Foreigners Attire in the Philippines

Hot Weather does not seem to affect me adversely as it does many foreigners in the Philippines or it could just be a lifestyle thing. I would not go out in public dressed like the majority of foreigners I see in public, in our area. It is just not my Style. I prefer Style over Fashion. They seem to think Shorts, Tank Top, Flip Flops are the Fashion for Foreigners in the Philippines.

If they are looking to impress Filipinas, they are dead wrong. I have received many compliments from Filipinas, even strangers, about how nice I appear.

Sharp Dressed Man

I wear Levis, a Bench Polo Shirt, Nike Casual Shoes with Socks when I go out in public. At home, I wear Levis, a pull over shirt instead of a T-Shirt but I indeed wear flip flops in the house. Caribbean Island brand, which last for years and years. Well worth the P239 price tag. They are high quality.

The only time I wear shorts is when I am sleeping.

I have nothing against shorts but I think they look much better on Women than on Men. Daisy Dukes are fine on Women!

One Softball Team I was on decided to change the uniform pants to shorts. I told the Coach if that is the case…I quit! It does not look good plus when I played ball, I was a Wild Horse. I would slide on the bases, make diving catches in the field and I was not hurting my legs by playing in shorts!

Style vs Fashion

All my life, I have been particular about the attire I wear, even at home. My parents gave me money to buy my school clothes and I bought what I liked to wear, not what they wanted me to wear.

I am not much into branded clothing unless I actually like it. I do not care how popular it is.

In 1966 at St Andrews Jr High School in Charleston, SC, I wore Cordovan color Penny Loafers without Socks to school. The Vice Principal called me to the side in the hallway one day and he asked me…who are you wearing those like that? I told him, I am a Greezer! He said…ah, ok, go on to Class. A boy heard the conversation and word spread. McMurrain is a Greezer. The next days ahead, more boys were wearing Cordovan color Penny Loafers without Socks to school.

As an American, I want to look presentable in the Philippines. After all, I represent the USA. Not only that, God does not like Ugly! We cannot change our handsomeness but we can certainly wear presentable clothing.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Modern Filipino Cuisine

The Traditional Filipino Cuisine and the Food that Filipinos actually eat have undergone Fusion, the integration of Diverse Cuisines. Over the past 3 decades is pronounced. Younger Filipinos, especially, are no longer holding onto Traditional Filipino Cuisine, as they embrace more International Cuisine. Often which is infused into Filipino Cuisine.

Chinese immigrant Ma Mon Luk, from Guangzhou China, introduced Sio Pao and Chicken Mami to Filipinos over one century ago, in Binondo, Manila. Today, Ma Mon Luk Restaurant is still open on Quezon Avenue in Quezon City. Same location since the 1950s.

In 1945, Maximo Gimenez, a Stanford University trained Teacher, revolutionized Chicken in the Philippines. He introduced American Southern Fried Chicken to the public, after initially serving it to US GIs at the end of WWII. Maxi’s Restaurant-The House That Fried Chicken Built was started in Quezon City. Today, there are many branches and franchises all around the Philippines. Max’s Restaurant-The House That Fried Chicken Built!

Shakey’s Pizza! Founded in 1954 in Sacramento, California, Shakey’s had a vision to expand. In 1975, San Miguel opened their first owned Shakey’s Pizza in Makati. Draft San Miguel Pilsen was promoted in Shakey’s Pizza. Pizza and Beer! They certainly go hand in hand. Over 30 years ago, I frequented Shakey’s Pizza on Roxas Blvd in Manila to not only enjoy Pizza and Draft San Miguel but to also enjoy the live Rock n’ Roll Bands. Enjoying Filipino Bands versions of…Bon Jovi, Steve Winwood, Eddie Money, Bob Seger, Van Helen, Genesis, Steve Miller Band and those rocking Rolling Stones!

Over the years, more and more American owned Restaurants have opened all around the Philippines. McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken-KFC, Pizza Hut are most well known. However, you can add now to the mix…Papa John’s Pizza, Chili’s Bar & Grill, International House of Pancakes-IHOP, Taco Bell, Wendy’s Hamburgers, Burger King, Catfish King and other American Restaurants.

With the K-Pop invasion in the Philippines of Korean students and Korean business owners, Korean Cuisine is a main player among the Food Industry in the Philippines.British, Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Indian, Vietnamese, Thai Japanese, Swiss, German, Italian, British, Mexican, Spanish Cuisine, are all available, around the Philippines in mid-size and large cities. Bacolod City is no exception.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Jian’s Restaurant

We had passed by an interesting looking Restaurant a number of times in the past but we had never stopped there. Well, tonight we did. Wow!

JIan’s looks like a small restaurant but once you go inside, you will see that is actually large. It is a Garden Courtyard style Restaurant with an air con dining area indoors.

We ordered several dishes to share and I ordered their BLT, which was served as a Submarine Sandwich. It was great, with Cucumbers added if I wanted them on my Sub.

Pancit Bihon with Shrimp, Pork Sisig and Fried Mushrooms with Garlic Butter Sauce. All the food was fabulous and everyone in our group enjoyed it.

A few prices for ya. The BLT is P140. The Fried Mushrooms are P75. The Sisig is P149 and the Pancit is P165. Most all dishes on the Menu at Jian’s are under P200.

Ice Cold San Miguel Pilsen is P50 per bottle.

Jian’s has about a half dozen different Sandwiches on their menu.

I do not normally order Spaghetti in a restaurant but next time, I plan trying their Spaghetti Anchovy with Garlic Bread and Salad.

Foreigners and Filipinos alike should enjoy Jian’s Restaurant. Fabulous atmosphere and nice decor as well. Service was very good and much better than average, as witnessed in some other restaurants.

Jian’s is located in Puntebella Subdivision, 2nd Road Venus Street, beside Santo Nino Orphanage, Barangay Taculing.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Hua Kong Chinese Pharmacy and Grocery

Hua Kong Chinese Pharmacy has been in Bacolod since 1949. It also is a small grocery store. Hua Kong is located on Tindalo Avenue, near the Triangle Shopping Center.

Since 1984, I have exclusively turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine when I needed medication, which is not often. Acupuncture, together with Chinese Herbal and Natural Medication works wonders for me!

The Traditional Chinese Medications and Herbs are bought OTC, over the counter, at Hua Kong. Tiger Balm, Golden Throat Lozenges and Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa Herbal Cough Elixir are 3 Natural Medications I keep on hand at home.

Hua Kong is one of the few places where you can buy the American Antacid, TUMS, which is also not a harsh medication.

There are knowledgeable staff on hand to tell you about Chinese Traditional Medicine.

Spices, Herbs and Health Drinks

Hua Kong is the best source in Bacolod for Spices and Herbs, used in your kitchen. It is the only seller of Prague Powder that I have seen, used in Sausage Making and Meat Curing.

Health Drinks! Hua Kong is the place to go. They have a number of types of Chinese tea, Ginseng Coffee and Coffee with Tongkat Ali. Alcohol drinks include Tsingtao Beer and Ginseng Wine, with the whole Ginseng Root in the bottle. It will get your motor running!

You will find Cashews, Walnuts and Almonds at Hua Kong, together with Sunflower Seeds as well.

A few days ago, I bought a large package of Pork Jerky at Hua Kong for P200.

I also bought Hopia that same day. Hopia is a Chinese-Filipino Pastry. Fillings include Pork, Mung Bean or Purple Yam. Hua Kong has several brands of Hopia and I like Salazar brand, Hopia Baboy, which has Pork filling.

Hua Kong has fresh Vegetables and an excellent source for buying Oranges and Apples. Canned Meats are also on the shelves, together with Condiments.

If you have never been to Hua Kong, I think you will enjoying browsing in their store.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Expat Fun Activities in the Philippines

There are many Fun Activities in the Philippines that expats will enjoy. Not all expats enjoy the same activities but I think there is pretty much something for everyone.

For me, Bacolod City, the City of Smiles, indeed brings smiles into my life. Never a boring day for me.

The Dog Racing is really great for me because it is something I enjoyed in Florida for years and now, I can enjoy it in Bacolod. P50 is less than $1 bet and it makes it interesting. No one is going to lose much betting that amount and it is cheap entertainment.

Not so many expats enjoy Karaoke but I think it is because they never participated in real Karaoke. Where I sing Karaoke, not many would try to sing if they could not sing fairly well. Many Filipinos are on the pro level of singers, yet they are common people.

Some expats like beaches and some expats like mountains. Both are here in Negros Occidental, as well as in many locations around the Philippines.

Some expats enjoy Casinos and there are many PAGCOR licensed Casinos around the Philippines. PAGCOR also has Poker Rooms and high stakes Bingo Halls. As long as a person can control their bets, I see nothing wrong with playing Cards, Bingo or Slot Machines. Mahjong, either, for that matter. Whatta bout Dominoes? Checkers? Chess? Wagering P10 or P20 per game makes it interesting, for fun! Nothing high stakes and in moderation.

Bacolod has an annual Jazz Festival at the L’ Fisher Hotel.

There are 3 Golf Country Clubs in the Bacolod Area, 2 in Bacolod and 1 in Victorias City.

The MassKara Festival every October and the Pannad sa Negros Festival every April attract many Filipinos and foreigners to the City of Smiles. The Mud Pack Festival in Murcia at Mambukal Hot Springs and Mountain Resort is also popular, every June.

Two days ago, our son was a little achy from Basketball and Volleyball Practice at his school and he wanted to go sit in Mambukal Japanese Hot Springs. So, off we went, as Murcia is only about a 25 minute drive east of Bacolod. Twenty minutes is about as long as I can tolerate sitting in the Japanese Hot Springs, as they are indeed Hot, Hot, Hot…Springs.

I have been dragged into an Entertainment Bar a couple of times by close Filipino friends but at age 63, I know those Non Stop Erotic Bars are just a Fantasy. Nothing I am into. But for those who like it, there are half a dozen such Bars in Bacolod, with many, many more in Cebu City and in Manila.

On a side note, one All Around Bacolod reader told me he met his future wife at the Silver Dollar Bar in Cebu City. She is now in the USA and apparently, they have a good marriage…so far, so good!

Fishing, Boating, Surfing and Diving are widely available…all around the Philippines.

Zumba Dancing? Yep, I have seen foreigners joining in this group dancing in malls and in parks in Bacolod.

I am into Tai Chi and they have it daily, early morning, at Panaad Park in Bacolod. Tai Chi is great, better than meditation yoga in my book. I have created a number of new Tai Chi movements that I use daily. I do Tai Chi at home, mostly.

Art Lessons are given at several Bacolod Malls in a group setting. Low cost and fun in being creative with mostly Filipinos. I have been into Jackson Pollock style Abstract Art for years, so I do not need lessons but I enjoy sharing this wonderful creative technique with others. It is Free Style, basically and you are only limited by your imagination. Run wild!

Do not forget church services! Many think that the Catholic Church is the only church in the Philippines but that is certainly not the case. There are many denominations of churches in the Philippines. Full Gospel, Apostolic, United Pentecostal, Independent Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist, Mormon churches are all here and others as well.

Every NFL and MLB Season, I draft a Fantasy Football and Baseball Team on CBS Sports and ESPN, while in the Philippines. I am able to manage the teams all seasons.

The above is my team logo for my El Javelinas Fantasy Baseball Team on CBS Sports.

You see, there are many activities in the Philippines for expats to enjoy.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Home Gardening and Small Scale Farming

We have maintained a Home Garden in the Bacolod Area since 2009. It is a Hobby for us, rather than growing vegetables due to inflation. However, a Home Garden can allow you to keep more of your money during Inflationary Times. .

In Bacolod, we live in a city subdivision and we only have two small divided strips of actual yard. My wife planted Pine Trees there. However, we had a Home Garden in the city for 7 years, without a yard.

We made a Planter on our compound property in the subdivision. We dug up some of the concrete, added soil and enclosed the front and sides with hollow blocks. We use Compost and we supplement with Organic Fertilizer.

We grow Calamansi and Herbs in large pots, both plastic and clay pots.

Container Gardening

There are so many ways to have a Home Garden in the city, even a large one. If it is a container, you can use it to plant in. Within reason, of course. Cut off large, upside down Soda Bottles, empty large Ice Cream Containers, Empty Paint Cans and Empty Coffee Cans are only a few ideas of containers that can be recycled as Planters.

Halved Bamboo Tubes, Bamboo Trellis, Wooden Crates/Boxes, old Ice Chest/Cooler and even a Clothes Basket can be used as Planters. Large Mason Jars and Empty Rice Sacks can also be used as Planters.

Potatoes can be grown in a Clothes Basket or you can make a Potato Planter out of Chicken Wire. Just wrap the Chicken Wire around to form a cylinder shaped Planter and there you go!

At our farmhouse, south of Bacolod, we have plenty of space in our yard to maintain a larger Home Garden. Since we live in the city full time, a brother in law maintains our garden down at the farm.

I have researched Agriculture in the Philippines for the past decade. I have read much online and personally talked to experts, while attending seminars as well. All about Agriculture in the Philippines.

If you live in the Province or in a rural area of a city, 1 hectare can feed a family of 4 year round if properly managed. Vegetables, Fruit, Meat and Dairy. If you have more land, you are in business!

Small Scale Farming

My wife and 2 of her brothers grow 3.1 hectares of Rice, south of Bacolod. There is still one half hectare not being utilized. I have suggested planting vegetables on that area.

Honestly, I firmly believe that there is more money to be made in High Value Vegetables than in Rice. And you can believe that! I suggested planting the entire 3.6 hectares with High Value Vegetables and forget about Rice.

You may ask yourself…what are High Value Vegetables? Well, I am happy sharing that information. From personal experience, the Seeds from East-West Seeds, available all around the Philippines, prosper the best with larger crop yields.

Here we go! Galaxy F1 and Santa Rita Ampalaya/Bitter Gourd. Django F1, Vulcan, and Hotshot Hot Peppers. Any variety of Sweet Peppers. Onion Bulb. Diamonte Max F1 and Marimax F1 Tomatoes. Morena F1 Eggplant. Bandana F1 and Jumbo Green Cucumber. Macho Corn and any variety of String Beans. Those are all High Value Vegetables.

There you have it! Enjoy your Home Garden and enjoy your Small Scale Farm.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~