Four More Weeks of Christmas in the Philippines

It all began on September 1, the beginning of the Christmas Celebration in the Philippines. For some Filipinos, the last day of the Christmas Celebration is on Three Kings Day, each January 6. However, it is not over til it’s over! For other Filipinos…

Christmas continues with the Feast of the Black Nazarene coming up on Monday, January 9 this year. That is not the end. Feast of the Santo Nino is the 3rd Sunday in January, 21st this year.

For Filipinos in Jaro, Iloilo and in Candelaria, Quezon, the final day of the Christmas Celebration is the Feast of Our Lady of the Candles on February 2.

For my family, Three Kings Day on Saturday wraps of our Christmas Celebration. Why not have one more Traditional Christmas Meal?

What do Filipinos eat on Three Kings Day? I do not know what Filipinos eat on Three Kings Day, as we have not met up with others, that I recall, as we eat at home or eat out.

Lechon Asado sounds good to me, which is basically Pork Roast and not a whole roasted pig. I’ve tried the Chinese-Filipinos Lechon Asado and it is basically Char Siu Pork. That is not what I want! Cubans in South Florida make fabulous Lechon Asado and I am not sure I can duplicate their version but I will enjoy giving it my best shot. I have the authentic Cuban Recipe for Lechon Asado.

Happy Three Kings Day!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

What to Do in the Philippines on Christmas Day

The church service is over, you have enjoyed the midnight Noche Buena meal with your family & friends, you have slept a little and what’s next? It is Christmas Day!

Stay at home or take to the highway?

Do They Know It’s Christmas Time At All?

On Christmas Day, some in the family go to the beach and have a cookout or a picnic. Some go to the mountain, Pandanon Valley, for the same. Some head out to one of the malls, which are open. My wife and son went swimming with other moms and our son’s classmates.

I may well be the last foreigner living in Bacolod to dine at Pepe’s Restaurant. We finally made it and had Christmas Dinner there. They have a very interesting menu, including Smoked Baracuda. Pepe’s is the only restaurant in Bacolod where I have seen Anchovy Pizza on their menu and that is what I ordered. It was awesome.

I was thinking of the Smoked Barracuda but my wife said it is not good eating fish on Christmas Day. So, I didn’t.

The others in our group ordered Pepperoni Pizza, Cheeseburgers and Baby Back Ribs. We also shared a Greek Salad. All the food was great.

Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room

Some foreigners hit the bars and some bars are open on Christmas Days. Lonely guys like girls dancing on bars and girls like guys driving fast cars. Hello Bret Michaels! Cold beer and hot chicks. It beats spending time in a lonely room at home, all alone.

I have never been alone at Christmas time in the Philippines but I did spend 2 lonely Christmas Eve’s alone in Florida. One Christmas night, I went to a Chinese Resto Bar in Ft Walton Beach, Florida, ate off the Chinese buffet and sang karaoke. Before long, I had people with me, who were also apparently alone.

The younger Filipinos attend parties on Christmas Day, with their peers and friends.

I received an email about a Christmas Party held at The Brewery Bar in Taguig, Metro Manila. Christmas at 10pm.

Think of Others, Will You?

For a number of people, they can only stay home because of lack of funds to do anything special on Christmas Day. They have food to eat, something to drink and that’s enough for some. A number of others do not even have that.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to drop by a poor family with some goodies for them on Christmas Day. They will love you for it and they will never forget this Christmas. Because of you!

Even if it is a day or 2 or 3 after Christmas, you can still spread good tidings and wonderful cheer into the hearts and lives of those in need.

Christmas is not officially over in the Philippines until the Festival of the Three Kings, which is on January 3rd this year. Always the first Sunday immediately after New Year.

Let’s not ever forget Christmas. For unto us, a child was born. His name is called Wonderful, Counseller, the mighty God. The Prince of Peace.

Merry Christmas! May the Holy Ghost be with you.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Kick Up Your Noche Buena

Noche Buena2
Only 7 more days and counting down to Noche Buena. In the Philippines, the traditional Christmas dinner at midnight is the Noche Buena.

My wife still hasn’t completed the menu list, however, I added a new item to my list.

Fresh Crown Pork Roast was in the SM Meat Dept, so I bought a section. P240 per kilo. If others in the family are interested, I will go back and buy one more section. If not, I will enjoy the pork roast with homemade gravy.

I am only one among many Filipinos but I do add my own dishes to enjoy for Noche Buena. I am all for sharing but I need to know in advance if they are interested in certain items. I already know many dishes that Filipinos in my family are not too keen on.

Italian Beef Sandwiches with fried onions and deli peppers would not go over well at all. Neither will the DAK Pate de Foi with green olives on hard toast triangles. I will also leave off the Antipasto Tray.

Many, if not most, Filipinos enjoy traditional Noche Buena Food. Lechon (Roast Pig), Quezo de Bola (Cheese Ball), Ham, Pork and Chicken BBQ, Fruit Cocktail, Pinoy style Spaghetti, Macaroni Salad, Leche Flan, Sotanghon Noodle Soup, Pancit Bihon, Pancit Canton and Hamonado, which is pork or chicken cooked in pineapple juice. Of course, there are many more traditional Noche Buena Foods.

My wife prepares 2 types of Spaghetti. Filipino style and Italian style.

Christmas Chicken Curry, garnished with sliced green and red bell peppers add the Christmas colors. It is well enjoyed.

Crispy Tadyang is another big hit. First, you must boil the ribs in spice and herb water to tenderize them. Next, you roll the ribs in cornstarch and deep fry until crispy. Serve with vinegar, smashed garlic and sili peppers for dipping sauce.

Beer and Red Wine for beverages. Forget Tanduay. For something different, you could introduce Tapuey Igorot Rice Wine. It is bottled and sold commercially in finer stores. Sangria is my favorite red wine, which is a fruity wine. Tropical Wine made with bignay or duhat are also great. Federico Tropical Wine is made in our area, in Victorias City, and sold all around the Philippines.

My family and I are wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Merry Christmas from Bacolod City

filipino christmas2
My family and I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. May your days be merry and bright and may your table be laden with fabulous food.

If you are traveling, have a safe trip.

pinoy chritmas parol-tree
Merry Christmas!

Maybe I will see you one day this holiday season, somewhere…all around Bacolod.


All Around Bacolod 2013 in Review

The year 2013 was a great year, not only for All Around Bacolod but for my family and I as well! We are very thankful for our many blessings and we are looking forward to even greater things in 2014.

I would like to personally thank all the followers and readers of All Around Bacolod, as I appreciate everyone. According to Word Press 2013 Statistics, people from 106 different countries visited All Around Bacolod and my blog was viewed about 27,000 times, which is almost 20,000 more times than in 2012!

I personally met a number of people in Bacolod who read All Around Bacolod on a regular basis and some of us have become friends. In April, 2013, Steve Fleming and I launched Retiring to the Philippines, an online expat magazine. I also wrote two books that were published in 2013 and I just finished my 3rd book about the Philippines, which will soon be available. I will keep you posted! Many thanks and much appreciation to all of you who read my books.

The holiday season just ended, 12 Days of Christmas for my family! I just finished an article about our holiday in the countryside, south of Bacolod and I will share the link for you to read.

pinoy chritmas parol-tree

I wish you and your families the best New Year ever! I really hope to see you one day, somewhere, all around Bacolod!

*For you who would enjoy reading the complete 2013 Word Press Review of All Around Bacolod, you may click on the link below and read it in its entirety. Thank you!


Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 27,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Eco Park And Other City Sights

Eco Park
This month, we captured some very nice scenery at Eco Park in Bacolod City. Our son’s school held their Foundation Day at Eco Park earlier this month and everyone had a great time! Eco Park is located in Barangay Granada.

Eco Park
Nice looking pools!

Eco Park
A Blessed Garden.

Eco Park
Take a seat and relax!

Christmas Lights
Some expats are initially surprised to see Christmas lights decorations on houses in the Philippines but the Christmas Spirit is alive in Bacolod City!

Christmas Lights
Our neighbor’s Christmas decorations.

Philippine Christmas Star
A Philippine Christmas Star at Robinsons Mall.

City Walk Mural
Me at City Walk Mural.

City Walk Mural
Another City Walk Mural scene.

I hope you enjoy the Bacolod City Sights! New Year is right around the corner and we are looking forward to even greater things in the City of Smiles. But..first things first. Only 5 more shopping days til Christmas! I will be doing a Christmas article within a day or two after Christmas but until then, I would like to personally wish each and everyone of you a very Blessed and Merry Christmas! If you travel, have a safe trip!

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

~ Gary McMurrain ~