Thanksgiving 2015 in Bacolod City

Happy Thanksgiving
From my family and I to your family and you, Happy Thanksgiving from the City of Smiles! Prayerfully, you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, as we did.

Thanksgiving is not a holiday in the Philippines and our son had a full day of class today. We celebrated our Thanksgiving meal this evening. There were only the 3 of us but a few guests will drop by a little later. It is still early. No NFL football here but our son is now watching a live basketball game.

Virginia Ham

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It’s back! For the 3rd year running, SM Supermarket had Virginia Hams in stock in time for Thanksgiving. The price is P580 per kilo and the ham I bought is more than 2 kilos, which is almost 5 pounds. That’s a lot of ham for us!

I bought a can of Dole sliced pineapple because we wanted to use the pineapple juice when preparing the ham, to make the basting sauce. It is fabulous! Wish you were here!

Sweet Potato

sweet potato
Thanksgiving would not be complete without sweet potatoes! Years ago, some Filipinos were surprised that Americans enjoy sweet potatoes. Here, they are known as camote or kamote and they are among the most inexpensive foods available in the islands. Most Filipinos do not add brown sugar or butter to their sweet potatoes but I add both!

Corn

corn2
Get the butter, Devon! There are many varieties of corn available in our area of the Philippines and we always go with one of the sweet corn varieties. Once again, corn is one of the less expensive foods in the Philippines.

Deviled Eggs

deviled eggs
Nothing fancy, classic deviled eggs. EZ to make! Mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, pepper and paprika. There you have it.

Those were on our evening Thanksgiving meal menu. We greatly enjoyed every bite.

We are thankful to the Lord everyday but this was one day we set aside every year to enjoy a great meal and be thankful together.

Prayerfully, your Thanksgiving will be as safe and wonderful as our Thanksgiving in the City of Smiles.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Catfish Hunter

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One of my favorite foods of all time is battered and deep fried catfish. Served with enriched hominy grits, deep fried hush puppies and Cole slaw, it just doesn’t get any better than that on my dinner plate! We can get all the ingredients needed in the Philippines to prepare my favorite, complete with the side dishes. My wife has long been opposed to preparing catfish in the Philippines unless she knows exactly where the catfish were cultured. She told me that some people culture catfish in canals, which are full of human waste! No, I will not be eating any catfish from there. I do not like the salt water catfish in the Philippines or from anywhere else for that matter. For one thing, they are too large and the taste is not very good. And I know catfish!

I Know A Place

After talking to a number of Filipinos about fishing, I discovered exactly where to get the best catfish in this area of Negros Occidental. It is not in a fish pond. It is not in an aquarium. It is certainly not in one of those poop infested canals! It is in a rice field! Near La Carlota, south of Bacolod about 30 km or so, there is a rice farmer who cultures catfish and eel right in his rice paddy. Nice and clean fish! Catfish and eel are so plentiful, no need for a rod and reel, as all you need is a hand net. If you don’t have a hand net, don’t be alarmed because the rice farmer has one just for you, with your name on it! If you want a couple kilos of catfish or eel, no problem and you can even get a couple kilos of each if you like. It is up to you and you pay so much per kilo. Very cheepa!

Andy’s Cajun Fish Breading

Andy's Cajun
One of the best commercial breading for catfish is Andy’s Cajun Style. It is available at Rustan’s Supermarkets and the cost is around P100 per package.

I will warn you, Andy’s Cajun Fish Breading is zesty. Actually, it is hot!

You can also use Andy’s Cajun Fish Breading when breading and deep frying butterfly shrimp.

Hush Puppies

hush-puppies6
Catfish is not complete without hush puppies! It is amazing how many people do not realize that I am not referring to Hush Puppies shoes. Now way, Jose! I am referring to the southern dish in which I enjoy. Hush Puppies can be traced back as an original Native American staple. It is made with cornmeal, flour and chopped onion. During today’s time, you can kick up your hush puppies by adding milk or even better, buttermilk! I have also had hush puppies that included corn kernels and Jalapeno Peppers. I refer to this style as Mexican Hush Puppies!

Kiss My Grits!

Grits2
That term was made famous by Flo on her TV series in the USA way back a long time ago. Long ago and far away. Kiss my grits! I enjoy grits very much and they are made from enriched alkali treated white corn. I do not make commercial instant grits but use the coarse white corn and boil it until ready to eat. I prefer thick grits that are not thin and watery. Once again, this is a famous Southern dish but it can be traced back as a Native American staple.

I don’t know about you but I am ready for deep fried catfish, grits, hush puppies and Cole Slaw. I think you already know what Cole slaw is, di ba? Max’s Restaurant-The House That Fried Chicken Built has Cole slaw on their menu and I think most Filipinos know Max’s Restaurant!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

After the Manila APEC Summit

APEC
Hats off to the Philippines and its professional security forces during the APEC Summit held this week in Manila. Fabulous job!

There is a lot of Buzz after the APEC Summit in Manila. There were many highlights.

Since there is not a First Lady in the Philippines, the 4 Aquino sisters, led by Kris, entertained the wives of the leaders attending APEC. It has been reported that the 4 sisters paid out of their own pockets for a luncheon for the wives. They also toured them around Intramuros.

All the male leaders at APEC wore the Barong Tagalog and the Inquirer has an online poll, as to which leader wore it best.

Many ladies agree that PM Trudeau of Canada and Mexican President Nieto were the 2 “hotties!”

Hotel Buzz

Since they are now gone from the Philippines, a number of hotels have bragging rights about particular world leaders lodging in their hotel. All the leaders were not put up in the same hotel.

Surprisingly, the President of China stayed in my favorite hotel in Manila, Century Park, which was once a Sheraton. Obama stayed at Sofitel Philippine Plaza. Russian Premier Medvedev stayed at Crown Towers. PM Trudeau stayed at the Manila Peninsula. Raffles, the Diamond Hotel and Solaire Resort and Casino Hotel were also utilized by world leaders.

Agreements and Friendships Confirmed

There were a number of sideline meetings between a number of the world leaders.

Russia and the Philippines signed an Economic and Anti-Drug Agreement. Vietnam and the Philippines signed a Strategic Partnership Plan. Chile and the Philippines signed an agreement concerning Disaster Rick Management. South Korea reaffirmed support to assist in the modernization of the Philippines Military.

Australia and the Philippines inked 2 agreements. One will focus on Technical and Vocational Education. The other agreement focused on Comprehensive Partnership between the 2 countries.

There were several other minor agreements and exploration talks but I have focused on the highlights.

It was noted that many protesters in Manila do not even know what APEC is!

Excitement in the City

I observed the activities in Manila during the APEC Summit from afar since I live in Bacolod City. However, I felt the excitement and I wish I had been there in person.

The APEC Summit was once again another venue on he world stage for the Philippines and Filipinos to showcase their fabulous hospitality. All those in attendance appeared to enjoy themselves while in Manila and several voiced what a wonderful time they indeed had.

I personally hated seeing the APEC Summit end but it could not last forever. There will be more exciting events in the Philippines during future days.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Fish Po Boy with Green Tomato Chow Chow

po boy2
This is the recipe of the day, which can be made in the Philippines with locally available ingredients.

If you decide to add green tomato chow chow, you must make it 1 day in advance. If you plan to make your Po Boy right now without the chow chow, you will be eating within the hour, if you have the other ingredients on hand.

Chow Chow

I have an old Alabama Chow Chow recipe. It calls for green tomatoes, white or yellow onions, cabbage, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, coarse salt, white sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric, white vinegar and water. If you like it hot, add some hot peppers.

You will need a food processor or a heavy duty blender for chopping the vegetables unless you have the patience to chop by hand. After chopping all the vegetables, you need to add the coarse salt, put in a glass container and let it stand in the ref overnight.

The Chow Chow will accumulate water overnight. Drain well and put in a stock pot. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for about 4 minutes. Allow to cool and you can return the chow chow to a glass container with a tight fitting lid. Place the chow chow back in the ref and allow it to chill.

Fried Fish Po Boy with Green Tomato Chow Chow

Catfish is the most popular fish used when making a Louisiana style Po Boy but I used Cream Dory fish.

Andy’s Cajun Fish Breading is sold at Rustan’s in Cebu City and I brought some home last month. This is what I used to batter the fish for the Po Boy. Simply pan fry the fish until golden brown.

The French Bread was bought at Delicioso Deli in Bacolod and it is important having good bread when making your Po Boy. No one is happy if their sandwich falls apart. For the Po Boy spread, I put mayonnaise, horseradish and pickle relish on the bread.

Spoon the green tomato chow chow on the fish. Add dill pickles to your Po Boy and you are ready to eat. Andy’s Cajun Fish Breading is about all the zesty flavor my stomach can tolerate but if you want to really get fired up, you can add jalapenos and/or Louisiana Hot Sauce to your Po Boy.

If you prefer a Fried Shrimp Po Boy, the same recipe applies. Don’t forget to peel and butterfly the shrimp before breading and frying for best results.

All ingredients to make the Fried Fish Po Boy with Green Tomato Chow Chow are available in the Philippines. Enjoy your Po Boy.

Ca c’est bon! (That’s good!)

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Conees Cansi & Sugba

Conees2

Connees

If you are feeling a little run down, I’m going to tell you what to do and where to go. Head on over to Conees Cansi & Sugba, located on Alijis Road near the turn off to Lopues Supermarket and Panaad Park. My family and I dined there this evening and we really enjoyed it.

Conees Cansi & Sugba is in native architecture with native Filipino decor and it gives you the true atmosphere of dining in the Philippines. Bamboo is everywhere in the restaurant. The service is great, the food is fabulous and the restrooms are extremely modern and clean.

House Specialties

Cansi! This is the signature dish of Conees Cansi and Sugba, which most everyone goes there for. The cover photo of this article is indeed a hot bowl of cansi. Cansi is Negrense comfort food. It is boiled beef in a wonderful broth, complete with beef bone and bone marrow. It is delicious. A small order of cansi at Conees Cansi & Sugba is P230, with the large order priced at P280. I suggest getting the large order because your friends and family will love you more!

The meaning of sugba is grill. Conees has marvelous grilled food, which I simply call BBQ. Chicken inasal and grilled pork chops are what we ordered. Wow! Everyone agreed that their order was awesome. Grilled pork chops are priced at P55 and chicken inasal leg quarter is priced at P75. We had garlic rice as our side dish.

Conees will also grill up boneless bangus for you, which is milk fish. If you have never tried bangus, you are in for a treat and I highly recommend it to you. Grilled boneless bangus is P180.

Soft drinks and ice cold beer are served at Conees Cansi & Sugba. Water served is purified, so have no fear. You can drink the water!

Filipino Food

Eating Filipino food is part of the adventure but some expats are set in their ways and they don’t want to be adventurous. They don’t know what they are missing! There are many, so many delicious Filipino dishes. When I lived in the Philippines 1986-1987, I ate Filipino food almost exclusively because I wanted to experience all the food.

Fast forward to today. I still enjoy southern comfort food and food I was accustomed to back in the States. However, I eat Filipino food every week, just not every meal and maybe not everyday.

I don’t think you will go wrong by trying cansi and any number of local grilled dishes.

If you are living in the Philippines, I hope you will be adventurous and try the local food!

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod. Maybe, it will be at Conees Cansi & Sugba!

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Bad News: Retiring to the Philippines Website

Retiring-to-the-Philippines
If you see books written by me on a website, Retiring to the Philippines, please do not buy them. I am the writer of these books and I am receiving zero compensation for my written works.

I will not go into the long story but the short story is, I have no longer given anyone *verbal* permission to sell my books. I have never signed a written contract for anyone to represent me or to be my agent for marketing anything about the Philippines that I have produced. That’s the bottom line!

The verbal permission was based on my duly earned commission but since that has been off the table for 2 months, I will put it bluntly. I am being ripped off!

Friends in Low Places

I have written many articles in the past about how foreigners in the Philippines will stab you in the back. Every expat in the Philippines is not your friend. In fact, many are your worst enemy. Even your own Kabayan, or countrymen, cannot always be trusted. Allow them to earn your trust.

I had heard over the years about Crab Mentality in the Philippines. During my 29 years experience in the country, it is not Filipinos with the worse cases of Crab Mentality, it is foreigners. Many of them have personal issues. They cannot maintain a personal relationship with anyone, male or female. They are unhappy and they cannot tolerate seeing others happy. They want to rain on your parade and put crap in your stew…if they can. They don’t even like themselves very much.

I have 2 degrees in Mental Health. One in Mental Health Technology and the other degree in Psychology. I worked 30 years in the USA in Mental Health and in Law Enforcement. I think I can evaluate people pretty well, although I am not judgmental upon first impression. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt…in the beginning.

A Great Life

I suggest that if you think you will be happy in the Philippines only if you are surrounded by a wonderful group of expats, think more about this!

By far, most of my friends and acquaintances in the Bacolod Area are Filipinos and Filipinas. No, not foreigners. Honestly, I can take them or leave them and lately, I am mostly leaving them! I have a core group of foreign friends in the Bacolod Area and we have been friends for 5 years or longer. However, I am not going out of my way to make new foreign friends. If it happens, it happens. If not, that is fine as well.

I have a great life in Negros Occidental. I did not move here to hob knob with foreigners. I am not anti-foreigners in the Philippines but in all honesty, a number of them have created problems. I wish those particular ones would get on the next plane out and go home! Stay there once you get there and don’t let the door hit you in the rear end on the way out! Hasta la bye bye!

There you have it. Do not trust people in the Philippines just because they are foreigners. A number of them are also grifters, hackers, scammers and schemers. Never give out your personal information to anyone.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

This Bud’s For You!

Bud
Anheuser-Busch inBev has worked out a $107 Billion deal to acquire SABMiller. The company will now control 30% of the beer market.

I recall when Budweiser was brewed in the Philippines by Asia Brewery but those days are long gone. Asia Brewery still distributes Budweiser in our area of the Philippines. The cost for Bud is at imported prices, about P70 per bottle, which is more than double the cost of San Miguel Pilsen and well more than double than the cost of Beer na Beer.

Miller High Life is involved in the ownership of Coors. Asia Brewery brews Coors and Coors Light in the Philippines. I don’t know where they get their Rocky Mountain Spring Water unless it is shipped in. The price of the local Coors is the same as San Miguel Pilsen in our area.

For any of these American beers to be successful in the Philippines, I think they should be priced below the price of local domestic beers, ie Pilsen, Red Horse, Beer na Beer. More Filipinos would be willing to try Bud and Miller High Life if it is P18 per bottle. Below P20. It can certainly be done.

Local Craft Beer

I’m looking forward to trying Illusion Beer in Bacolod. It is brewed right here in the City of Smiles.

So far, one of the better craft beers I have tried in Bacolod is NPA, Negros Pale Ale. I like it. 100% better than Bogsbrew! NPA, Primo and Bogsbrew are brewed in Bacolod City by Negros Island Brewery.

Katipunan Craft Ale was among the first of the large craft breweries in Manila. Kuppa Restaurant in Bacolod has Katipunan Ale from time to time. Their 3 Hops and a Hop IPA will stand up to just about any Indio Pale Ale.

Philippines Domestic Beers

I drink Beer na Beer, which is brewed in the Philippines by Asia Brewery. I pay P405 per 24 bottles case of Beer na Beer. Like San Miguel, Beer na Beer is a Pale Pilsen. Beer na Beer has won the Monde Gold Medal a number of times in Brussels for being the best foreign Pilsen.

San Miguel is the # 1 Beer in the Philippines The first San Miguel Brewery opened in 1890.

Over the years, San Miguel has expanded their product line. Pale Pilsen is the original beer. There is also San Mig Light, San Miguel Premium All Malt Beer, San Mig Strong Ice, San Miguel Super Dry, San Miguel Flavored Beer in Apple and Lemon flavors, San Mig Zero, Cerveza Negra (San Miguel Dark Beer), Red Horse Extra Strong Beer, Gold Eagle Beer and Cali, which does not contain alcohol, aka Non Alcohol Beer.

Red Horse is a big seller because of its high alcohol content. Pilsen and Red Horse are sold in the large 1 liter bottles. Grande is the name of the large bottles of Pilsen and Litro is the name of the large bottles of Red Horse.

There are several restaurants and bars in Bacolod which have San Miguel Pilsen on draft. Tyrol Restaurant is one, which specializes in Austrian and German Cuisine.

Back to the Future

When I first arrived on the Golden Shores of the Philippines in 1986, San Miguel was the # 1 Beer. However, Carlsberg Beer was very popular, as was Manila Beer, both products of Asia Brewery. Back in the day, the Century Park Sheraton Hotel in Manila promoted only Manila Beer and it was the very first beer I had in Manila almost 30 years ago. It was good beer.

Beer Hausen Pale Pilsen was the first beer introduced by Asia Brewery but it was replaced with Manila Beer.

Several years ago, Asia Brewery reintroduced Manila Beer on the market but it is extra strong beer and tastes nothing like the original Manila Beer.

Another extra strong beer that is brewed and marketed by Asia Brewery is Colt 45.

Since 1890, Beer remains a poplar beverage in the Philippines.

If you drink beer, please drink responsibly.

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

~ Gary ~

 

Street Food Is An Everyday Treat

street food2
Street Food is a very important part of the Filipino Culture and it is also a very important part of the foreigner’s experience in the Philippines. There are many different types of popular and locally affordable street foods in the Bacolod Area. My article is Negros Occidental specific, where I have lived for the past 6 years.

You will see large pots filled with Batchoy and bowls are as little as P25-P30 with some street vendors in and around Bacolod. Batchoy originated in La Paz, Iloilo but it is also very popular in Negros Occidental. There are many variations but basically, Batchoy is a fresh noodle soup dish with pork organ meat and garnished with chicharon or pork cracklings and chopped green onion. The Batchoy noodles are similar to thin spaghetti. It is certainly Negrense and Ilonggo comfort food. There are several commercial Batchoy chain restaurants but they are not only more expensive but the taste and quality is not as good as what you will buy from a mom and pop vendor, with their straight from scratch touch.

A Daily Food Fair

Kwek Kwek is hard boiled eggs, battered in an orange colored batter and deep fried. If quail eggs are used, this street food is known as Pugo in our area.

Feeling like some BBQ? One of my favorites. Pork, chicken, goat, squid and banana served on skewers. Near our farm, BBQ eel on skewers is popular. You will also see BBQ chicken feet.

Tempura is battered shrimp pieces, fish or squid. Kasugai Japanese style bread crumbs breading and deep fried. Popular around schools.

Siomai is one of the most popular street foods, which is a Chinese style stuffed dumpling with meat and/or veggies and are steamed or deep fried. Siopao is another one of my favorites, which has many variations. Filled steamed or baked buns. I prefer steamed siopao, filled with pork. Years ago, the sweet meat in Manila’s Chinatown siopao was rumored to be cat meat. Ma Mon Luk on Quezon Avenue had the best siopao around, cat or not! It was Chinese owned but not located in Chinatown.

Fish Balls, Shrimp Balls and Squid Balls; formed into a ball, battered and deep fried.

Chicken or Pork Bulaklak is battered and deep fried intestines from a chicken or a pig. Don’t think about what it is, just eat it and give it a review. I like it and you might like it too. Just don’t eat too much.

Fried hot dog on a stick. Can be any brand of more than 30 different brands of hot dogs in our area. The Pure Food Hot Dogs are usually the most expensive and can be P20 each around malls. The cheaper brands, such as Winner, Vida and Bingo are usually P10-P12 each.

Taho is made from bean curd with sweet syrup and tapioca pearls added.

Green Mango served with choice of bagoong, which is shrimp paste, or rock salt. One of my first street foods to ever try more than 28 years ago in Manila.

Dirty Ice Cream has this name because it is not factory made but made in the home or in the back yard. It is not necessarily dirty.

Garlic fried peanuts, boiled peanuts, hot & spicy peanuts, peanut brittle and kasoy or cashews. All very cheap and popular.

Balut. Crack the egg, suck the juice, peel and eat with vinegar and/or salt. I don’t eat the embryo. There is also Balut Adobo, which is made like any other adobo. Soy Sauce, Vinegar, Garlic and Bay Leaves.

There are other Bacolod Area street foods but my article covers the most popular and commonly seen.

As always, please use caution when eating street food, as you can become ill. We only buy from vendors we know and who we trust to handle the food properly in storage and with preparation. Very few times have we experienced gastrointestinal problems by following this rule of thumb.

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

~ Gary ~

Love That Chicken From Popeyes!

Popeyes-Bonafide-Chicken
I love that chicken from Popeyes. That is what I told my brother in Florida earlier this year and he was amazed. He didn’t know there were Popeyes Louisiana Kitchens in the Philippines. There’s not. We make Popeyes Chicken in our home kitchen. I got the original recipe from the internet and I can make Popeyes chicken from all locally sourced ingredients… at local prices. Nothing imported.

I paid P128 for a whole chicken and my wife cut it into pieces at home. I think White King Flour, product of the Philippines, is as good as any imported flour and at a fraction of the cost. McCormick brand herbs and spices are packaged in Quezon City, Philippines. Once again, they are priced for the Filipino wallet and not sold at imported prices. Mother’s Best and Mama Sita, also local brands, make an excellent version of Louisiana Hot Sauce. Want to be blindfolded and take the taste test?

Sliders

I grew up eating the little Krystal Hamburgers. Nowadays, they are known as sliders. There are not any Krystal restaurants in our area of the Philippines but my wife and I make the little sliders all the time. In the southern part of the USA, we had Krystal. Up north, they had White Castle Hamburgers. Also sliders.

Drive A Little And Save A Lot

Bacolod is a mid-sized city and after living here 6 years, I know my way around. My wife and I both know the best places to shop for quality, without spending a small fortune. I know which grocery or specialty store has the best prices on what I want to buy.

Prices on imported food products can vary as much as P100 or more per item from store to store. It pays to check out all the stores, do price checks and then you will know where to shop. By knowing where to shop in the city you live in the Philippines, can save you up to 75% on your grocery shopping. You can believe that.

Imported VS Local Products

Unlike some foreigners, I rarely buy imported frozen food products. No, I will not spend P1,500 for a box of frozen cod fish or for a package of frozen Tyson Chicken. I am not spending P1,700 for a frozen steak from the USA. I pay P98 for a kilo of cream dory fish fillets, P128 for a 1 kilo whole chicken and P240 for a Monterey brand Porterhouse. I enjoy those very much and I don’t have to spend a ton of money when putting together a fabulous meal in the Bacolod area.

My wife shops at several public markets when buying fresh seafood, vegetables and fruits. In my opinion, Pure Gold, SM and Metro Supermarkets all have excellent ground round beef. I use ground round when making many different dishes at home. Burgers, spaghetti, chili, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chili mac, sloppy Joe and any dish calling for excellent quality ground beef.

I don’t have to spend hundreds of pesos when making my version of Mexican Cuisine at home. Mega Mexicana in Luzon, Philippines makes excellent quality taco shells, flour tortillas and corn tortillas. At a fraction of the cost of the same imported items. “Si Ortega?” No thanks, I don’t have to buy Ortega brand or Old El Paso, either.

I have been buying Ram brand Italian Spaghetti Sauce for the past 6 years. It is now P19 per vacuum sealed package, up from P17. All Ram items are products of the Philippines.

I do not like Ram brand pickle relish but I really enjoy another local product. Green Harvest pickle relish is P60 for the large jar. If you buy Vlasic or Heinz pickle relish, get ready for some bad news. P200 or more per jar.

I buy a number of imported items but it is because the items are not locally produced in the Philippines. Most of the items I buy are items used in preparing the dishes I enjoy. Horseradish, Lea & Perrins, A.1. Steak Sauce, Reese Mint Sauce, Kweichow Garlic Chili Sauce, Morehouse Mustard (the Official Mustard of the LA Dodgers), Heinz Malt Vinegar and similar items. I do not have to buy such items weekly or even monthly because I don’t use them all every single day. Some items will last me 6 months or longer.

Canned beans are another imported item I buy regularly. Pinto, white, baked, red kidney, black and black eye peas. I pay P31-P63 per can of beans that I buy.

Money to Burn

I know a few expats in Bacolod who have a large income from several pensions. They don’t mind going to the supermarkets and spending P12,000-P15,000 per week. Without cutting corners and buying quality locally sourced products as much as possible, my weekly grocery cost has similar figures. Only I spend P1,200 and not P12,000. I may spend P1,500 but never P15,000 in a supermarket.

Most of my meals are considered Western style. I recently used local large organic potatoes to make Potato Skins. I bought Virginia brand honey cured bacon, Nestle sour cream and Dari-Creme butter. Nothing imported and everything at local prices.

Avocado is P35 per kilo in our area. What about poached eggs over avocado and Century brand Corned Tuna? An avocado BLT with fried egg on good toasted bread is good anytime.

There are a number of Filipino dishes I really enjoy. I eat them regularly but not every meal or even everyday for that matter.

I have you started on the right foot. You don’t have to spend most of your retirement income to enjoy most all the dishes in the Philippines that you enjoy back home. If you don’t like cooking, it is very affordable to hire a full time cook in the Philippines. Just spend a little time in training them and supervising them, as they prepare the food you enjoy.

Happy shopping and happy eating.

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

~  Gary ~

Keeping Healthy and Alternative Medicine

quack doctor 7
Alternative Medicine, Home Remedies and Folk Medicine do not work for everyone. None work forever because none of us live forever on the planet.

I am not on any Rx meds and I am thankful everyday. I can’t remember for sure the last time I had to take an antibiotic or a Tylenol but it has been well over 20 years ago. I have taken TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), utilized acupuncturists, have taken natural Philippine Folk Medicine and have utilized helots. They work for me 100% or at least have up to this point. But these may not work for you!

I learned Tai Chi years ago but I tweaked what I learned and have my own method. It works best for me but it may not work for you. I have no interest in marketing my own Tai Chi system.

Road To Recovery

The MDs who are honest will admit that their patients who believe in a higher power, practice a faith or are affiliated with a church have a higher recovery rate than those who believe in nothing at all. There has been many research papers written about this for many, many years.

I attribute my excellent health at age 61 more to my Faith in Divine Health from above than anything else. However, I also do a few external things to help. I enjoy Tai Chi. I also avoid harsh and harmful Western style medications. I am blessed that I don’t need to rely on those at this point in my life. However, if I had to, I would to extend my life.

Since 1985, I have used the less invasive treatment first when I needed medical intervention. I don’t take pain relievers when having a mild headache or having muscular aches and pains. Others must and I am not being critical. I use Tiger Balm and it works for me. It may not work for you! I learned how to control the pain. Of course, if my appendix ruptured, I can’t control that! I would be in a world of hurt and I would be on my way to the ER. I am referring to minor ailments that can be overcome without meds.

Less Is Always Best

Less meds and less surgeries are always best, when possible. Some famous progressive MDs on the scene today, such as Dr Samadi, Dr Siegal and Dr Micozzi agree. Too many surgeries are performed without trying something less invasive first. Antibiotics and other meds are too often prescribed when not really needed.

In Bacolod City, there are many Wellness Centers and Alternative Medicine Clinics. I agree if the ailment is not an emergency and is not life threatening, why not try something else first? Something that is less invasive and is actually less expensive. An American once told me he did not believe in this crap! I told him, “then, it is not for you!” I left it at that.

I know a foreigner in the NIR, Negros Island Region, who eats chicken 3 X per day and never tires of it. He believes chicken keeps him healthy. You may be shocked how many years he has eaten only chicken as his meat. It is his belief but it is not my belief that I must only eat chicken. It works for him, perhaps, but it will not work for me. I am about ready for a chili dog.

For any medical treatment to be effective, the patient must believe in the one treating them and the method they are using to help them recover. That’s my opinion and others may have a different opinion.

Prayerfully, everyone remains in good health and prospers!

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

~ Gary ~