2015 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

I would like to personally thank all of you who visited and read my articles on All Around Bacolod. We were viewed about 26,000 times in 2015 and there are still 2 days left in the year.

My family and I wish you a very Happy New Year. If you travel, have a safe trip and have fun. Let the Good Times Roll! Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Happy New Year!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

What to Do in the Philippines on Christmas Day

The church service is over, you have enjoyed the midnight Noche Buena meal with your family & friends, you have slept a little and what’s next? It is Christmas Day!

Stay at home or take to the highway?

Do They Know It’s Christmas Time At All?

On Christmas Day, some in the family go to the beach and have a cookout or a picnic. Some go to the mountain, Pandanon Valley, for the same. Some head out to one of the malls, which are open. My wife and son went swimming with other moms and our son’s classmates.

I may well be the last foreigner living in Bacolod to dine at Pepe’s Restaurant. We finally made it and had Christmas Dinner there. They have a very interesting menu, including Smoked Baracuda. Pepe’s is the only restaurant in Bacolod where I have seen Anchovy Pizza on their menu and that is what I ordered. It was awesome.

I was thinking of the Smoked Barracuda but my wife said it is not good eating fish on Christmas Day. So, I didn’t.

The others in our group ordered Pepperoni Pizza, Cheeseburgers and Baby Back Ribs. We also shared a Greek Salad. All the food was great.

Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room

Some foreigners hit the bars and some bars are open on Christmas Days. Lonely guys like girls dancing on bars and girls like guys driving fast cars. Hello Bret Michaels! Cold beer and hot chicks. It beats spending time in a lonely room at home, all alone.

I have never been alone at Christmas time in the Philippines but I did spend 2 lonely Christmas Eve’s alone in Florida. One Christmas night, I went to a Chinese Resto Bar in Ft Walton Beach, Florida, ate off the Chinese buffet and sang karaoke. Before long, I had people with me, who were also apparently alone.

The younger Filipinos attend parties on Christmas Day, with their peers and friends.

I received an email about a Christmas Party held at The Brewery Bar in Taguig, Metro Manila. Christmas at 10pm.

Think of Others, Will You?

For a number of people, they can only stay home because of lack of funds to do anything special on Christmas Day. They have food to eat, something to drink and that’s enough for some. A number of others do not even have that.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to drop by a poor family with some goodies for them on Christmas Day. They will love you for it and they will never forget this Christmas. Because of you!

Even if it is a day or 2 or 3 after Christmas, you can still spread good tidings and wonderful cheer into the hearts and lives of those in need.

Christmas is not officially over in the Philippines until the Festival of the Three Kings, which is on January 3rd this year. Always the first Sunday immediately after New Year.

Let’s not ever forget Christmas. For unto us, a child was born. His name is called Wonderful, Counseller, the mighty God. The Prince of Peace.

Merry Christmas! May the Holy Ghost be with you.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Kick Up Your Noche Buena

Noche Buena2
Only 7 more days and counting down to Noche Buena. In the Philippines, the traditional Christmas dinner at midnight is the Noche Buena.

My wife still hasn’t completed the menu list, however, I added a new item to my list.

Fresh Crown Pork Roast was in the SM Meat Dept, so I bought a section. P240 per kilo. If others in the family are interested, I will go back and buy one more section. If not, I will enjoy the pork roast with homemade gravy.

I am only one among many Filipinos but I do add my own dishes to enjoy for Noche Buena. I am all for sharing but I need to know in advance if they are interested in certain items. I already know many dishes that Filipinos in my family are not too keen on.

Italian Beef Sandwiches with fried onions and deli peppers would not go over well at all. Neither will the DAK Pate de Foi with green olives on hard toast triangles. I will also leave off the Antipasto Tray.

Many, if not most, Filipinos enjoy traditional Noche Buena Food. Lechon (Roast Pig), Quezo de Bola (Cheese Ball), Ham, Pork and Chicken BBQ, Fruit Cocktail, Pinoy style Spaghetti, Macaroni Salad, Leche Flan, Sotanghon Noodle Soup, Pancit Bihon, Pancit Canton and Hamonado, which is pork or chicken cooked in pineapple juice. Of course, there are many more traditional Noche Buena Foods.

My wife prepares 2 types of Spaghetti. Filipino style and Italian style.

Christmas Chicken Curry, garnished with sliced green and red bell peppers add the Christmas colors. It is well enjoyed.

Crispy Tadyang is another big hit. First, you must boil the ribs in spice and herb water to tenderize them. Next, you roll the ribs in cornstarch and deep fry until crispy. Serve with vinegar, smashed garlic and sili peppers for dipping sauce.

Beer and Red Wine for beverages. Forget Tanduay. For something different, you could introduce Tapuey Igorot Rice Wine. It is bottled and sold commercially in finer stores. Sangria is my favorite red wine, which is a fruity wine. Tropical Wine made with bignay or duhat are also great. Federico Tropical Wine is made in our area, in Victorias City, and sold all around the Philippines.

My family and I are wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Bankarera Boat Race at Shore Fun Festival: December 19

bankarera boat race
Only 2 more days and Shore Fun begins! Are you ready? Pack up the wife, your children or your girlfriend and head to Paco Beach in Pulupandan this Saturday. You still have 2 days!

One of the exciting events at the Shore Fun Festival in Pulupandan at Paco Beach is the Bankarera Boat Race. It kicks off at 9am on December 19. The Bankarera is a smaller boat with a strong engine. Built for speed and built for sharp turns. It is always an exciting race.

Bancarera winner
Practice, practice, practice. The contestants are ready to put on a good show for you, as they zip around, breakneck, in their bankareras. It’s going to be awesome!

I hope to see you somewhere…at the Shore Fun Festival on December 19th at Paco Beach in Pulupandan.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

More Entertainment at Shore Fun Festival in Pulupandan

Bacolod City! Negros Occidental! Don’t you dare be sour. Paco Beach in Pulupandan is the place to be on December 19 for the Shore Fun Festival.

Pulupandan 10
One of the highlights of the Shore Fun Festival will be the Electric Lighting of the boats after sunset. The special effects of the lighting will be a terrific sight to see.

No, they are not looking for Shrek. No, they are not burning down the boats. Tiki torches at sunset. It’s party time!

This lovely lady is enjoying singing but she is in a hurry to get back on the water.

Bright lights will light up the beach and a fun time will be enjoyed by everyone. And you can believe that!

Don’t forget, Shore Fun Festival kicks off around 8am on Saturday, December 19. Where? You know where! Paco Beach Zone 1 in Pulupandan.

I hope to see you somewhere… at Paco Beach at the Shore Fun Festival.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~



Shore Fun Festival in Pulupandan: December 19

You are ready for Shore Fun at Paco Beach, di ba? I’ve got some good news! Mark it on your calendar and don’t forget or you will miss out. On Saturday, December 19, 2015 at Paco Beach in Pulupandan, Negros Occidental, the Shore Fun will begin at 8am. Pulapandan is about a 30 minute drive south of Bacolod City.

This is the first in a series of articles that I will be writing during the next 2 weeks, leading up to and during the Shore Fun Festival in Pulupandan.

Admission and Benefit

General Admission to the Shore Fun Festival is P50 per ticket. For the best fun, you can purchase a Benefactor’s Ticket for P1,500 each. This includes free dinner, free drinks, a therapeutic beach massage and all the beach entertainment. Now, we’re talking! Sign me up!

Beach Games

Show up around 8am on Saturday, December 19th and come ready to play! Do you like beach volleyball? If you do, you will find others ready to play. Bring your Frisbee, bring your American football. Put me in coach, I’m ready to play!


I think you already know, where there is a beach, there is entertainment. In the Philippines, a festival would not be a festival without music. This festival is no exception.

Singing is one of my favorite activities. Every night is a good night for singing and I am looking forward to singing during the Shore Fun Festival.

Where there are beaches, there are always beautiful ladies! You are in for a bonus treat! Who doesn’t enjoy a Beauty Pageant? The Philippines is well known worldwide for having Top 5 and Top 10 beautiful contestants in all the world famous pageants, including Miss Universe.

You will receive a free Globe SIM card for voting during the Beauty Pageant to crown the Queen of Shore Fun 2015, among the beautiful ramp models.

In my next article, I will introduce you to more information about this wonderful and exciting event in our area of Negros Occidental. Stay tuned! My next article will be in the next day or 2 with more information for you.

I would like to personally thank the Tourism Officer, Mr. Federico “Mahjie” F. Infante, Jr, for his great organization in making Shore Fun 2015 possible for our enjoyment.

I hope to see you on December 19 at the Shore Fun Festival at Paco Beach in Pulupandan!

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Rust Never Sleeps

I read a recent study of 328 adults over age 60, by Rutgers University and University of Cal Davis. Those with low Vitamin D were on the fast track to further memory loss and dementia.

If you can tolerate a tablespoon of daily cod liver oil, you are getting almost 300% of your daily required Vitamin D.

Getting out in the sunshine is something I do daily, specifically for the natural Vitamin D. There are also plenty of Vitamin D rich foods available in the Philippines.

Just Eat It!

Fish, fish and more fish! Smoked fish seems to provide the most Vitamin D. Smoked salmon and smoked swordfish, especially. Even canned sardines and tuna give you much Vitamin D. My friend Roy’s favorite fish, tilapia (not!) gives you about 20% of your daily required Vitamin D. I would rather eat sardines than tilapia.

If you can find them in your area, fresh Portabello Mushrooms will load you up with Vitamin D.

Maybe there is more to why I see some expats loading up their shopping carts in Bacolod with American imported breakfast cereals? Total and Raisin Bran are good sources of Vitamin D. Cheerios and Corn Flakes…not so much. Fruit Loops, forget about it.

Tofu, cheese, yogurt, butter and skim milk have a decent amount of Vitamin D for you. So does almond milk.

I have never seen caviar in Bacolod but have seen it in Manila. Even back then, it was expensive. $90 for a small jar with only 20 servings. No thank ya! China had locally produced economy caviar that I bought regularly and it was so reasonable. However, it was Chinese caviar and no guarantee what you were actually getting. But for a couple of bucks a jar, it was tasty. Caviar has Vitamin D.

Pork.The other white meat. Lean ham, pork ribs, pork shoulder, pork sausage and pork loin. Vitamin D.

Eggs. Hard boiled and goose eggs provide the most Vitamin D. Duck eggs are also good. Balut is probably loaded with Vitamin D! Regardless, a daily egg is now deemed ok for you by many medical and dietary experts. Over EZ, poached, scrambled and omelet style all work. I would suppose that a raw egg cracked into a glass of San Miguel Pale Pilsen may work as well.

Warning Signs

I have written in the past about the importance of Vitamin D. Since the topic of nursing homes and dementia came up recently among expats, I wanted to write an article about it again.

Many people do not realize that a vitamin deficiency can lead to adverse affects on your health. A magnesium deficiency can also lead to diminished mental capacity at any age.

Keeping my mind sharp & alert is very important to me. Overall, my mind is my best friend and I don’t want to lose it. You can’t replace a head, so once the mind is gone, it’s gone forever. Very few have returned from that once the line has been crossed.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~