Bringing To Life American Classic Meals: Philippines


I enjoy variety in my daily meals and I do not normally like eating the same thing twice during the same day.

A Fish Po Boy with Cole Slaw, Italian Spaghetti, Chili Dogs, Sloppy Joe, Buffalo Wings, Southern Fried Chicken are meals I had at home over the past week. Those are dishes I eat on a regular basis but not daily.

Awhile back, an American friend in Baguio, Harold, reminded me about Chicken a la King, so I made that a couple of times. A month or so ago, I made Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Napa Cabbage, Ground Round Beef and Brown Rice.

Today, I was thinking about bringing back a number of American Meals that I enjoyed in years past. All the ingredients are available in the Bacolod Area in local supermarkets. Hey, you can cook your favorites in Bacolod City!

A Few American Classic Meals

Homemade Hamburger Helper and Tuna Helper are EZ to make without spending P200 for a box of imported Hamburger Helper. Macaroni to make the Helper Meals, Hamburger and Tuna, is very inexpensive. Tuna Casserole with Egg Noodles are also easily made.

Locally sourced Bell Peppers are readily available and a great idea for me is to make Stuffed Bell Peppers.

Salisbury Steak and Hamburger Steak are American Classics to eat.


I do not care much for Filipino Chop Suey but I enjoy Chinese-American Chop Suey, served with Chow Mein Noodles.


Chicken & Rice, cooked together in one pot, remains one of my all time favorites. Another good dish is Shredded Chicken with Egg Noodles.

More recently, my wife made Chicken and Dumplings for he first time. She did an excellent job! She used boxed Bisquick to make the Dumplings.

My wife makes great Shepherd’s Pie and I will remember to ask her to prepare it soon.

We have not made Meatloaf in awhile, so I plan to bring that recipe back in the near future, with Mashed Potatoes. In Alabama, making a sandwich with leftover Meatloaf was always a treat.


I think I have just planned some of my meals in the days ahead.

It is time to get busy in the kitchen! Which meal should I prepare first?

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

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What’s For Breakfast?


I have read all the medical reports about how important the first meal of the day is…for years. For me, the first meal of the day is not usually Breakfast any longer but it is usually Brunch.

Cooking for one person is not fun for me, although I do at times. Only for me.

If I have leftover Pizza or Chili on hand, I will eat one or the other for Brunch. However, I do not have leftover Pizza or Chili on hand everyday.

Cooking Oatmeal or Poaching an Egg to eat on toast is a snap for me but I often do not want to. So, I constantly look online for the good Brunch Recipes. I also take a stroll down Memory Lane and think about what I ate for the first meal of the day when I was growing up. Usually somewhere in the Southern USA.

Many Brunch and Breakfast Choices

Pascual branded Greek Yogurt is available in our area and I can buy it by the case at the distributor, Asia Brewery. Greek Yogurt, Chickpeas and Feta Cheese is a recommended Mediterranean Breakfast or Brunch.

An Over EZ Egg Sandwich on an English Muffin or on your choice of Bread, with Cheese and Mushrooms is another suggestion.

Scrambled Eggs with Tofu and Curry Sauce does not float my boat! No, I will pass on that suggestion.

Avocado, Tomato and Cheese Platter for Brunch is something I can get into.

Hash Browns with Refried Beans and Egg of choice sounds good to me!

I like Steel Cut Oats and I like Rolled Oats but I do not want to eat those everyday over the long haul. Most of the Quaker Oats I see in our area are overloaded with Sugar. No thanks for me.

A couple of days ago, I had a Cheese Omelet on a split Croissant. It hit the spot!


In South Carolina, I had Deep Fried Catfish with Grits and Cornbread, Toast or a Biscuit more times than once. Always good and I wish I could eat it on Saturday! Also She Crab and Grits.

I like Eggs Benedict and I make it but I leave off the Hollandaise Sauce. Purists may not like it but I am the one eating the Eggs Benedict and they can prepare it the way they like it.

Dried Fish with Rice, Instant Noodles, Rice with Corned Beef/Beef Tapa/Tocino/Longaniza/Hot Dog and Fried Egg remain popular among Filipinos in our area for their first meal of the day. Do not forget the Coffee! I also eat those, often referred to as Tapsilog in the Visayas to cover all, other than just Tapa.


I enjoy Lugaw and my wife makes great Lugaw. Yellow Rice with Boiled Eggs made into a Porridge or she will leave off the Boiled Eggs and add Shredded Chicken Meat. Both are good but my wife knows I never, never, eat Eggs and Chicken together.

Pan de sal with Peanut Butter is a local Breakfast that I enjoy. A Southern version would be Cornbread with Honey or Table Syrup…and Butter. What about Cornbread Apple Fritters?

I like the purple colored Salted Duck Egg with Sliced Tomato but my wife advised me not to eat this as the first meal of the day. I asked her why not and she just told me..It is not good for you!

I never had the Elvis Special, Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich, deep fried after being dipped in butter. Or so the story goes, as I never had breakfast with Elvis!

I think Southern Cuisine has some of the best Breakfast and Brunch dishes, at least that I enjoy. I will eat Sausage Gravy over Biscuits even at supper time. I also enjoy Grits any time of the day or night. There is also Bacon Gravy over Biscuits.


If I have Biscuits, I will have a good Brunch or Breakfast or for any meal. The Dixie Special is a large Cathead Biscuit with Ham, Sausage Patty, Bacon, Scrambled Egg, Sliced Tomato and plain White Gravy. Now, we’re talking!

Whatta bout Ham Steak with Red Eye Gravy, Biscuits and Fried Apples?

Of course, Waffles, Pancakes and Johnny Cakes, aka Hoecakes, are good to me. The Native Americans in Florida had Fry Bread available, Corn as well, often with Gator Tail, Turtle, Raccoon, Bobcat, Deer or Otter.

Have a great Breakfast or Brunch!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Sardines


Yes, it is bad news for those living on a limited or daily income, concerning price increases. Many people in the Philippines depend upon the lower prices of canned Fish and Instant Noodles. Just to eat every day!

The DTI, Dept of Trade and Industry, has a website for price checking of basic and prime commodities in the Philippines but their website is not working properly for going on two weeks now.

Canned Fish, such as Sardines, Mackerel and Tuna are considered as Basic Necessities by DTI and they are supposedly keeping check on their retail pricing. To prevent Gouging.

Sardines Are Healthy

I buy canned Sardines and always have 3 or 4 cans on hand. I do not keep a mental note of the exact price of Mega, 555, Ligo, Saba, Capitan del Mar, Family’s Brand, Young’s Town, Master brands of Sardines but I know they are usually P11-P15 per can. Depending upon the brand.

I do not buy Sardines every week but I replace the stock I have on hand, as needed. I prefer buying Victorias Spanish Sardines, which are canned in Victorias City, Negros Occidental, Saba Sardines Adobo, Mikado Sardines and imported Portuguese Sardines. Among the local favorites, I buy both Mega and Ligo Sardines in Tomato Sauce.


When I was growing up, my Dad was a US Navy Officer, a real US Navy Officer, who lived, breathed, ate and slept the World’s Greatest Navy. However, my parents, my brother and I enjoyed eating Sardines on Saltine Crackers with Louisiana Hot Sauce. Thankfully, that was not our main meal of the day.

Inflation and the Sardine War

Sardines Premium Brands are not cheap in America these days. Certainly not as in years past. Crown Prince Sardines in Oil are now selling for $1.85 per can. Best I recall, Crown Prince Sardines were a product of Scotland.

Bumble Bee Sardines in water, canned in Poland, are about the cheapest in America at 89 cents per can. Walmart sells Brunswick Sardines for 96 cents per can.

King Oscar Sardines, sold in America, were also great Sardines, Product of Norway.


A brand of Sardines that I am familiar with in the Southern USA, is Possum Sardines. Those were great! Sadly, the long arm of the FEDS stepped in and put Possum Sardines out of business. According to News Reports. Possum Sardines owned their signature brand, as well as Admiral, Neptune, Bull Frog, Port Clyde and Admiral Sardines. They were the largest supplier of Sardines and when they tried to buy Bumble Bee Sardines, that is when the FEDS stepped in. Proving Possum Sardines was guilty under the RICO Act was over the top and a stretch of the imagination but they were found guilty of…Monopolizing Sardines! Wow, whatta crime!

With the death of Possum Sardines, Brunswick Sardines became most popular in the Southern USA. I also bought Brunswick Sardines when I was still in Alabama and Florida. I liked the Brunswick Sardines packed in Mustard Sauce and Brunswick Sardines packed in Louisiana Hot Sauce. However, Brunswick Sardines are a Canadian Company and not a Brunswick, Georgia Company.


The export version of the Philippines branded Ligo Sardines is internationally recognized as Quality Sardines. Ligo recently landed on a Top 10 List of the World’s Best Sardines in one write up.


After writing this article, I am about to have Mega Sardines on Sky Flake Crackers with Louisiana Hot Sauce.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Adjusting to Life in the Philippines


There are indeed adjustments to be made to Life in the Philippines. Depending upon location and personal attitudes, it may not be a walk in the park for some expats. The transition was EZ for me. A number of expats from the Southern USA are taken back to another time in America, as there is a correlation of the laid back Southern lifestyle, as is still found in some areas of the Philippines today.

After being away for so many years and living abroad, even some returning Filipinos cannot make the transition to living here year round. They like to visit for a few months each year but they do not want to really live here full time.

I can honestly say that over the past 31 years of my experience of living in the Philippines 3 times and visiting annually, many foreigners made the adjustment. Among those who I have come to know and some, even befriended. The main reason they made the adjustment is because they wanted to. They realized that the Philippines is not back home. The Philippines as a whole is not trying to be like any other location around the world.

What You See Is What You Get

It is what it is. Like it or not and take it or leave it. Bacolod is not ever going to be Florida and I do not expect it to. I have long accepted the Philippines as it is. It is not Loxahatchee, Apalachicola, the Everglades, Sopchoppy, Cedar Key, Live Oak, Ft Walton Beach, Orlando or Miami Beach.

The last year, after the 2016 Philippines Presidential Election, has been much different than any time I have been here since 1986. Much different! A different Admin, a different Agenda and a different Direction.

And then there are the laws. Some foreigners think they can say or do anything here and the law is the same as in the USA or as in other home countries. Foreigners living in the Philippines are living under all the Philippine Laws. Freedom of Speech only goes so far. Libel and Slander are Crimes in the Philippines and not just Civil Offenses.

There are also Filipino Cultural Taboos, which a number of expats do not know about, while others are not interested in knowing about!

The Food Issue


I think for the most part, the expat food issue has been solved in the adjustment, especially for those living in mid-size and large cities. During the last 5 years, more and more food items that I enjoy have arrived in Bacolod and are readily available much of the year. Not all but many. Some food items turn up, are then sold out, never to appear again.

There are probably a few food items that I have forgotten about but if I do not think about them, then I do not want them or need them. I had not forgotten about Johnsonville Italian Sausage and it is now available at Cafe Bob’s Deli. I did not buy all their stock but I bought 2 packages. Silva Linguica Portuguese Sausage also returned to Bob’s.

That’s What Friends Are For

I think your life will be much more rewarding in the Philippines when you have good Filipino friends. I know someone in our area of the Philippines who can help me with anything that arises. Anything! Problems, bumps in the roads, inconveniences, trouble on the rise, can all be nipped in the bud if you have a good network of Filipino friends. I have found if they don’t know what to do to assist, they know someone who does. A friend of a friend of a friend or a relative. Maybe even a friend of a relative.

The Philippines is a great place with beautiful people. Whether you are planning to move here to live or not, I hope you will at least visit the Philippines one day. I think you will be glad that you did.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~