The Positives of Aging


The US State Dept reports that there are more than 300,000 US citizens living in the Philippines. Many, if not most, are retirees. Being a Senior Citizen does not require a negative stereotype. Many never made it to your age and they are no longer on the planet but you are still alive and kicking!

In Manila, there is a US Social Security office, there is a US VA Clinic and the Philippine Retirement Authority offers the SRRV, Special Resident’s Retiree Visa.

Power of Positive Thinking

During my mid 20s, I discovered the Power of Positive Thinking. It has ever since gone hand in hand with my Faith. Fear and Doubt counters Faith. Negative Thinking counters all things Positive. I know there are limitations as we get older but there does not have to be many automatic limitations. We should do what remains within our comfort zone. It does not mean to take to a rocking chair and wait around to die!

I often wondered why many Senior Citizens remain very active into their 90s and others seem to shut down in their 60s and early 70s?

They Take a Licking and Keep On Ticking

In both the Philippines and in America, there are many senior citizen politicians, with some being around in office for more than 40-50 years. There are term limits in the Philippines but not in America, however, in the Philippines, many keep coming back to office when allowed to run for office again.

Fidel Ramos Photo

Juan Ponce Enrile termed out last year as a Philippine Senator at age 92. Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada is 80. Former President Fidel Ramos is 89 and he was on the campaign trail last year, campaigning for Duterte. Imelda Marcos is 88 and is a current Congresswoman of Ilocos Norte.


Recently watching a Tennessee Titans NFL game, I saw Dick LaBeau walking the sidelines of the Titans with a head set and holding a play chart. Dick LaBeau is the Defensive Coordinator and the Assistant Coach of the Tennessee Titans. Dick LaBeau was born in 1937 and he is 80 years of age.

A day or so ago, I saw author Mary Higgins Clark on Fox News, promoting her new book. Ms Clark was born in 1927 and she will turn 90 on Christmas Eve this year. Despite battling arthritis in her hands, Mary Higgins Clark is still writing.


One of my favorite Baseball personalities is Trader Jack McKeon. At age 72, Trader Jack won a World Series while managing the Florida Marlins. Trader Jack retired from Managing 2 years later but remained a Consultant in Baseball Operations. Six years later, at age nearing 78, Trader Jack returned to the dugout to manage the Florida Marlins just one more time. He said he did not need the job but he loves managing. Trader Jack McKeon will turn 87 this month, he is still following the game of baseball and he is still smoking his cigars. He is now retired in North Carolina.

There are many more examples of people being productive and active from ages 70+ to 100. A number of them have 3 or more chronic medical conditions but they do not let those derail them.

There are some negatives in aging but some can be turned into positives. There is no Fountain of Youth but positives can outweigh the negatives if the person makes that decision.

Many Filipinas often say…Age is only a number and there is much truth in their statement! You are as young as you feel.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

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All Around Bacolod: Sharing the Grandeur of the Philippines


February 2018 will mark the 6th year I have been publishing articles about the Philippines on my website, All Around Bacolod. My Vision and my Mission have always remained to share the Grandeur of the Philippines, especially about the Bacolod Area.

Who Reads All Around Bacolod?

Word Press has daily statistics that I can refer to as to where my readers and followers are actually located. Today, thus far to this moment, people reading All Around Bacolod are located in the USA, Canada, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. Yesterday, Russia and Australia made the list together with the mentioned 5 countries.

There are many people around the world who have not yet visited the Philippines. There are many others who have visited the Philippines, some have visited many times, and they have plans to live in the Philippines during their retirement years.

I do not mind expats living in Bacolod reading my articles, however, they are certainly not the base or core of my followers and readers. They are already here and if they get out of their houses, they should already know much about Bacolod City and about the surrounding areas.

The Bacolod Area is not the only location in the Philippines but it has been my home since June 2009. From 1986-2000, I lived in Metro Manila 2 times and I most annually visited, sometimes 2-3 times during the year. However, my experience in Manila is highly outdated and is no longer accurate.

More Than Beaches


Many beaches in the Philippines are very beautiful, however, not everyone likes the beach. Some expats prefer life in the rural mountain areas of the Philippines. Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto are the two mountain areas I am most familiar with in the Bacolod Area.


All expats do not like the beaches or the mountain areas and they prefer living in a large city in the Philippines. Some prefer many more choices to enjoy a vibrant nightlife, many more choices for great dining and many more choices to enjoy great shopping. The city lifestyle is for them!

Why I Chose to Live in the Bacolod Area

My wife is from the Bacolod Area, however, she did not pressure me to live here if I did not like it. After 3 extended visits to the Bacolod Area, 6 weeks each time, I decided that this is the area where I wanted to retire to and live in the Philippines. I have never regretted my decision!

Bacolod City was named this year by a panel of experts as The Model City in the Philippines. Previously, Bacolod City has been awarded as the Greenest, Cleanest and Most Livable City in the Philippines…several times.

In Bacolod City, there is great dining, with many choices of Cuisine and there is also great shopping. Education from K-University is excellent…if the right educational institution is chosen for attending. There are 5 Private Hospitals in Bacolod City. Overall, based upon the words of Filipino family and friends, the Medical Care in Bacolod City is very good to excellent, depending upon the Hospital and their personal MD.

Currently, there are 8 Shopping Malls in the Bacolod Area, which also includes Talisay City. A new larger Ayala Mall is under construction as I write.

Compared to the well known large cities in the Philippines, Bacolod does not have the traffic, crime or pollution problems. Bacolod is a mid-sized city and we feel it is a great place to raise our son.

The City of Smiles

Bacolod City lives up their reputation of The City of Smiles. The vast majority of the Filipinos who are friends, family acquaintances and among those I newly meet are very nice, extremely friendly and are eager to be helpful if needed.

The vast majority of the Filipinos in my circle and the ones I know on a more casual basis are originally from Negros Occidental. Not being critical of other Regions and the people from those Regions, I have found the Filipinos in Negros Occidental to have a very gentle character and a laid back lifestyle. I lived in the Southern USA most of my life and the Filipinos and their hospitality in our area reminds me very much of the people in both Alabama and in Northern Florida. The elderly are respected, God, Family, Flag and Country are loved and people are neighborly.

I have many wonderful Filipino friends in the Bacolod Area. People should do what they need to be happy and having many foreign friends is not a requirement for my happiness. There are only two foreigners living in the subdivision where we live…me and another American. We have not even seen one another since last year.

Moving to the Bacolod Area is the best move I have made.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

What Do You Miss in the Philippines?


While living in the Philippines, there is not much that I miss from the Southern USA. For the most part, items I cannot actually store buy, I can make at home.


If imported Grits are not available, I can buy White Corn and take it to the grinder to run it through several times to get the texture I like to make Grits. Imported Grits are not available year round in Bacolod and I have not seen the boxed Albers Grits in more than one full year.


Moon Pies! I have not had a Moon Pie in 17 years. Unless S&R in Iloilo sells Moon Pies, I doubt I will ever eat one in our area of the Philippines.


Slim Jim is another product I would enjoy but I have never seen them in the Visayan areas of Philippines where I have been.

Licorice is not available year round in our area.


On the social scene, I do miss going to a Honky Tonk with a live C&W Band and seeing Stetsons, Tony Lama Boots and the Honky Tonk Angels/Redneck Cowgirls with their names on the back of their belts, waiting to be asked to cut a rug out on the dance floor. However, I know those days are long gone and my Dance Card has done been punched.


I am not complaining because, overall, there is very little that I miss from the South, which I cannot get or see in the Bacolod Area. I see many similarities here compared to where I am from. There are many Filipinos here who love God, Family, Country and Flag. Many Filipinos still respect the elderly, they are friendly and neighborly. The Filipino Hospitality is much like Southern Hospitality.

I do not remember ever encountering many people in the Southern USA who are so unhappy, mean and ornery like I have met among the expat crowd in Bacolod. There are some nice expats here but there are also a number of crabby, grumpy, grouchy, ill-tempered and down right vicious expats in the City of Smiles. That is why I avoid most of them. Over time, even some of the expats I thought were nice could only put up a front for so long and out came their real characters and personalities.

Overall, I am certainly blessed and who could not love living among wonderful Filipinos in the City of Smiles?

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~