Mambukal Mudpack Festival 2013

The annual Mambukal Mudpack Festival is enjoyed by people of all ages! This little guy was one of the better contestants in the body painting competition.

Just one more look!

I believe I can fly!

Somebody’s watching you!

Another good contestant with his form.

Squid Man!

Tattooed and Painted!

Lunch time! Grace’s Sliders. We brought these mini burgers with us to the Mudpack Festival. There is a Food Court at Mambukal but we came prepared. I can recommend Ikea of Kabankalan at the Mambukal Food Court but we did not want to waste time in the Food Court, as we came to see the Mudpack Competition this trip.

The swimming pool at Mambukal is stocked from cold mountain spring water. Yes, it is cold!

The Mudpack Festival crowd was a little down compared to years past but we still had a great time, as always. The theme of the Festival is always Harmony of Man and Nature and there is no better place I know to hold this type festival than at Mambukal. The Festival is also a showcase for Negrense artisans to exhibit their artistic creativeness in ethnic song, dance and crafts.

Retiring to the Philippines

A big thank you to all the regular followers of All Around Bacolod, who also read Retiring to the Philippines, the online expat magazine. Thank you for your comments, as we welcome them all.

Here is a link to my latest article:

I write 2-3 new articles on Retiring to the Philippines every week for those who are still learning about the Philippines and who are considering the Pearl of the Orient as their retirement home.

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

DIY Sliders (mini burgers) in Bacolod

Most organized blogs have a purpose, a mission, a vision, a goal or an objective and there is nothing wrong with having all of them. When I first started All Around Bacolod, my purpose was based on a number of conversations that I had with many expats over the previous ten years. Moving to and living in another country is not easy for some people and some people just never make the adjustment. There is a new culture, new languages, new climate and new food. Personally, I think those of us in the expat community, who have successful experiences, should help those who are struggling but without being pushy.

Retirees are often concerned about what they can do in the Philippines to fill their time, since they are no longer working. Others are not so adventurous and they prefer their own food rather than the local cuisine, so they are concerned if they can buy their favorite food items or their favorite ingredients to make their favorite food at home. Safety and security issues are a concern to all and, of course, the cost of living in the Philippines.

I enjoy sharing with others about all the things to see in do in the Bacolod Area and in Negros Occidental. I enjoy sharing with others the things that me and my family do on a regular basis. We are not rich but we have fun everyday without spending a lot of money. I enjoy passing along information about new restaurants and about where to buy certain things. Cooking and preparing food is a hobby of mine and I can create most any dish from the USA, which I enjoy eating, right here in Bacolod City. I enjoy Filipino food and I eat it often but I don’t eat it every meal and I don’t eat Filipino food everyday. Preparing and creating dishes I grew up eating in America and enjoyed eating into adulthood in the States is really part of the fun for me while living in the Philippines.

DIY! Do It Yourself is fun in the Philippines because some things from our home countries are just not available but you can Do It Yourself!


One food item I had not eaten in more than 12 years is the mini burgers made famous by Krystal Restaurant in the southern part of the USA. Another fast food restaurant chain in the northern part of the USA made and sold the same style mini burgers and the name of those were “Sliders.” We referred to the mini burgers in our area as “Krystals.” The ground beef is supposed to be made into square shapes but that is not always easy to do at home, but I gave it my best shot. Some turned out better than others. The taste is the same no matter if they are not perfectly square!

I used ground round beef to make my sliders. I always have McCormick brand yellow mustard on hand in our home, together with several other of my favorite types of mustard, which are available at SM Supermarket. The pickles are Regal Select brand Kosher Hamburger Chips. They are dill pickles and I bought them at Shopper’s Pick, which is located across the street from Robinsons Place Mall on Lacson Street. A slider is just not a slider without finely chopped yellow or white onions. The local red onions will work if that is all you have on hand. The square shaped sesame buns are made by D’baker’s, which is readily available at SM Supermarket or at one of the D’Baker branch stores in Bacolod City.

D’baker’s Square Sesame Buns

There isn’t a Krystal Restaurant or a White Castle Restaurant in Bacolod City but you are not limited if you enjoy eating Krystals or Sliders. Just DIY! BTW, my beef patties are much thicker than the original size found on the sliders and Krystals in America. You can make them the way you like them, thick or thin burger patties.


Expat Comfort Food in the Philippines

Whenever I get together with my expat friends in the Bacolod Area, the topic of food always comes up! Where to buy certain Western food items, new restaurants which serve food that expats enjoy and what we eat at home. I can find pretty much anything I enjoy and would want in the supermarkets of Bacolod for my wife and I to prepare delicious food at home. The last two hard to find items can now be found at the Deli Grocery of Cafe Bob’s on Lacson Street. Those two items were American style cornmeal to make good cornbread and grit. Grits are coarsely ground corn or sometimes alkali treated corn, known as hominy. The grits I bought at Cafe Bob’s are Enriched Hominy Grits, milled in Washington State, USA. Grits are mostly eaten at breakfast but I also eat them with fried fish for lunch for supper.

We enjoy eating in restaurants in Bacolod City, eating out several times each week, but we eat most of our meals at home, which my wife and I prepare. We always look forward to the new restaurant reviews by the Bacolod Food Hunters, found right here on Word Press. I will share a few things we prepared at home the past week or so. All the ingredients were purchased in Bacolod City at one of the supermarkets, namely SM, Robinsons, Lopues, Gaisano, Cafe Bob’s Deli Grocery and K-Mart. No, it isn’t the USA based K-Mart.

We have a few Filipino friends who also enjoy what I refer to as “Expat Comfort Food!” Based on what I have learned from conversations with expats in Bacolod, I eat Filipino food more often than most of them. I eat Filipino dishes several times each week but I am not too craZy about plain white rice.

Italian Sausage with Sauerkraut

The Italian Sausage is a fairly new item sold at SM under their Bonus brand name of European Deli. A great price on these, too. The baguette was purchased at Baker’s Bakery. I added French’s Horseradish Mustard to the baguette. The French’s Horseradish Mustard is two sauces in one bottle and can be purchased at SM Supermarket.

Libby’s Crispy Sauerkraut

This jar of Libby’s Crispy Sauerkraut was purchased at Cafe Bob’s Deli Grocery. K-Mart sometimes has cans of sauerkraut in stock but they were out when I recently wanted to buy some. “Sorry, Sir, out of stock!” Too bad but I had Plan B. Cafe Bob’s.

As I mentioned, I am not too craZy about plain white rice but I can do a few things with it! To kick the rice up a few notches!

Red Beans and Rice with Italian Sausage

I could not find Andouille Sausage in Bacolod to make this hearty Cajun dish, made famous in the USA in Louisiana, but I didn’t expect to find it since it is a regional sausage even in the States. So, I used one of the SM European Deli Italian Hot Links Sausages. These sausages are spicy but not overpowering. I also added chopped green bell peppers, which are locally grown and much cheaper than the imported bell peppers. The red kidney beans are Campagna brand, which is a product of Italy. Less than $1 USD per can, so not bad! This brand of kidney beans is sold in SM Supermarket and I have seen them at other Bacolod Supermarkets. I also use the red kidney beans to make chili con carne.

G&G Burger

There seems to be the ongoing debate about where to find the best burgers. Hungry Pete’s? Bar 21? Actually the best burgers in Bacolod are found in our home! G&G Burger, which is Gary and Grace Burger. Yep, we make them but we don’t sell them. Grilled to perfection using Ground Round Beef, which is all we use for our burgers. If it is the rainy season and too wet to grill outdoors, these burgers can also be made in the skillet or wok on the gas burner. I have an assortment of good things to put on the burger. A1 Steak Sauce, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, French’s Horseradish Mustard, French’s Honey Dijon Mustard, McCormick Yellow Mustard, Heinz Ketchup, Mother’s Best Hot Sauce, Del Monte Hamburger Pickle Relish (which is red color and not green color), Magic Time Jalapeno Peppers, Tabasco Green or Red Hot Pepper Sauce and Kraft Honey Hickory BBQ Sauce.

I never make one burger the same it seems! It just depends on my mood that day. For sure, the G&G Burger always has lettuce, tomato, dill pickles and Spanish onions. I had this bad boy burger for lunch on Wednesday! I used A1 Steak Sauce as the sauce.

G&G Burger

Just one more time! Another look at the burger before topping the bun.

I will be doing a few more installments of Expat Comfort Food in the Philippines in the days ahead. Our food is only limited by our imagination!