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!

Panaad 2013: Kabankalan and Victorias


I am a little late with my final post about the Panaad Festival 2013 but I will cover some very memorable highlights that we enjoyed as my favorite festival was winding down. I am already looking forward to Panaad 2014.

The Greater Bacolod Area is my favorite place in the Philippines and Negros Occidental is my favorite Province. When one attends the Panaad Festival, they can see all the greatness of the 19 towns and 13 cities of Negros Occidental. Two places that I would like to spotlight, a little bit, are Kabankalan and Victorias City. They both had interesting exhibits and I had my photo taken with two of the Festival Queens.


We have very good friends who live in Kabankalan and also family members. Kabankalan is a First Class City and outside the Metro Bacolod Area, Kabankalan is the fastest growing city in Negros Occidental. The second airport of Negros Occidental is under construction in Kabankalan. Kabankalan is being developed as a highly urbanized city in the province and while it will not be overnight, it is happening! The Mayor of Kabankalan is the former Governor of Negros Occidental, Isidro P. Zayco, and there are about 170,000 people living in Kabankalan. It is the home of the annual Kabankalan Sinulog Festival, which is held the third Sunday of January.

Sinulog Festival

Sinulog Festival

Mag Aso Falls is one of the more famous tourist spots in the Kabankalan Area.

mag aso falls

Victorias City is a Fourth Class City, located NW of Bacolod City. Like most Filipino families, there are relatives living everywhere and Victorias City is no exception. Victorias Milling Company touts as being the world’s largest integrated sugar mill, as it sits on 7,000 hectares. Inside the Victorias Milling Company is their chapel and its mural of the Angry Christ is famous worldwide. It was painted by international artist, Alfonso Ossorio, and it has been featured in Life Magazine and in other famous publications.

angry christ jpg

Victorias City is also famous for Victorias Sardines!

victorias sardines

I have been a lover of music all my life and I always have a blast at the Panaad Festival! The different towns and cities spotlight an excellent band almost nightly and this year was no exception. I would like to mention Band Aid. An excellent band that I listened to at the Victorias City exhibit, two nights straight. I have met and listened to many guitarists over the years but one of the best I ever heard was in Band Aid. Marlon is his name. Tony, the front man of the band, told me that Band Aid plays on Monday and Friday evening in Bacolod at a resto bar. More on that later!

Marlon of Band Aid

Marlon of Band Aid. He can really play the guitar! Carlos Santana and Stevie Ray Vaughn good!!

Band Aid

Band Aid

Band Aid did a number of songs by song stylists such as, America, the Beatles, Santana, Neil Young and a host of others. If anyone does not like Band Aid, something is wrong with them! Great songs.

Please do not forget to check out Retiring to the Philippines. It is the best online expat magazine about the Philippines and we also have a forum, where you can ask questions and have a discussion about Retiring to the Philippines.

My good buddy, Steve Fleming, and I have some great new articles up about the Philippines that I think you will enjoy. Retirement is a Lifestyle and I do not know a better place on earth retiring to than to the Philippines! There are many islands to choose from in the Philippines and there is one island waiting just for you! I found my retirement paradise in Bacolod City. After 4 years of living in Negros Occidental, my family and I have not even scratched the surface of all the things to see and do here in the fabulous province of Negros Occidental.

Panaad Festival 2013 at Night

Sunglasses at Night

Sunglasses at Night

There are hundreds of vendors at the Panaad Festival selling so many different items, which is part of the fun of looking around.

Balut and Peanuts

Balut and Peanuts

One of the most common night time snacks in the Philippines is balut. Balut is duck eggs that have been fertilized with the embryo for about 8 days and then boiled before eating. The peanuts are simply roasted peanuts.


Seafood Market

Seafood Market

There are a number of seafood markets at the Panaad Festival. After choosing your favorite seafood, you can have it cooked or packaged to take home.




Nice Looking Prawns

Nice Looking Prawns

Grilled Scallops

Grilled Scallops

One of my favorite treats at the Panaad Festival is eating grilled scallops on the half shell. P150, or less than $4, will buy a lot of scallops for several people to share.

Local Handicrafts

Local Handicrafts

More Handicrafts

More Handicrafts


Beautiful Vases

Handicraft Vases

There are many beautiful handicrafts to choose from at the Panaad Festival and these are only a very few among the vast variety.

There are still 4 nights and 5 days left of exuberant activities at the Panaad sa Negros Festival 2013. You still have time to make it!







2013 New Year in Bacolod City

We brought the 2013 New Year in right with lots of fireworks, a party with a fiesta amount of food and a 3 hour karaoke marathon singing contest. We finally called it a long night right before sunrise on New Year’s Day.

New year

Fireworks light up the sky

Our personal fireworks show started at 11pm and finished at 1am!

New Year

Fruit and Drinks

It is a family New Year tradition to have 12 different fruits on hand, to bring in the New Year. This year was no exception!

New Year

Whole Roasted Pig

Someone pulled some crispy skin off the roasted pig’s back before it was cut!

It wasn't us!

It wasn’t us!

Nah, I didn’t think so!

We are Fami-i-ly

We are Fam-i-ly!

Bad Moon Risin'

Bad Moon Rising!

I was the first to sing in the 3 hour karaoke marathon singing contest and “Bad Moon Rising,” originally by the Creedence Clearwater Revival, was my song. I scored 96 out of 100 with that blast from the past!

Getting Ready

That’s What Friends Are For

Welcome 2013

Welcome 2013!

And that, we did! In a marvelous way. Fun was had by everyone and we look forward to 2014 New Year Celebration, next time.

Here is wishing everyone a very Happy 2013 New Year. A year full of joy, peace, happiness, health and prosperity!





Mambukal Mudpack Festival

Annually during the third week of June, there is the Mambukal Mudpack Festival held at Mambukal Resort in Barangay Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental. This year, it was June 23-24. Mambukal Resort is only a 25 minute drive from our home in Bacolod City.

The annual Mambukal Mudpack Festival is an exciting event that advocates and promotes the preservation of the Philippines environment. The theme of the Mudpack Festival is the harmony of man and nature. There is multi-colored clay at Mambukal Resort and it is used in body art to promote ethnic Filipino tribal dance, arts and crafts.

With Tribal Dancers

These were only three among many of the contestants in the competition at the Mambukal Mudpack Festival. There are several categories in the competition. Tribal Dancing, Clay Body Painting, Solo Dance Improvisation and the Miss Earth Mambukal Pagent. Sorry guys, that event was held in the evening and I was not there to get any photos of the lovely, talented and beautiful lady contestants.

One beautiful lady with a tribal dancer

One more beautiful lady with a tribal dancer

I did capture a couple of photos of some beautiful ladies with tribal dancers. One in particular is sooooo near to my heart, mind, body and soul!

Group Tribal Dance

It really was a hot day and the San Miguel Beer Sign is facing the dancers. I think some were ready for a cold one!

The La Carlota Drummers performed but I could not get near enough to get a decent photo. The music of the event was really cool.  Drums, shakers, pan flutes and the type of music that reminds one of a rain forest and tribes in harmony with nature.

In harmony with Nature

The Number One Tribal Dancer

You don’t have to wait until next year’s Mambukal Mudpack Festival to visit the resort. They are open daily and the hot springs are the highlight of the resort. There are several nurseries where you can buy native plants and potted trees. There is a trail taking you up the mountain and to the waterfalls but be prepared for hiking. There is the butterfly gardens if you are interested in butterflies and there is also the boating lagoon.

If you are hungry and/or want an ice cold brew or soft drink, check out Jean’s Place in Mambukal Resort. The chicken inasal, local BBQ chicken, is very good. They also have grilled fish and seafood. Jean’s Place will fix you right up if you are hungry and thirsty with a place for you to kick back, relax and take a rest. The wait staff have a smile and they are friendly.

There is overnight lodging at Mambukal resort in the form of cottages, lodges, suites, hotel style rooms, dormitories and tents for those who are adventurous and enjoy camping. A nice room is only P1,000 and that is about $23 US Dollars. You sure can’t beat that!

We really had a blast at the Mambukal Mudpack Festival. I hope you can make it the third week in June in 2013. See ya there!

A Day at Panaad Park

Some of life’s greater enjoyments do not cost one centavo. A day at the park with family is one such enjoyment.

Avenue of Eucalyptus Trees

Panaad Park in Bacolod City is like being in the country side. It is where the Annual Panaad sa Negros Festival is held.

Sis in law and my nephew

Baby likes to boogie in the park!

Game Time

Dig out!

Play of the Day

A nice backward save and hit!

Refreshment Time

Nothing like ice cream and beer after a day at the park! But not at the same time.

Living in our area of the Philippines has such great moments. To me, it compares to turning back the clock to a time in Southern America when the pace was slower, the family unit was close knit, neighbors were real neighbors, everyone knew everyone in the community, God still lived in our neighborhood, people helped others in need without expecting anything in return, we counted our daily blessings and we were not stressed out about tomorrow. We knew that no matter what happens today, tomorrow is going to be even better!

The Bacolod Area is not perfect but it is the closest thing to Paradise on Earth that I have found. I have been to 30 of the 50 States in America, which were all the ones I cared to see, and I have been to four Asian countries, so I have first hand comparisons I can make.

I hope to see ya one day, all around Bacolod.



Drum Competition at the 2012 Panaad sa Negros Festival

Yesterday, April 15, was the last day of this year’s Panaad sa Negros Festival. We did not attend until the late afternoon.

I am by no means a professional drummer but I have my own set of Timbales drums with the cow bell attached and I have played since the early 90s. The highlight for me during the last day of the Panaad Festival was the drum competition. Cities and towns from around Negros Occidental take the drum competition seriously and they practice year ’round until the next Panaad Festival.

Drum Competition

Drums, drums and more drums! Congas, bongos, timbales, steel drums, kettle drums, bass drums, homemade drums and professionally made drums. Music to my ears!

A break from the action

Waiting for their round again in the competition.

Last turn!

Such fast, furious and excited drumming was hard to capture on camera but they were really cooking! I wish the late great Tito Puente, King of the Timbales, was still around to see the local talent. He would be proud.


They certainly had the beat! The drummer blowing the samba whistle during the drumming really made the Panaad Festival a Carnival Event. Cabasa shakers, cheese scrapers and other hand shaken instruments added to the wonderful sound! Percussion at its finest.

Time to start practicing again, as the Drum Competition of the 2013 Panaad sa Negros Festival will be here before we know it. Only about 364 more days left to practice!!

He Is Risen!

I am wishing everyone a very special and blessed Resurrection Sunday.

When I was a child, I enjoyed every Easter because I always received an Easter Basket filled with chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs and marshmallow chicks. My Mother always colored boiled eggs and she hid the eggs for me to find during the Easter Egg Hunt. It was all great fun.

Easter Treats

My Mother also taught me the true meaning of Easter when I was old enough to understand. How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Acts 10:38). My mother taught me that those in power hated Jesus and he was crucified but on the third day, God raised Him from the dead.

It was right around Easter time in 1972 when I fully grasped and accepted the message of Resurrection Sunday and the true Revelation of Jesus Christ in my life, as a teenager. This is my 40th year anniversary of being a Born Again Christian.

This is one of my favorite messages that is appropriate today. “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Revelation 1:18)

Beginning with Palm Sunday, Holy Week is celebrated in the Philippines. For two days, the major malls were closed and many employees enjoyed time off from work to spend time with their family for Holy Week.


Today is a time that I reflect back on my life and fully appreciate all the blessings in my life. I am very happy today, as I am married to a very wonderful woman and we have a fabulous son. We are all in great health and while we are not considered rich among those who financially are, we are rich in many ways and even richer than some who have millions and billions. Thanks to the Resurrection Sunday message, the One who is Risen has taught me not to just survive the storm but how to dance in the rain!


Panaad sa Negros Festival April 9-15, 2012

It is about that time of year again. My favorite festival will begin soon. Panaad sa Negros Festival. Every city, town and municipality in Negros Occidental will have an exhibit at Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City. There is something for everyone at Panaad! Negrense Cuisine from north, central and south, handicrafts, other native products, sporting events, contests, eco garden exhibits, agriculture exhibits and ideas (including organic and hydroponics), music, dance, martial arts, trade fair, a derby and fireworks. I can hardly wait!

I will be posting photos from the 2012 event and I will now post a few photos from last year’s Panaad sa Negros Festival 2011.


My son and I at the Toboso exhibit.

Hydroponics from the town of Hinigaran

Being a gentleman farmer, I am very much interested in new agriculture techniques.

Wonderful looking cauliflower grown in Negros Occidental.

Handicraft Vases

Beautifully Carved Fruit

And yes, you can eat the fruit.

Handicraft Jewelry

Panaad is a collector’s haven, as one will find many unique collectibles. The good thing is, you can bargain the prices and both seller and buyer are happy!

Children Love the Panaad Festival

Are you ready to have fun, di ba? Each day of the seven day festival has a new event. If you are an early riser, you are in luck, as Panaad starts at 6am! Every day. Morning, afternoon and night, it doesn’t matter, as you will find something exciting to do. Great food, cold drinks and music all day and night.

ABS-CBN Kapamilya Festival Caravan will be at Panaad on Saturday, April 14 at 9pm. There will be surprise special guests from among popular entertainment personalities.

I hope to see you at Negros sa Panaad Festival one day, April 9-15! I will be there.