Recipes Expats Should Know In The Philippines

chinese noodles
How about an EZ noodle dish?

I still have most of the contents of the package of Ma Mon Luk Chinese Egg Noodles. Product of Quezon City. Today, I was looking online for a new recipe. Not much luck with anything earth shattering but I put together a few ideas from what I read. A little bit of this, a little bit of that and that’s no lie! I may have come up with the Perfect Fried Chinese Egg Noodle dish. Well, maybe not a Monster Recipe.

I learned the recommended way to prepare Chinese Egg Noodles from Sun Ting Wong. No joke! It is best to boil the noodles until they are halfway done. Drain the noodles, set aside and toss with a little olive/peanut/vegetable oil to prevent sticking. You choose the oil of your choice. Next, the fun begins, as you get creative. There are really hundreds of ways to go next. There is a sign post ahead and you may be entering the Twilight Zone. Or the No Spin Zone. Regardless, have fun!

I decided to go with shredded pork, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, yellow onion and beaten eggs. I thought about shredded chicken but I do not ever eat scrambled eggs and chicken. Or any kind of eggs and chicken. No Bola Bola Chicken Sio Pao for me, thank you. I enjoy scrambled eggs in most of my noodle dishes.

I prefer stir fried pork with noodles. BBQ pork is also good with noodles.

Take It To The Limit…One More Time

It does not matter if you are listening to the music of the Eagles or listening to the Flying Burrito Brothers, you can do this! The Sky is the limit with your seasoning, herbs and spices. I like ginger, garlic, fish sauce and soy sauce. Stir fry the noodles and add the rest of your ingredients. For kicking it up and turning up the heat, I prefer Kweichow Chili Garlic Sauce from Taiwan. Sriracha will work and so will Red Pepper Flakes. As well as whole Chili Peppers and Jalapeno Peppers. All are available to buy in Bacolod City.  If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen! Joke only. Everyone does not like hot & spicy, so forget about it…if that is you.

Nutz! What are the best nuts to add to the noodle dish? I like cashews and fried garlic peanuts. I think just about any nut would work but maybe not redskin peanuts. Beer Nuts are always great! You could also make your own peanut sauce and leave off the whole nuts.

Have fun with your noodles.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Lost Island of the Philippines

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I took several Philippines Studies courses at UP years ago and I had never heard of San Juan Island, Philippines, until this week. Some say that the island vanished like Atlantis. Kinda far fetched.

Alex R Castro is a historian and museum curator at Holy Angel University in Angeles City. You do not have to buy a book to read his very interesting story online about the Island that vanished in the Philippines. San Juan Island, aka the Phantom Island, lost for a century, has been rediscovered.

Century old maps of the Spanish, Portuguese and Jesuits clearly show San Juan Island, off the coast of Mindanao. It is too large of an island to just vanish off the face of a map. Alex R Castro, with the help of others, discovered what happened to the Lost Philippines Island of San Juan.

Believe It…Or Not

My interest was sparked and I did a little research for myself. From what I gather, San Juan Island was inhabited by Negritos from the Philippines and Indigenous people from Indonesia. San Juan Island was governed by the Manila based Spanish Captaincy of the Philippines.

To make a long story much shorter and without going into greater detail. San Juan Island was taken over in 1899 by the German Empire. In 1914, the Japanese took over San Juan Island from the Germans, during WWI, and they took over other islands in what is now Palau. During WWII, the USA captured San Juan Island and Palau from the Japanese. Today, San Juan Island is known as Sonsorol of Palau. After a terrible typhoon in 2012 and an evacuation, Sonsorol/San Juan Island is inhabited by only 42 people in one village.

The mystery of Lost San Juan Island of the Philippines is solved.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Expat Complaints: Angry White Guys

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Over the years, I’ve heard many expat complaints from guys who are living in the Philippines. Sometimes, they have a valid point and a complaint of merit. Sometimes, their complaint is about something that really bothers them but other times, they seem to be on a witch hunt. Other times, I have wondered if they ever spent any quality amount of time here before making the move. If they had, they would know what they were getting into. No surprises!

Not finding a plumber or an electrician, who measures up to their expat standards, is one common complaint I hear. We have not had any plumbing problems to speak of during the past 7 years, other than an occasional clogged drain, which was easily fixed. We have not had any electrical problems in our houses. Occasional brownouts don’t count, as there is nothing we can do about those and most of us know there are brownouts in the Philippines.

Noise

I learned long ago about the Art of Making Noise in the Philippines. Whether you live in the city or in the countryside, there will be noise at one time or another. In some locations, there is constant noise! We are blessed in that there is not normally loud, disturbing noise in the Bacolod subdivision where we live. We know during the Festivals, we will hear music in the distance but it is not disturbing to us.

Even though I have not lived at the farm full time in 5 years, the crowing of roosters do not disturb me. For others, it may well be a disturbance. Chickens are most everywhere, even in some city subdivisions.

Get With The Program

Some complaints are attempts to change the Filipino Culture to suit the expat and that’s not realistically going to happen. At least not over the long haul. Such complaints will often fuel ill feelings and resentment from our Filipino family and friends. I am not here to change anyone and Filipinos are not trying to change me. We have mutual respect. They have their way of doing things and I have my way of doing things. Both sides with mutual respect.

Some expats do not know the taboos in Filipino Culture and some Filipinos do not know the taboos of various Western Cultures. I think for those living in the Philippines, it should be asked about, after all…this is the Philippines. Even if our wives never lived in our home countries, those who have been married to us for some time know about our Cultures. My wife has spoken up several times and said, “Don’t ask him that. It’s not polite.”

Just sharing recent and long time expat complaints I have heard. Some expat complaints are the same as they were 30 years ago. “Why are they speaking their language?”

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~