Pork Chops at Olimba


Yesterday, I dropped by Olimba Resto Grill on Lopez Jaena Street, Barangay 31, in Bacolod City. If you are looking for good Native Food, a place to spend the night in a Pension House, a place to receive a Wellness Therapeutic Massage and a place to sing Karaoke, I can tell you the place to go. Olimba! It is also a Coffee Shop and they are open 24/7.

Cold Beer


For sure, you can order San Miguel Light or Red Horse Beer at Olimba.

Great People and Great Service

I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of Olimba, Cherry, and several of her family members. They are all very friendly and they will treat you nicely. The price is the same, for one and all, as no higher price for foreigners.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod. Maybe it will be at Olimba?

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

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Wild Night is Calling, Alright


I knew yesterday that Sunday would be a Wild Night. That is exactly what happened. All the girls walked by, dressed up for each other and the boys did the boogie woogie on the corner of the street, as described by Van Morrison.

The first Annual Negros Grill Fest ended Sunday night, early Monday morning, staged at Ayala District Mall in Talisay, right outside north Bacolod.

I met up with The Brothers from North Carolina, Scott and Gene, aka Gunny. Let me tell ya, when you get 3 Redneck Southern Boys together in the Philippines, we know how to have ourselves a time! That is exactly what we did. Scott and Gene are retired US Marines with more than 20 years in and that pretty much says it all, di ba?

BBQ

It was really a great night of fun. I also met up with Dave Gee, of Miami. I had wondered what happened to Dave, as I had not seen him in a couple of years. Dave Gee has 7,000 pigs, imagine that! North of Bacolod is the farm but for security reasons, I will not name the place to prevent Pig Rustlers, lol. Dave supplies the Pork for two Meat Shops in Bacolod. Both well known with a large customer base. You can believe that!

Dave had a 4 hour smoked Rack of Ribs on the grill and several dozen Chicken Wings as well. Everyone had good food, who were with me. Cerveza Negra was the Beer of the Night. Dave Gee set us up just right but That’s What Friends Are For!

I was not driving and made it home alright. No headache and no hangover, although I may have pushed it a little bit, to say the least.

Sorry to see the Negros Grill Fest come to an end. My buddy, Martin, of the Bacolod Food Hunters, was a little late in telling me about the Grill Fest but I made it, with time to spare before it shut down. Martin took me around and gave me a tour of the Grill Fest, introducing me to Restaurant Owners.

The Few, the Proud

Two Marines and one Correctional Officer had fun sharing War Stories. Middle East Wars and Prison Wars are not fun but we still talk about what we did, with Pride. However, the hairs on our arms stood up.

We also celebrated the 30th Annual Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom, May 28. America will never be destroyed from the outside but within, IF We Allow It! All you have to do today is read the news and see that it is already being attempted by the Far Left, sadly, by elected officials!!! You know who they are.

God bless the Marines and Corrections Officers. Different fields but we pretty much do the same. Protecting Freedom, the Constitution and the Public. There is not any guarantee that when we go to work, we will come home at night. That’s the Reality. Death never takes a holiday and Death Rides a Pale Horse.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

The News: Fair, Balanced, Unbiased and Fearless


The Philippine Daily Inquirer, online and the hard copy, are not affiliated at all with American Tabloids, like the National Enquirer. The Philippine Daily Inquirer has over 50% in the market share of the Philippines, concerning media. They are like Fox News, reporting fair, unbiased, balanced and fearless news.

In America, and I am sure this could create backlash, Fox is the only Fair and Balanced News reporting in America. Other stations only report from a political slant. For example, the gunman in Fresno, California, just in the last few days, who shot and killed 3 men. Mainstream News reported the killer yelled “God is Great! That is not true, he yelled out “Alluha Akbar,!” Big difference. Political Correctness in full mode! It was an act of terrorism! Clear cut but only covered up. A hate crime? Yeah, right. The guy was a radicalized Muslim Terrorist. His internet history proves it!


Fox News has been around since 1919. Reporting world and local news in theaters during movies, in the beginning. I never watch the other news stations for real news but I see their reports from time to time. More intellectual idiots.

In 1986-1987, I read the Manila Bulletin Newspaper but times have changed. Philippine Daily Inquirer and Fox News are my real news sources.

A number of the long time, once reputable news reporters have fallen by the wayside, including Ted Koppel! They have apparently allowed Partisan Politics to deteriorate their brains. Just watch the interview Koppel did with Fox News reporter, Sean Hannity. If you can find it! Sean Hannity is Bad for America? Fake News and Liberal News with a 100% political slant is bad for America!!

Even if the news about people I like and support is bad news, I want to read it/hear it and I want it reported accurately and unbiased, in all fairness. To hell with Political Correctness, Cover Ups and supporting a White House Narrative, no matter who is sitting in the Oval Office! Yes, even if about Donald Trump, who I voted for! Give us the Real News, not Fake News.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Expat Complaints: Angry White Guys

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Over the years, I’ve heard many expat complaints from guys who are living in the Philippines. Sometimes, they have a valid point and a complaint of merit. Sometimes, their complaint is about something that really bothers them but other times, they seem to be on a witch hunt. Other times, I have wondered if they ever spent any quality amount of time here before making the move. If they had, they would know what they were getting into. No surprises!

Not finding a plumber or an electrician, who measures up to their expat standards, is one common complaint I hear. We have not had any plumbing problems to speak of during the past 7 years, other than an occasional clogged drain, which was easily fixed. We have not had any electrical problems in our houses. Occasional brownouts don’t count, as there is nothing we can do about those and most of us know there are brownouts in the Philippines.

Noise

I learned long ago about the Art of Making Noise in the Philippines. Whether you live in the city or in the countryside, there will be noise at one time or another. In some locations, there is constant noise! We are blessed in that there is not normally loud, disturbing noise in the Bacolod subdivision where we live. We know during the Festivals, we will hear music in the distance but it is not disturbing to us.

Even though I have not lived at the farm full time in 5 years, the crowing of roosters do not disturb me. For others, it may well be a disturbance. Chickens are most everywhere, even in some city subdivisions.

Get With The Program

Some complaints are attempts to change the Filipino Culture to suit the expat and that’s not realistically going to happen. At least not over the long haul. Such complaints will often fuel ill feelings and resentment from our Filipino family and friends. I am not here to change anyone and Filipinos are not trying to change me. We have mutual respect. They have their way of doing things and I have my way of doing things. Both sides with mutual respect.

Some expats do not know the taboos in Filipino Culture and some Filipinos do not know the taboos of various Western Cultures. I think for those living in the Philippines, it should be asked about, after all…this is the Philippines. Even if our wives never lived in our home countries, those who have been married to us for some time know about our Cultures. My wife has spoken up several times and said, “Don’t ask him that. It’s not polite.”

Just sharing recent and long time expat complaints I have heard. Some expat complaints are the same as they were 30 years ago. “Why are they speaking their language?”

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

A Filipino Way of Life

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Last weekend, we headed south about 25 km from Bacolod. One of my brothers in law had contacted us about fresh live sea crabs for P250 per kilo. He helps his girlfriend operate her restaurant in a fisher folk village. They buy their seafood direct from fishermen. A number of people go to the restaurant because it has a good view of the sea and Guimaras Island, which looks like a large crocodile in the distance. They also have some of the cheapest prices for ice cold beer.

We left home in Bacolod around 1pm. When we arrived at the fishing village, the fisherman was just going out to check his crab nets in his motor boat. I got a cold one and watched the fisherman from a distance. He went out in his boat about 1 1/2 km and he began checking 8 or 10 crab nets he has. It took him a couple of hours to get his catch of crabs and re-bait his nets.

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Several children were playing a game in the sand, using the larger bottle tops from soft drinks, placed in a drawn square in the sand with a stick, and smaller crowns from beer and soft drink bottles. Each larger bottle top children were able to hit, after throwing their crowns at them was theirs. At the end of the game, whoever had collected the most large bottle tops was the winner.

I also watched our son playing tag with two girls on the beach. They ran around for about an hour. One girl is about our son’s age and the other one was about 6 years old but she could run fast! We had to ask them to take a break long enough to drink bottled water. They were having a blast!

When the fisherman returned to shore, a number of children ran up to his boat to see what he had. A number of adults also walked out to take a look. He had a mess of crabs!

There were 6 of us and my wife boiled the crabs in the restaurant kitchen. She used the Zatarain’s Crab Boil that I took along. Everyone compliment the flavor of the craps that was enhanced by Zatarain’s, which is a little spicy. I had fresh boiled sweet corn with the crabs and others had rice, of course. I had forgotten to bring the Sweet Chili Sauce but the crabs were still very good. Others used coconut vinegar as dipping sauce for the crabs.

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I really enjoy going to the fishing village on Sunday afternoons and we go as often as we can. My wife, our son and our best friend Randy also enjoy it. Randy has to drive back to Bacolod because it is usually dark when we return home. I do not drive at night.

We are friends with a number of people who live in and around the fishing village. I enjoy the atmosphere very much. Cool sea breeze and watching life going on with the Filipinos who live there. It is about as laid back as it comes! The people do not complain about anything and they are really happy every time we see them. They do not create cares or create worries that do not exist or fret over things they can never change. They have the wisdom to know the difference!

The people in the fishing village eat from the sea, they have free range chickens and there is always rice. There are a number of cashew trees right there in the village and many more coconut trees. The children do not spend hours with electronic gadgets but they know how to really play together. They create their own games. In my opinion, the people, young/old/middle age know how to really live and be happy. Their happiness is contagious to those who can really see and who are open minded. I already know this and I have for years. I only wish more expats and visiting foreigners can experience it.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

2015 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

I would like to personally thank all of you who visited and read my articles on All Around Bacolod. We were viewed about 26,000 times in 2015 and there are still 2 days left in the year.

My family and I wish you a very Happy New Year. If you travel, have a safe trip and have fun. Let the Good Times Roll! Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Happy New Year!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2015. 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.

Shore Fun Festival in Pulupandan: December 19

Puudan
You are ready for Shore Fun at Paco Beach, di ba? I’ve got some good news! Mark it on your calendar and don’t forget or you will miss out. On Saturday, December 19, 2015 at Paco Beach in Pulupandan, Negros Occidental, the Shore Fun will begin at 8am. Pulapandan is about a 30 minute drive south of Bacolod City.

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This is the first in a series of articles that I will be writing during the next 2 weeks, leading up to and during the Shore Fun Festival in Pulupandan.

Admission and Benefit

General Admission to the Shore Fun Festival is P50 per ticket. For the best fun, you can purchase a Benefactor’s Ticket for P1,500 each. This includes free dinner, free drinks, a therapeutic beach massage and all the beach entertainment. Now, we’re talking! Sign me up!

Beach Games

Show up around 8am on Saturday, December 19th and come ready to play! Do you like beach volleyball? If you do, you will find others ready to play. Bring your Frisbee, bring your American football. Put me in coach, I’m ready to play!

Entertainment

I think you already know, where there is a beach, there is entertainment. In the Philippines, a festival would not be a festival without music. This festival is no exception.

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Singing is one of my favorite activities. Every night is a good night for singing and I am looking forward to singing during the Shore Fun Festival.

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Where there are beaches, there are always beautiful ladies! You are in for a bonus treat! Who doesn’t enjoy a Beauty Pageant? The Philippines is well known worldwide for having Top 5 and Top 10 beautiful contestants in all the world famous pageants, including Miss Universe.

You will receive a free Globe SIM card for voting during the Beauty Pageant to crown the Queen of Shore Fun 2015, among the beautiful ramp models.

In my next article, I will introduce you to more information about this wonderful and exciting event in our area of Negros Occidental. Stay tuned! My next article will be in the next day or 2 with more information for you.

I would like to personally thank the Tourism Officer, Mr. Federico “Mahjie” F. Infante, Jr, for his great organization in making Shore Fun 2015 possible for our enjoyment.

I hope to see you on December 19 at the Shore Fun Festival at Paco Beach in Pulupandan!

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Crossed Pistons Saloon in Cebu City

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If you like the feel of a bikers bar without getting your butt kicked and without biker chicks, Crossed Pistons Saloon is the place to visit in Cebu City. It is located on Morales Street, near the Golden Peak Hotel and the Silver Dollar Bar. If you are looking for a girlie bar, skip Crossed Pistons because that is not what they are about.

I was sent on a mission one evening when I was in Cebu several months back to check out Crossed Pistons, mainly for their upstairs karaoke. “If Gary returns, the place is safe.” Thanks guys. No, I did not have to RKO anyone. I met the challenge and returned safely. No danger despite the leather, the colors and the bikes outside. Open arms was my greeting. “Come in, Bro. Welcome.” Ever seen a Filipino biker wearing Outlaw colors? I met one and he is nice as anyone could be. The last 2 nights, in Cebu City, I visited Crossed Pistons Saloon again. Everyone remembered me. The bartender said, “Let’s sing.” She did not have to twist my arm!

Second Helping

If I was looking for the heart of the night, I found it. Good fun, good food, good friends and ice cold beer. I don’t know where she learned but the cook can really cook up some mean southern fried chicken that will rival my grandmother’s chicken. Half chicken fried for P150. You can’t beat that.

I found a couple more Lynyrd Skynyrd and Pearl Jam songs in their play list song book. No songs by The Mavericks, though. Another song I enjoy singing in the Philippines is “What I’d Say,” by Ray Charles. Some in the crowd will join me in singing the “hey…ho” chorus.

As always, another good night for singing.

I have met many foreigners over the last 29 years in the Philippines but I have not met many who love singing. One reason, among many, is why I relate to Filipinos so well is because I am firmly into singing, dancing and entertaining! Cebu City, people, let’s hear it!

As soon as I saw the songs “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison, I said to myself, “this is my kind of place.” What started out to be a casing of the joint and a quick beer turned into a 3 hour singing session with the bartender. Wow! She has a great voice. I discovered many of my favorite songs available in their karaoke song list. Songs I have never seen in Bacolod.

I hope to see you someday, somewhere…all around Bacolod. However, you may see me somewhere in Cebu City. Maybe at the Crossed Pistons Saloon, di ba?

~ Gary ~

Are You Drinking Enough Coffee?

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Did you know that the Philippines was once the world’s 4th largest coffee producer in the world? For a number of reasons, the Philippine coffee industry fell on hard times. Coffee rust and the explosion of coffee growers in South America both played big parts in the demise of the Philippine coffee industry. It has only been during the last 10 years that an effort has been made to revitalize it. What can I say? The future’s so bright, coffee has got to wear shades at night.

Let’s face the facts. The vast majority of Filipinos love coffee. It is the number one drink at breakfast for adults and it is also the number one drink at merienda, afternoon snack time. It is basically considered a sin for any household not to have coffee, even if just the instant 3 in 1 sachets, requiring only hot water. Drinking coffee with friends and family is considered a social event and is indeed part of the Filipino culture.

Native Coffee Shop Madness

There may be as many as 1 million coffee shops all over the Philippines. You can believe that. In our small barangay outside Bacolod alone, there are at least a dozen coffee shops. I’m not talking Starbucks but Luna Lourdes Coffee Shop, Tita Coffee Shop, Nina Coffee Shop and… well you get the picture. All these coffee shops have 2 things in common. You will get an excellent cup of native brewed coffee, including creamer and brown sugar, and it won’t cost you more than P15 per cup. Imagine that for a second. Barako is usually the brew. No, you won’t find a latte, a mocha or a cappuccino in the native coffee shops.

Barako Coffee has that special taste that most everyone enjoys. I agree and enjoy the taste much better than Arabica and Robusta coffees.

The Champ Is Here

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Many, if not most, agree that Starbucks is the best coffee chain in the world. I must be an oddball. I’ve never, no never, had coffee at a Starbucks anywhere in the world. Starbucks has more than 200 branches in the Philippines and there are 2 in the Bacolod area.

There is another champ moving on up in the rankings. Bo’s Coffee. It now has more than 60 branches in the Philippines. Bo’s Coffee started out in Cebu and it is 100% Filipino owned. I like it.

Brew Ha! That’s their logo with the exclamation point. It is really one of my favorite local coffee shops. It makes me laugh every time I go there or pass by it. In our area, an Ilonggo word is pronounced the same, Bruja. It can mean witch or bitch. Take your pick and usage. I love it.

Figaro coffee chain is one of the newer kids on the block but they are pushing already with 60 branches in the Philippines. Figaro did not take off for some reason in Bacolod and they moved on.

Laid-back And Enjoying Life

I discovered long ago that a good cup of coffee in the afternoon is part of the laid-back lifestyle of many Filipinos. Especially those outside, NCR, National Capital Region. Everything stops and nothing is urgent. Time for a break and time to enjoy that marvelous cup of coffee. Let things wait. They will still be there when I get back to them. That’s also me with a capital M. Why hurry through life? Relax and don’t get bent out of shape brother.

I just took a break from writing and had a cup of Kopiko Kopiccino with Choco Granules. It’s my favorite coffee drink.

I have a good friend from Dallas, Texas, who has lived in Bacolod about the same amount of time as I have. I heard an expat say one day, “These Southern Boys in Bacolod are so laid-back, they have to lean forward to walk.” We fit right in.

There are some guys who are still wound up when they retire to the Philippines and still want to party as much as possible. If that is you, I highly recommend Cebu City. You will find a vibrant nightlife there, with some bars finally throwing everyone out at 7am.

Bacolod is more of a laid-back city. The bars close here by 2am if that is your thing. My rowdy days are long over but I’ve still been known to go out with friends every now and then to get loud and have fun.

If you enjoy a laid-back lifestyle and a fabulous cup of coffee, our area of the Philippines is for you.

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

~ Gary ~

Get the Table, Devon!

dudley boyz

You may ask yourself, what has this got to do with the Philippines?

There is not a death penalty in the Philippines but there are tables, di ba? I think you know where this is going. No death penalty but there is Dudleyville and there are tables!

For every foreigner who commits a crime, why not send them to Dudleyville? It depends on the seriousness of their crimes as to how many times they are slammed through a table! They won’t die but they will have some color to see, see! Black and blue. Dudleyville has the tables and many of them!

I think there should be a special hardwood table for all the foreign grifters, hackers, scammers and schemers, who rip other people off from things they worked hard for. An even harder table for foreigners who are Ped-Files!! Same for those who exploit Filipinas.

Of course, I am a foreigner who is proud living here and I am in no way trying to interject into how the Philippines Govt deals with foreign criminals. But, this is good catharsis for all the foreigners who have been ripped off and wronged by other foreigners in the Philippines. There are many of us. Some of us have lost money, some had our written material ripped and copyrighted by others without permission and some others have even lost their wives to the wiles of other foreigners. Send them to Dudleyville!

Non-Violence

I hope you read my article in the way I have laid it down, in the jest. I am a non-violent person and would never harm anyone unless it was to prevent the loss of my life or the loss of others lives. That is the game changer! They deserve more than The Table.

I was a Correctional Officer and Correctional Officer Sgt just a few months short of 5 years. I worked at UCI and Dafe CI. UCI had Death Row. I was once a big supporter of the Death Penalty but after seeing the condition of the world today, it is not really a deterrent to the evil that men and some women do in the world. Just take them to Dudleyville and then lock them away for life! Once again, joke only about Dudleyville. However, it may be good catharsis for some, in their minds. Slam them through the table in your mind and then move on. Forget about them. Never allow your detractors and enemies to control your lives.

I was a Mental Health Professional in Alabama and Florida for over 20 years. Catharsis is good for us all at times!

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

Always, Your Amigo,

~ Gary McMurrain ~