What to Do in the Philippines on Christmas Day

Christmas
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 ~

All Around Bacolod 2013 in Review

maskara8
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.

http://retiringtothephilippines.com/living-in-the-philippines/barrio-holiday-season/

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.

Thanksgiving In Bacolod 2013

Butterball Turkey
There is the prize! A 10 pound Butterball turkey and I was lucky in that I bought the last one in stock at SM Supermarket about 9 days before Thanksgiving. Super Metro received a last minute shipment of Butterball Turkeys 5 days before Thanksgiving but the cost was P280 per kilo. I had already bought our Thanksgiving turkey and the cost was P247 per kilo.

Lechon Turkey

Lechon Turkey

This was our 5th Thanksgiving in the Bacolod Area and in 2009, I hit on the idea of preparing our turkey lechon style, the famous Philippines style of cooking pork and chicken. It was a big hit with everyone, so this has become our tradition when having a turkey for Thanksgiving. The turkey is stuffed with lemongrass and garlic, a spice and herb rub is applied to the skin, a basting sauce of brown sugar, lime juice and soy sauce is made, the turkey is put on a bamboo pole and roasted over hot coals. Fabulous!

Annual Fiesta

While Thanksgiving is not an official holiday in the Philippines, it has become an annual fiesta at our home in Bacolod! Friends and family are already looking forward to Thanksgiving 2014. Yes, Thanksgiving is alive and kicking in the Bacolod Area!

Carving the turkey
One of our good friends is carving the turkey!

Turkey Leg Quarter
A crispy turkey leg quarter. The skin of lechon turkey is very crispy, while the inside is tender and juicy. Fantastic!

Gersen
Thanksgiving Fiesta! Our friend is really into that turkey leg. What’s left of  it, anyway. Actually, he was clowning around for the camera. Nice pose, don’t ya think?

Corn
Thanksgiving is never complete without fresh corn.

Pineapple Pie
Don’t forget the pie! Rather than pumpkin pie or apple pie, we had pineapple pie and it was awesome.

Once you are in the Philippines, you can celebrate Thanksgiving or any holiday you wish, as the ingredients are available to prepare almost anything you enjoy.

Please do not forget to check out Retiring to the Philippines. There are several new articles waiting for you to read and enjoy. If you have questions about the Philippines, you can ask on our forum, and receive the most up to date information about the Philippines. The links for quick access are listed below.

I hope to see you soon..somewhere All Around Bacolod!

~ Gary ~

http://retiringtothephilippines.com/

http://forums.retiringtothephilippines.com/

 

The Mercury Is Rising!

maskara
It’s about to happen! One of the biggest Festivals in the entire Philippines is about to explode in full tilt boogie beginning on October 1. Since 1980, the MassKara Festival has been an annual event in the City of Smiles, Bacolod City, and every hotel room in the city will be booked for 3 solid weeks. That is how big this festival is! It is a combination of Mardi Gras and Carnival, only without the public nudity, and people from all over the world will come to Bacolod City for the three week party.

Are you ready to get your groove on and get your mojo working? Get ready because it is all happening October 1-20, 2013. One of the great parts of the MassKara Festival is that every mask wears a smile, just like the people in Bacolod, who live up their their reputation of being the City of Smiles. Festival events are scheduled all over the city on any given day and there is something for everyone!

MassKara Festival Legend

Bacolod City has long been the hub of the Sugar Bowl of the Philippines, where sugarcane is King and is grown all over the province. Sugarcane made many people rich but around 1980, the world sugar market crashed and the good times in Negros Occidental soon became hard times. The provincial economy was in crisis. The people of Bacolod and Negros Occidental were still reeling from the sinking of the ship, MV Don Juan, taking the lives of more than 700 people. Aboard the ship were members of the more prominent families in Bacolod and in Negros Occidental. It was a terrible tragedy.

The first MassKara Festival was organized in 1980 with the intentions of brightening the dreary mood of the people, which surrounded the city and province like a mist. The people needed to be revitalized, energized and reminded that no matter how bad things appear, they can overcome the hardships facing them. The idea of the MassKara Festival was an innovation that has lasted for decades and it will continue onward in the hearts and lives of the people, as this annual event grows more elaborate each year.

The Main Events

The vibrant and pulsating celebration of the MassKara Festival is far reaching and involves many aspects of the community. There are job fairs, trade days, occupation recognitions and seminars, golf tournaments, other various sporting events and competitions and celebration of the actual Charter Day of the City of Bacolod. The Philippine national soccer team, the Azkals, will be playing a game at Panaad Stadium. There will be medical and dental missions in the city for those who cannot afford health care. There are also religious and praise services held everyday.

Entertainment during the MassKara Festival rocks the entire city! On a smaller scale, there are karaoke singing contests, cooking competitions and art exhibitions. On a major scale, everyone is getting ready to party down at the street dancing competition and exhibitions, the battle of the bands, the light shows, fireworks displays, the beauty pageants, mask and costume competitions and special appearances by some of the most famous Philippine entertainment stars of music, TV and cinema.

Once the festival ends and all the cleaning up is finished, guess what? The very next day, the organizers and planners of the MassKara Festival begin making preparations for next year’s festival! It is a year round affair. MassKara Festival 2013 will be my 5th one since my family and I moved here in 2009. No doubt, this year’s festival will be as refreshing as that first one I attended years ago!

If you are in the Philippines in October, the MassKara Festival in Bacolod City is one event you will not want to miss! Even if you can only attend one day of the events, you should try to be here.

It’s about to happen! One of the biggest Festivals in the entire Philippines is about to explode in full tilt boogie beginning on October 1. Since 1980, the MassKara Festival has been an annual event in the City of Smiles, Bacolod City, and every hotel room in the city will be booked for 3 solid weeks. That is how big this festival is! It is a combination of Mardi Gras and Carnival, only without the public nudity, and people from all over the world will come to Bacolod City for the three week party. Are you ready to get your groove on and get your mojo working? Get ready because it is all happening October 1-20, 2013. One of the great parts of the MassKara Festival is that every mask wears a smile, just like the people in Bacolod, who live up their their reputation of being the City of Smiles. Festival events are scheduled all over the city on any given day and there is something for everyone! MassKara Festival Legend Bacolod City has long been the hub of the Sugar Bowl of the Philippines, where sugarcane is King and is grown all over the province. Sugarcane made many people rich but around 1980, the world sugar market crashed and the good times in Negros Occidental soon became hard times. The provincial economy was in crisis. The people of Bacolod and Negros Occidental were still reeling from the sinking of the ship, MV Don Juan, taking the lives of more than 700 people. Aboard the ship were members of the more prominent families in Bacolod and in Negros Occidental. It was a terrible tragedy. The first MassKara Festival was organized in 1980 with the intentions of brightening the dreary mood of the people, which surrounded the city and province like a mist. The people needed to be revitalized, energized and reminded that no matter how bad things appear, they can overcome the hardships facing them. The idea of the MassKara Festival was an innovation that has lasted for decades and it will continue onward in the hearts and lives of the people, as this annual event grows more elaborate each year. The Main Events The vibrant and pulsating celebration of the MassKara Festival is far reaching and involves many aspects of the community. There are job fairs, trade days, occupation recognitions and seminars, golf tournaments, other various sporting events and competitions and celebration of the actual Charter Day of the City of Bacolod. The Philippine national soccer team, the Azkals, will be playing a game at Panaad Stadium. There will be medical and dental missions in the city for those who cannot afford health care. There are also religious and praise services held everyday. Entertainment during the MassKara Festival rocks the entire city! On a smaller scale, there are karaoke singing contests, cooking competitions and art exhibitions. On a major scale, everyone is getting ready to party down at the street dancing competition and exhibitions, the battle of the bands, the light shows, fireworks displays, the beauty pageants, mask and costume competitions and special appearances by some of the most famous Philippine entertainment stars of music, TV and cinema. Once the festival ends and all the cleaning up is finished, guess what? The very next day, the organizers and planners of the MassKara Festival begin making preparations for next year’s festival! It is a year round affair. MassKara Festival 2013 will be my 5th one since my family and I moved here in 2009. No doubt, this year’s festival will be as refreshing as that first one I attended years ago! If you are in the Philippines in October, the MassKara Festival in Bacolod City is one event you will not want to miss! Even if you can only attend one day of the events, you should try to be here.Read more at: http://retiringtothephilippines.com/entertainment/mercury-rising/ | Retiring to the Philippines

It’s about to happen! One of the biggest Festivals in the entire Philippines is about to explode in full tilt boogie beginning on October 1. Since 1980, the MassKara Festival has been an annual event in the City of Smiles, Bacolod City, and every hotel room in the city will be booked for 3 solid weeks. That is how big this festival is! It is a combination of Mardi Gras and Carnival, only without the public nudity, and people from all over the world will come to Bacolod City for the three week party. Are you ready to get your groove on and get your mojo working? Get ready because it is all happening October 1-20, 2013. One of the great parts of the MassKara Festival is that every mask wears a smile, just like the people in Bacolod, who live up their their reputation of being the City of Smiles. Festival events are scheduled all over the city on any given day and there is something for everyone! MassKara Festival Legend Bacolod City has long been the hub of the Sugar Bowl of the Philippines, where sugarcane is King and is grown all over the province. Sugarcane made many people rich but around 1980, the world sugar market crashed and the good times in Negros Occidental soon became hard times. The provincial economy was in crisis. The people of Bacolod and Negros Occidental were still reeling from the sinking of the ship, MV Don Juan, taking the lives of more than 700 people. Aboard the ship were members of the more prominent families in Bacolod and in Negros Occidental. It was a terrible tragedy.Read more at: http://retiringtothephilippines.com/entertainment/mercury-rising/ | Retiring to the Philippines

It’s about to happen! One of the biggest Festivals in the entire Philippines is about to explode in full tilt boogie beginning on October 1. Since 1980, the MassKara Festival has been an annual event in the City of Smiles, Bacolod City, and every hotel room in the city will be booked for 3 solid weeks. That is how big this festival is! It is a combination of Mardi Gras and Carnival, only without the public nudity, and people from all over the world will come to Bacolod City for the three week party. Are you ready to get your groove on and get your mojo working? Get ready because it is all happening October 1-20, 2013. One of the great parts of the MassKara Festival is that every mask wears a smile, just like the people in Bacolod, who live up their their reputation of being the City of Smiles. Festival events are scheduled all over the city on any given day and there is something for everyone!Read more at: http://retiringtothephilippines.com/entertainment/mercury-rising/ | Retiring to the Philippines

It’s about to happen! One of the biggest Festivals in the entire Philippines is about to explode in full tilt boogie beginning on October 1. Since 1980, the MassKara Festival has been an annual event in the City of Smiles, Bacolod City, and every hotel room in the city will be booked for 3 solid weeks. That is how big this festival is! It is a combination of Mardi Gras and Carnival, only without the public nudity, and people from all over the world will come to Bacolod City for the three week party. Are you ready to get your groove on and get your mojo working? Get ready because it is all happening October 1-20, 2013. One of the great parts of the MassKara Festival is that every mask wears a smile, just like the people in Bacolod, who live up their their reputation of being the City of Smiles. Festival events are scheduled all over the city on any given day and there is something for everyone!Read more at: http://retiringtothephilippines.com/entertainment/mercury-rising/ | Retiring to the Philippines

It’s about to happen! One of the biggest Festivals in the entire Philippines is about to explode in full tilt boogie beginning on October 1. Since 1980, the MassKara Festival has been an annual event in the City of Smiles, Bacolod City, and every hotel room in the city will be booked for 3 solid weeks. That is how big this festival is! It is a combination of Mardi Gras and Carnival, only without the public nudity, and people from all over the world will come to Bacolod City for the three week party. Are you ready to get your groove on and get your mojo working? Get ready because it is all happening October 1-20, 2013. One of the great parts of the MassKara Festival is that every mask wears a smile, just like the people in Bacolod, who live up their their reputation of being the City of Smiles. Festival events are scheduled all over the city on any given day and there is something for everyone!Read more at: http://retiringtothephilippines.com/entertainment/mercury-rising/ | Retiring to the Philippines