The Court of Ramen and House of Bread

Ramen
The Bacolod Weekend Farmers Market is receiving attention for being a lot more than a place to buy produce! There is a wonderful baker selling her fabulous bread and other baked delights. There is also a very nice food court at the farmers market where a Japanese chef serves up fresh ramen noodles every Saturday until 6pm.

The Weekend Farmers Market is located on Magsaysay Street, between Luxur Place Hotel and the Asia Brewery Sales Office.

ramen

I ordered a bowl of the fresh ramen noodles and I really enjoyed them very much! Last Saturday, the price also included Japanese ice tea. These are not prefab noodles by any means! I watched its preparation in progress. First, the Japanese chef placed the noodles in a wire basket and he then place them in a large stock pot. Once ready, he put them in a bowl and began the process of producing a fabulous bowl of ramen. Next came the slices of pork roast, 1/4 sliced boiled egg and garnished with chopped green onions. The chef carefully ladled the ramen broth, slowly, as not to disturb his creation. Soy sauce, black pepper and Japanese hot sauce were available according to taste and I added black pepper and a little hot sauce.

Without putting anyone down or being critical, the ramen at the food court are the best I had in Bacolod during the last 4 years!

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One can also order takoyaki, which is octopus balls, made of a wheat flour based batter. The price per order is P30.

Bread

I always tell expats that they will be amazed with the good food found n the Bacolod Area. These are loaves of German Style Pumpernickel Rye! Imagine finding this at a Farmers Market in the Philippines! The price is P45 per loaf and they are really great.

There is also a pick and pay section at the Farmers Market and a great deal if you do not mind picking your own vegetables. Each Saturday at the farmers market is different and you never know what you will find from among the many vendors. Several weeks ago, we bought a large bag of fresh scallops for P200.

Retiring To The Philippines

S
If you are not yet living in the Philippines and have considered retiring to the Philippines, I would like to invite to one of the best expat online magazines today. It is not hype or trying to sell you Rizal Park in Manila but it is based on more than 37 years of first hand experience about the Philippines by its writers. The good news is, you can read all the articles for free online. I personally write 2-3 new articles every week for Retiring to the Philippines and the guest writers all have lived in the Philippines 10 years or longer, full time, year round.

http://retiringtothephilippines.com/

If you have burning questions about the Philippines that you want answers to, please check out the forum on Retiring To The Philippines. Ask Gary!

http://forums.retiringtothephilippines.com/

Take care and I really hope to meet you one day, somewhere all around Bacolod!

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May’s Organic Garden: Magnificent Beauty

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On the holiday, Ninoy Aquino Day, we went to May’s Organic Garden, which his located south Bacolod City and before Barangay Sum-Ag. We did not go until the afternoon, so the restaurant was about to close up but we were not hungry yet! Next time.

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There are a number of bonsai trees near the convention center.

Bonsai
If you are interested, you can rent one of the Swan Boats and take a spin around the lake!

May's Organic Garden
Fabulous landscaping!

Convention Center
A great place to have a wedding reception or for holding a large association meeting in their convention center.

Fountain
A photo taken from the bridge, the large fountain.

May's Organic Garden
Across the lake.

Papaya
Papaya

Pine Tree and Corn
A Pine Tree and Corn.

Greenhouses
Greenhouses

Lagoon Style Pool
Lagoon Pool

May's Organic Garden
A Bridge Over Untroubled Waters!

May's Organic Garden

We had a fun-filled afternoon at May’s Organic Gardens! Admission was P100 for adults and no charge for children. If you plan availing the swimming pool, it is P100 for adults and P50 for children. We did not need a cottage rental for the day, so we did not ask the price. There were plenty of shaded places to sit because there were not many people there in the late afternoon. There is a hotel on site and we were told it was P1,500 per night. Since we live in Bacolod, we didn’t need a hotel room! The restaurant closes at 2pm, so if you want to eat, go early. The restaurant is located at the entrance of May’s Organic Garden. A friend told me they have great fruit shakes!

There is organic fertilizer, vermicast, and we were told that organic fruit and vegetables are also sold, when available. We saw a lemongrass distillery for making lemongrass oil. One use for lemongrass oil is mosquito repellent.

If you want to enjoy the beauty of nature, I recommend putting May’s Organic Garden on your must see list.

Burning Down The House

the-ruins-bacolod
Burning down the house is exactly what happened to this beautiful mansion during the early days of World War II to prevent the Japanese Imperial Army from making it their Headquarters when they invaded Negros Occidental. It is reported that it took days for the inferno to burn down the roof and the thick wooden floors. Today, this mansion and beautiful grounds on the border of Bacolod City and Talisay City still has the original 4 tier imported fountain and the gardens are lovelier than ever! This is The Ruins, a famous tourist attraction with daily visitors from all over the entire Philippines. Former President Gloria Arroyo visited Bacolod when she was still in office and she visited The Ruins. This mansion was originally built by a rich local sugar baron, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson, for his new bride, Maria Braga, who was Portuguese from Macau.

Picking Up The Pieces

The Ruins was actually in ruins for many years after World War II. It remains surrounded by sugar cane fields, however, when several great grandchildren inherited The Ruins, they decided to develop it and I am very happy they did! So are so many others who have visited The Ruins, some even many times, such my family and I! Whenever we have family and friends visit us from abroad, we always take them to The Ruins. A trip to Bacolod City would never be complete without seeing the Ruins and taking photos of its majestic presence.

The Ruins is much more than just a photo op and seeing the luscious gardens. Children always have fun at The Ruins, as do adults who enjoy games. There is a mini golf course, which we refer to as put- put golf in the States, there is a large as life chess set to enjoy a few games and there is plenty of space to run around the grounds and play.

There is a cafe at The Ruins, which is also a pizzaria. The menu is not limited to pizza, as there are also a number of other dishes on the menu. Their shredded beef dish is awesome! Among several ice cold beers served is Bogsbrew, which is an organic craft beer brewed in Bacolod City.

The Ruins is a popular venue for weddings. I can see why! The Ruins is a step back in time but it also is in step with today. Music concerts are held at The Ruins from time to time.

Once you get to Bacolod City, every taxi driver knows where The Ruins is located! It is not difficult to find, as it is in the area of Bacolod City known as Bata.

In my opinion, The Ruins is a great place to spend the day or an entire evening. To us, The Ruins is more than only a tourist attraction, as it is also a good place to hang out with friends and family.

Philbilly Cornbread

fried cornbread3
Being a Southern guy from the USA, I grew up with cornbread being one of my family’s meal time staples. Both my parents were born and raised in Alabama but my dad was a career US Navy officer, so we lived in several states in America when I was growing up. California, Rhode Island, Florida and South Carolina were all places we called home for 2-4 years, depending on my dad’s tour of duty. Yep, I had a Southern accent, no matter where we lived. We all know that classmates can be cruel, so I heard all the snide remarks, referring to me as a hillbilly, a redneck, a country hick, a rebel, and on and on. It didn’t really bother me much, as I was proud of my Southern Heritage and I am still proud of it!

Since I now live in the Philippines, I would like to share one of my favorite dishes right here in the Bacolod Area. Fried Cornbread, which I have named “Philbilly Cornbread.” By the way, I never had one Filipino refer to me as a hillbilly, a redneck or a country hick in my 27 years connection with the Philippines. I have received some compliments about my Southern accent in the Philippines from Filipinos and more than once they commented that they enjoy hearing me talk! One Filipino friend commented that I talked like Nicholas Cage in his movie, “Con Air!”

Fried cornbread can be easily made here in the Bacolod area, as all the ingredients are available. Fried cornbread is great with fried fish, beans, chili con carne and just about anything imaginable. You can add sliced green onions to your cornbread mix before frying or you can make crackling cornbread by adding pieces of chicharon to your cornbread mix. I will just touch on the simplified recipe and you can kick it up a few notches the way you like. Adding  diced jalapeno peppers or diced green chili peppers will give you a version of Mexican cornbread! I never, never put actual corn kernels in my cornbread mix but some like to.

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The above is fried cornbread with green peppers and green onions.

Recipe

In a large bowl, add one cup of corn meal, 1/2 cup of flour and dilute with 1/2 cup of milk, which makes the cornbread mix loose like pancake batter. Add one egg and stir the cornbread mix very well. Add 1/2-1 stick of real butter in a skillet, frying pan or wok and allow it to melt until it sizzles, over medium heat. Drop the cornmeal mix, about the size of a Tablespoon, into the skillet/cooking utensil and make it about the size of a pancake. When the cornbread browns on one side, turn it over on the other side, mashing it down with a spatula and let the flip side brown.

Wow! Fried cornbread is awesome! I hope you enjoy it.