Victorias City: Sugarlandia of Negros


Victorias City is actually my favorite city outside of Bacolod in Negros Occidental. It does not receive publicity as being… the next highly urbanized city in Negros Occidental, as Kabankalan has that label.

Located 46 km north of Bacolod, on the coast, Victorias City is already highly developed in many ways.

Have Fun!

Various PBA Teams play games throughout the seasons at the City Sports and Amusement Complex, complete with a professional basketball court.

VMC Golf and Country Club is located in Victorias City. Korean tourists play Golf at VMC, as well as other foreign tourists and residents of Bacolod City and surrounding areas.


Victorias Milling Company, named the World’s Largest Integrated Sugar Mill, sits on 7,000 hectares. Victorias Milling Company provides very nice subsidized housing for its employees, including a number of our relatives. Very affordable living.

On site of Victorias Milling Company is St Joseph the Worker Chapel. It is home to the Internationally Acclaimed Mural, The Angry Christ, painted by artist Alfonso Ossorio.


Penalosa Farms is the most famous Organic Farm in Negros Occidental, located in Victorias City. Their Products include…100% Certified Organic Meat, Poultry, Vegetables and Fruits. They also make and bottle their own line of Salad Dressing, Spiced Vinegar and Chili Sauce.

I had Victorias Bacon for breakfast this morning, which is produced by Victorias Foods in Victorias City. They also have fabulous Cooked Ham. Victorias Bacon is the best Bacon, in my opinion, among all Philippines Produced Bacon, available in our area. Maybe even better than Hormel!

Victorias Foods is probably more famous for their Spanish Style Bangus and Spanish Style Sardines, canned at their Victorias City Cannery.


Victorias City has a Winery. Federico’s Winery produces great Tropical Wine, Bignay, Duhat and Mangga.

One of the better Pizzerias, Pizzaro Pizza, chose Victorias City as their first branch outside Bacolod City, 4 years ago or so.


Victorias City attracts tourists during their 3 annual Festivals, including the largest, The Sugar Festival.

There are nearby Beach Resorts, outside Victorias City. We attended a Family Reunion several years back at a Beach Resort in that area.

I think Victorias City is a cool place to visit. Play Golf, catch a PBA game, go to the Beach, buy Organic Food or Victorias Food Products to take home, have a Pizzaro Pizza, buy a bottle of Tropical Wine and check out the Angry Christ mural, together with other sightseeing spots.

A new City Mall just recently opened in Victorias City, which really upgrades shopping and dining options.

Gawahon Eco Park has beautiful scenery at a higher elevation. Kayaking, Paddle Boating. Swimming and Hiking are some of the activities. None I am really interested in but I enjoy the scenery. For those who want to overnight, there are rooms, villas and suites, P1,200-P2,000 per night.

Inside the Victorias Milling Company is the full size Locomotive on display. It was actually used in years past to haul Sugarcane. Interestingly, the Locomotive was made by Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, PA.


There is a 43 year old Carabao Sundial on display in Victorias City, which is working. Time numbers are inscribed on the horns of the Carabao Sculptor.

Federico Tropical Wine is sold in Luzon at various stores. The Kultura Dept at SM Dept Store sells it in Bacolod and so does several Pasalubong Stores. The Bignay Wine is great, in my opinion. The taste is somewhere in between a Cherry and Currant. The Duhat Tropical Wine is also very good, with the taste similar to Plum Wine. Popular with Japanese tourists and residents in our area. And popular with Expat Winos. Joke only!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

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Best Hot Dog Stand


We took our cousin, who was visiting from Illinois, to the airport several days ago, to catch her flight to Manila and then on to Chicago.

In the area between Fior Coffee Shop and the public rest rooms is a Pure Foods Hot Dog Stand. However, they do not use the common Pure Foods Hot Dogs. No, they use the German Frankfurters, Schublig Sausage, Angus Beef Frankfurters, Hungarian Sausage and Hungarian Cheese Sausage to make their Hot Dogs.

The Classic Hot Dog is a German Frankfurter with Chopped Onions, Mustard and Pickle Relish and it was fabulous. Article Headliner Photo is the Classic Hot Dog.. Price is P75. Our son ordered the Bacon and Cheese Hot Dog, with the Hungarian Cheese Sausage used as the Dog. It was also P75. A nice treat today.


There are about 10 different Hot Dogs and Sausage Dogs on their menu, including 2 types of Chili Dogs.


The Airport Hot Dog Stand has cold Beer to enjoy with your Dog. Pilsen, San Mig Light and Red Horse in cans. P60 each.


I doubt anyone will be going to the Bacolod-Silay Airport to get an excellent Hot Dog/Sausage Dog, but if you have to go there, check them out.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Rib Shack


Last evening, we shopped at Metro Supermarket at Ayala Mall in Talisay. After shopping, everyone in our group of 4 were ready to eat!

I was outnumbered, which was no problem to me concerning where to eat out. Rib Shack is what the other 3 with me wanted. More Power! Our son and our best Filipino friend wanted Bacon BBQ Pork, 2 Skewers for P99 with (what else?) RICE. My wife ordered BBQ Chicken Inasal with Rice for P99. I opted for Grilled Bangus Fish for P125. I am Porked out lately! I had Pork Spare Ribs at home, 2 nights ago. Everyone, everyone enjoyed their BBQ at the Rib Shack. They not only have good BBQ, their Food is not overpriced. It is very affordable. Check ’em out at the Rib Shack.

The Rib House has branches at Talisay Ayala Mall, SM Mall, 888 Chinatown Square Mall and in Kabankalan.


Boneless Bangus is a great local Fish to Grill. You gotta love it! I kick it up by making my own Tartar Sauce, using Mayonnaise, Horseradish and Pickle Relish. Depending on my taste, I use Sweet Pickle Relish or Dill Pickle Relish.

Last evening was not our First Rodeo at the Rib Shack. No, we have eaten there several times over the past couple of years. I like their Back Ribs.


When we are out shopping, we have a number of favorite restaurants where we enjoy dining in the Bacolod Area.

At home, my favorite Hobby includes BBQ, Barbecue, Barbeque! Making BBQ has long been one of my favorite methods of preparing Food, going back in the day when I lived in Alabama and in Florida, USA.


I have long been a Saucier during my Home Culinary Adventures. I really, really enjoy creating Sauces, especially BBQ Sauce. For more than 30 years, I have been making the Alabama Gibson White BBQ Sauce for Grilled Chicken. It consists of Mayonnaise, Horseradish, White Vinegar, Lime/Lemon/Calamansi Juice and Cracked Black Pepper. It is soooooo good!


Like Celebrity Chef Bobby Flay, I greatly enjoy…Grillin’ and Chillin’. Chicken, Ribs, Pork Chops, Pork Steaks, Beef Steaks, Sausages, Hamburgers and Hot Dogs. I love them all…hot off the Grill.


Whatcha Gonna Grill?

It really depends on what I am in the mood to eat that day, as to what I BBQ. When there is a gathering of friends and family, I grill a large variety, wanting to plate something for everyone. I do not mind but it never fails, everybody, everybody has a request for me to BBQ on my Charcoal Grill.

I would never, never, never buy and use a Gas BBQ Grill. I like Authentic BBQ and only Charcoal or Wood Chips are all this BBQ Cowboy uses.

It is time to fire up the Grill!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Samurai Xpress


A friend gave me a good tip about a new Japanese Restaurant that is still on Soft Opening. While we were out and in the area, we dropped by Samurai Xpress this evening, for the 2nd time within the past week.

Chef Keigo, a Japanese guy, is the owner and the Chef. He prepares all the dishes upon order and he does not allow Filipinos to prepare his Japanese dishes. He wants to keep his Japanese Food 100% authentic.

There were four in our group. I ordered the 10 piece Pork Takoyaki Balls, which are only P98. I also ordered Japanese Potato Salad for P98, served with Cole Slaw and 4 slices of Pork. My wife ordered Pork Katsudon and our son ordered Shrimp Tempura. Our Filipino friend ordered Chicken Teriyaki. We shared the dished, as my friend and I enjoyed a San Miguel Apple Beer.


Our total bill was P630, including the Beer and 2 other drinks. A great deal for great Food!

All four of us raved about our Japanese Food. Awesome! We look forward to our next visit to Samurai Xpress. Next time, I will order Crab Takoyaki Balls.

Chef Keigo comes around to tables to greet all his customers.

Samurai Xpress is located on 27th Street, off Lacson, in the new Food Park, Mercato Viente Siete. Check it out~

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Cajun and New Orleans Cuisine


I enjoy Cajun and New Orleans Cuisine as much as I enjoy Mexican Cuisine. Probably more so.

The only ingredient I have not found in Bacolod to make Cajun and New Orleans dishes is File Powder. Never saw it here, no, not once.

We had not been to Lopues Mandalagan Supermarket in awhile, so we dropped by there yesterday. They still have a variety of Imported Food Products.

Campbell’s Grilled Chicken and Sausage Gumbo for P200 per 18 oz can was the find of the day. I prefer making my own dishes from scratch but having a can of something good always comes in handy.


Bob’s Deli sells Creole Seasoning for P150 per large container. Cajun Marinade, McCormick brand, is readily available in the major supermarkets in Bacolod, less than P50 per package. Cajun BBQ is a type of Southern BBQ and is always good to me.

Andouille Sausage can be bought at Bob’s Deli and at Robinsons Supermarket in Robinsons Place Mall but not year round.


Many Cajuns eat Rice during their main meals, so Cajun Cuisine fits right in the Philippines! However, most always with Gravy on Cajun Rice and not a side dish of plain white Rice. Rice is incorporated in a number of Cajun dishes.

I make Dirty Rice, using Chicken Livers and Chicken Gizzards. A one pot Rice dish.


Jambalaya! It is a Rice dish but the sky is the limit as to what you put in this wonderful dish. EZ to make. The feature photo of this article is Jambalaya.

A Po Boy is a great Sandwich anytime for me. I especially like making a Fish Po Boy, garnished with Cole Slaw. Oyster Po Boy is great, too.


Cornbread is a staple in Cajun and New Orleans Cuisine. We make Cornbread often. Fried Corn Bread and Cornbread Muffins.

One Restaurant I would like to see in our area is Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Love that Chicken from Popeyes. Best restaurant Chicken in my book, among chain restaurants. Olde Dixie Fried Chicken in Orlando.Florida is also tops but they are not a chain store.


Now, if only Dixie Beer from New Orleans would turn up in Bacolod!

Laissez les bon temps rouler! Cajun for…Let the Good Time Roll!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

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 ~