass, other herbs and spices, placed on a bamboo pole and roasted over hot coals. Wow! Crispy skin, while tender and juicy on the inside.

This year, we decided to go with something a little different. Recently, I saw four imported hams from America for sale at SM Supermarket. Virginia American Tenderized Ham. It has been more than 12 years since I had an American ham, still intact on the bone. We bought the ham to have for our Thanksgiving Celebration on November 22, 2012.

Virginia Ham

This Virginia Ham was 2.4 kilos, which is a 5 pound ham.

Cooked Virginia Ham

The ham was precooked and we baked it about 90 minutes in the oven. The pineapple rings were added about half way through the baking process. My wife made a ham sauce to my taste, which is pineapple juice, brown sugar and Heinz yellow mustard.

Ham Sauce

Sweet Corn

Sweet Potatoes, aka Camote

Sweet corn on the cob and camote, sweet potatoes, are common Filipino snack foods everyday, so I raised a few eyebrows having them both for the Thanksgiving meal but these are two foods which were always staples at our home for Thanksgiving, when I was growing up. Sweet potatoes and corn are Thanksgiving foods!

We did have Bird, too, for Thanksgiving.

Baked Chicken Leg Quarters

We had a few Filipino friends over to share our Thanksgiving Celebration for a wonderful evening meal. Everyone enjoyed the Virginia Ham!

This was our 4th Thanksgiving Celebration in the Bacolod Area and every year, we have more and more to be thankful for. We are all healthy and blessed. My family and I are enjoying our lives everyday in Bacolod.

Gangnam Style-Bacolod Style

The Korean Wave is popular in Bacolod City. We can watch Korean TV shows on ABS-CBN TV but the language is in Tagalog. There are many Korean students and Korean business owners in our city. New Korean restaurants open up almost monthly. Pizzaro is a pizzeria located in Goldenfield, Bacolod, which also has Korean food on their menu. There are a number of small Korean grocery stores in the city. SM Supermarket has one half aisle of Korean food products.

One of my favorite restaurants in Ft Walton Beach, Florida was The Seoul House. Gina’s Place was another good Korean Restaurant. Korean owned and manged. They both had great Korean food that was the Real Deal! They did not pull punches and they served Korean food that was not catered or changed for anyone. Korean food is what you ordered and Korean food is what you got! Yes, it is spicy and it is hot. I really enjoy good kimchi and it is available all around Bacolod. It would be nice to find the ultimate real deal Korean Restaurant in Bacolod City. It is still elusive at this point. Help?

This was a great program put on by students at a local school. Gangnam Style-Bacolod Style!

Gangnam Style-Bacolod Style

 

This wasn’t exactly a Gangnam Style flash mob, but still a great performance. Parents, students, teachers and others in attendance were doing the Gangnam style at their seats, as others were standing in the background. With hands on my hips, even I can break out into the leg kicking Gangnam style routine. I was riding horses back in rural Alabama when I was still a teenager, so that is the easy part. Oppa is just my style.

 

More Expat Comfort Food in the Philippines

Comfort food is not the same across the board. Other than personal tastes and likes, the country and the particular region of that country also has a vast influence on Expat Comfort Food in the Philippines.

Great Northern Beans with Black Forest Ham

Fried Cornbread

Now for me, this is a real Happy Meal! Great Northern Beans with Black Forest Ham and Fried Cornbread. Some of my family members and friends back in the States are always amazed that I can readily buy the food products I enjoy in Bacolod City to prepare excellent dishes at home. The Black Forest Ham is available at Aribu Sausages and Cold Cuts, located in the Mandalagan Art District. If the dried Great Northern Beans are not in stock at one of the Bacolod Supermarkets, you can buy the canned beans. The brand is Molinera and sold under the name “White Beans.” Just simmer a couple cans of the Molinera White Beans in a large pot, add the shredded Black Forest Ham and you got it going on! Don’t forget to open the cans and pour the beans into the pot but you know that already!

Getting the cornmeal to make cornbread is a little trickier. Bob’s Deli Grocery on Lacson Street is the only place I have ever found packaged cornmeal in Bacolod City and it is out of stock much more often than in stock. The alternative and much cheaper, is to buy corn in the public market and have the grinder grind it to your specifications. The grinder at Masinlingan Public Market in Bacolod charges P45 per kilo to grind the corn. We often get one texture of cornmeal for making cornbread and one texture to be used in battering fish and meat.

Popcorn Chicken

The grind of cornmeal used to turn out these food nuggets, popcorn chicken, is coarser than the cornmeal to make cornbread.

I have been eating and enjoying Filipino Cuisine since 1986. For this expat, some of the dishes are also excellent comfort food.

Pinakbet

A variation of Pinakbet is found in almost every Region of the Philippines. Our version includes the vegetables pumpkin/squash, green beans, eggplant, okra, ampalaya/bitter melon, onions and garlic. Sometimes, we add tomato. We always add Barrio Fiesta bagoong or shrimp paste. In this particular dish, we added chicken still on the bone, which is not so common. Mostly, you will see shirmp and/or pork in Pinakbet.

There are a number of homemade soups that I would include among my personal comfort food but that will be another post. I don’t really know what your personal comfort foods are but I think you will find the ingredients to make them in Bacolod City and you may even find them in one of the excellent restaurants in the city.

 

 

Foodie at Home in Bacolod

We enjoy going out to eat in local restaurants several times each week but my wife and I agree that the best food we enjoy is made at home. Eating for Filipinos doesn’t seem to be a problem but some expats are picky about their variety of food and I am to some extent but not overboard. I don’t require my food to be imported from the USA, Europe, Australia or New Zealand. There are a few food items, which are part of my diet, that just aren’t produced in the Philippines, so yeah, I buy those imported items as needed.

Breakfast is touted as the most important meal of the day. For me, I often eat Brunch instead of breakfast but I do have a few breakfast favorites. Rolled Oats, which are imported from Australia, is one. Grits, imported from the USA, is another. Grits consist of coarsely ground white corn and served as a thick porridge. I enjoy pancakes and my favorite one step hotcake mix is a product of the Philippines. It is Pillsbury Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Hotcake Mix, readily available at SM Supermarket.

Eggs Benedict

One of my real favorite breakfast foods is Eggs Benedict. There are probably many recipes for this delightful dish but I have my own. An egg poacher is not required! I start with 3 cups of water in a deep wok. I add one capfull of white vinegar and bring the water to a boil. To make things easy, I crack each egg into a separate, small coffee cup and just slide the eggs into the boiling water in the wok. One at a time. My eggs are usually ready in 2-3 minutes and are still over easy but cooked with enough heat for safe eating. During the process of poaching the eggs, I also have my English muffins split and in the toaster. I have my Canadian Bacon ready to go. English Muffin first on the plate, add the Canadian Bacon and the poached egg goes on top. I don’t add Hollandaise Sauce to my Eggs Benedict but purists must have it. Go for it! A splash of Worcestershire or hot sauce is popular among others.

I buy English Muffins from Kuster’s Food Hub in Lopues Mandalagan Shopping Center. Canadian Bacon is available at Aribu’s Sausages and Cold Cuts in the Mandalagan Art District.

Snack time! I don’t eat potato chips everyday but I like them from time to time. I make sure I have some on hand when I do want potato chips. Lay’s Potato Chips are available at local supermarkets but there are several Philippine brand potato chips that are very good.

Farmer John Mesquite BBQ Potato Chips

Farmer John makes several flavors of potato chips and they are all very good, in my opinion.

Outback Potato Chips

The potatoes used to make these chips are 100% USA potatoes, the name is Outback and made in the Philippines. Great marketing! The potato chips are very good.

American Heritage Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Great for snacks, great on burgers, in chili con carne, on sandwiches and in salads. American Heritage is imported from Green Bay, Wisconsin. It is available at Lopues Mandalagan and the cost is P169 per package.

What is for supper? BBQ ribs. I will save that Foodie at Home for my next post. As Chef Bobby Flay always says, it is time for “Grillin’ N Chillin!”

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Greeno’s Pizza in Bacolod

Located at the beginning of Lacson Extension, off Alijis Road, is Rio Greeno’s Pizza. Not to be confused with “Greeno’z Pizza” on Alijis Road. Rio Greeno’s is located in what look likes a two story house. We were there recently for a pizza to go, for taking to the beach.

While we did not dine in, there is a spacious dining area. Other than pizza and pasta, Rio Greeno’s also has Filipino and Swiss Food on their menu.

Waiting for Pizza

The wait for pizza was not long but long enough to enjoy a refreshing drink and look over the menu.

A cold one

There is a nice waiting area if you are taking pizza out.

Swiss Menu

Just a small peek for you concerning the Swiss Food on the menu.

Pizza Menu

A sneak peek at the Pizza Menu. There are more than 12 pizzas listed on the menu but you can also customize your own pizza.

Wall of Postcards

Take time out to look at the wall of postcards from Switzerland and other places.

Pepperoni Pizza

Rio Greeno’s turns out the kind of pizza I enjoy and that is, one made from scratch. I judge a good pizza by its crust. It doesn’t matter to me what the toppings are if the crust is not good. The kind of pizza that turns me off are the ones made from thick, prefab dough. Yeah, you know the place! Rio Greeno’s is not it. No, I am not getting paid to write this. Our son is also an excellent judge of good pizza and he enjoys Rio Greeno’s Pizza. He has been a little outspoken in the past when we would order pizza at other restaurants. When the pizza arrived at our table and before even tasting it, he said, “You call this pizza?” It is not the waiter or waitress’s fault, son. He understands now, not to be so outspoken. 

Pizza on the Beach

In line with one of the purposes of All Around Bacolod, I think that Rio Greeno’s is a restaurant that expats will enjoy going to and having a pizza and/or trying their Swiss Menu. We had rather dine in but we had already planned a beach trip last Saturday and we wanted to take pizza instead of having a BBQ on the beach.