May’s Organic Garden: Magnificent Beauty

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On the holiday, Ninoy Aquino Day, we went to May’s Organic Garden, which his located south Bacolod City and before Barangay Sum-Ag. We did not go until the afternoon, so the restaurant was about to close up but we were not hungry yet! Next time.

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There are a number of bonsai trees near the convention center.

Bonsai
If you are interested, you can rent one of the Swan Boats and take a spin around the lake!

May's Organic Garden
Fabulous landscaping!

Convention Center
A great place to have a wedding reception or for holding a large association meeting in their convention center.

Fountain
A photo taken from the bridge, the large fountain.

May's Organic Garden
Across the lake.

Papaya
Papaya

Pine Tree and Corn
A Pine Tree and Corn.

Greenhouses
Greenhouses

Lagoon Style Pool
Lagoon Pool

May's Organic Garden
A Bridge Over Untroubled Waters!

May's Organic Garden

We had a fun-filled afternoon at May’s Organic Gardens! Admission was P100 for adults and no charge for children. If you plan availing the swimming pool, it is P100 for adults and P50 for children. We did not need a cottage rental for the day, so we did not ask the price. There were plenty of shaded places to sit because there were not many people there in the late afternoon. There is a hotel on site and we were told it was P1,500 per night. Since we live in Bacolod, we didn’t need a hotel room! The restaurant closes at 2pm, so if you want to eat, go early. The restaurant is located at the entrance of May’s Organic Garden. A friend told me they have great fruit shakes!

There is organic fertilizer, vermicast, and we were told that organic fruit and vegetables are also sold, when available. We saw a lemongrass distillery for making lemongrass oil. One use for lemongrass oil is mosquito repellent.

If you want to enjoy the beauty of nature, I recommend putting May’s Organic Garden on your must see list.

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.

Fish

Fish

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mass Wedding in Bacolod City

Mass Wedding

On Saturday, February 16, the annual Mass Wedding was held in Bacolod City at the Bacolod City Government Center. In keeping with tradition, 2,013 couples were wed for 2013! A number of Philippine celebrities were on hand for the event, including Philippine boxing icon, Manny Pacquiao.

Mass Wedding

There is Senator Franklin Drilon! The security was tight and hard to get near for a close up photo but Senator Drilon is in the pink colored shirt, near the door with his left hand raised. The Honorable Senator revealed that he is allocating P5 million to the City of Bacolod for the improvement of Bacolod City Public Plaza. This is very good news. The newly weds and other city residents will have a nicer place to go and relax in the near future in downtown Bacolod. A great and appreciated gift to the City.

Mass Wedding

A sea of umbrellas on the grounds of the Bacolod City Government Center.

Mass Wedding

The crowd is swelling! The brides and grooms are ready to begin the ceremony, performed by Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia.

Mass Wedding

Here come the brides!

The Bacolod Mass Wedding was a fun event and I imagine some of the newly weds are still on their honeymoons! May they all have a long and blissful marriage, full of health and prosperity.

It was reported that the youngest couple being married was 18 and the oldest couple were both 70. Among those with the largest age gap, the groom was 44 and the bride was 82. Yes, you read it right. They were applauded by the crowd because they appeared to be really in love due to their long kissing session.

It was a nice day for a wedding!

 

 

 

 

Best Sandwich Deli in Bacolod

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One of the newest arrivals on the Bacolod food scene, which expats will enjoy, is The Fat Chef Bistro and Deli. It is located behind Lopues Mandalagan shopping center, near the Mandalagan Art District. I knew I was in the right place when my pulled pork BBQ sandwich arrived with the diagonal cut. This is the indicator of a good deli sandwich!

Fat Chef's

Every sandwich on the menu of The Fat Chef Bistro and Deli is served with choice of fries or garden salad. I chose the garden salad with my pulled pork BBQ sandwich. Price is P140.

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A pulled pork BBQ sandwich with fries.

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A banana and Nutella Crepe. There are four different dessert crepes on the menu at the Fat Chef’s, including Mango and Rum. Sounds good, huh?

Amstel Sterk Beer

Amstel Sterk Beer from Amsterdam. This was my beverage of choice to go with my pulled pork BBQ sandwich.

Fat Chef's

There are a number of imported foods and beverages in the deli. A large can of ravioli captured my eye! I also saw a jar of gourmet peanut butter made from mixed nuts. P280 per jar.

Fat Chef's

Fat Chef Bistro and Deli has a fairly large wine selection. P99 per glass or P400 per bottle when dining in. Red and white wines are available.

Fat Chef's

The Day Menu.

There are many items on the menu at Fat Chef Bistro and Deli that I think many expats and Filipino customers alike will enjoy. Some of the items that sparked my interest are New England Clam Chowder, the six different sausages served with sauerkraut and German Spatzle, several specialty salads that include salmon and anchovy, baked artichoke, a cold cut platter, a cheese platter, savoury crepes such as Crepe Benedict and Spinach & Ricotta Crepe and 7 exciting side dishes, which include rice pilaf!

Yeah, I would love to film a Man vs Food episode in Fat Chef Bistro and Deli! Let me be the MAN! If I skip breakfast, I think I can handle it!

 

 

 

 

Dhaliwal Indian Restaurant in Bacolod City

A new location, a larger restaurant, a new chef, same fabulous Indian food and same great prices! Dhaliwal Indian Restaurant has moved to their new location, just south of their old location on BS Aquino Drive in Villamonte, Bacolod.

Indian Restaurant

Dhaliwal Indian Restaurant

We dropped by Dhaliwal Indian Restaurant last Sunday for a late lunch, after church. 

The owner, me and the chef

The owner, me and the Chef

The owner, the Chef and the wait staff were extremely friendly and we enjoyed the fellowship, as well as the food!

Samosa

Samosa

An open Samosa

An open Samosa

These samosas had cubed potatoes, peas, onions and a hint of ground meat. Ground lamb, goat or chicken is often used in the samosa.They are served with a wonderful hot sauce, which is just right for my taste. Not too mild and not too hot! You can also ask for a yogurt dipping sauce or a curry dipping sauce. We had all three dipping sauces.

Roti

Roti

For me, an Indian meal is not an Indian meal without roti. It is the bread made with stoneground flour. We ordered the plain roti but you can order onion or garlic flavored roti. We also had a curry dipping sauce with the roti.

Tandori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken

Wow! My favorite, Tandoori Chicken! Tandoori Chicken is Indian style roasted chicken. Traditionally, it is marinated in yogurt and seasoned with the spice mixture, tandoori masala. Turmeric is also used to give it the orange-red color. It has a nice red color! It is also fabulously delicious! Our order was garnished with hot green peppers and purple onions.

Biryani Rice

Biryani Rice with Chicken

You gotta have a rice dish with an Indian meal, in my opinion, and our favorite is Biryani Rice with Chicken. Many different spices go into this traditional Indian dish. Nutmeg, mace, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, onions and garlic are commonly used in various combinations, depending upon the chef.

Inside the Restaurant

Inside the Restaurant

It was a great dining experience for us and we also made some new friends. The Indian Music in the background is just the right volume, not too loud that you can’t comfortably talk at your table and it is a good setting maker.

I had Indian colleagues and friends in the States but I never really got into the Indian cuisine there. I always enjoyed watching the local Indian TV show, “Roshni,” on Saturday mornings in south Florida, as it had all the latest Bollywood music and dance videos. Man, I wish I could really dance like that but it is fun trying. It was not until I moved to China that I really began to enjoy the Indian food. The Holiday Inn Hotel in one city, where we lived, had the Indian Kitchen Restaurant and the Food & Beverage Manager for that Holiday Inn was Indian.  In the last city where we lived in China, the medical university had more than 300 Indian medical students studying to become doctors at the Medical University. We made many friends among the Indian students. They trained a Chinese couple how to prepare all the favorite Indian dishes and they opened an Indian Restaurant near the campus gate. The Indian students kept the Chinese couple supplied with all the indgredients to prepare the Indian dishes. It was a great little restaurant.

My wife is also very familiar with Indian food since she lived and worked abroad for about 15 years and she agrees that Dhaliwal is by far the best Indian Restaurant in Bacolod City. It is as great as the ones we have dined in during our travels and work in China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Another New Expat Hang Out?

First of all, a big thank you to Martin and the Bacolod Food Hunters, who  have a blog right here on Word Press, for telling me about Kristin’s Steak House on Lacson Street. They did a full review about Kristin’s Steak House a short time ago. Kristin’s Steak House is located in the area of Bar 21 and Mushu Asian Fusion Restaurant.

Animal Heads

Animal Trophy Heads

My kind of place! There are several deer, a wild boar and a mountain goat trophy heads hanging on the wall inside the restaurant. I didn’t see a Jackalope, though. A jackalope is an antlered rabbit with spike horns and ears a foot tall! Made famous in a Jerry Jeff Walker song back in the 70s, “Taken Again.” To the left of the animal trophy heads is a painting of John Wayne, the famous American actor, in full cowboy outfit. 

We dropped by Kristin’s at 330pm and it was way too early for me to have supper, so I had a late Merienda (snack).

Bacon Cheese Burger

Bacon Cheeseburger

A bacon cheeseburger is a snack, right? Wow! This cheeseburger had an excellent char on it from the grill. I really enjoyed it. The price was P75, including the small side of “tropical potato salad.” The potato salad had papaya in it.

Others had a bigger idea of what their snack would be!

Spare Rib

Spare Rib

A Philippine version of grilled spare rib with mushroom and veggies.

Grilled Chicken Steak

Grilled Chicken Steak

Mushrooms and gravy were added to this grilled chicken steak. Mashed potatoes came with the grilled chicken steak but our son does not like those, so I was given the task of eating them. I poured a little gravy over the mashed potatoes and I completed the task without a problem!

Due to the odd hour, we were the only diners in Kristin’s Steak House but two other tables were soon taken before we finished our meal.

We were well pleased with the service and the menu prices. The prices for imported steaks were P300-P320. These included New York Cut, Rib Eye, Porterhouse and T-Bone. Great prices! Especially compared to other steak houses in the city where an imported steak will set you back P800-P1,000! Steaks from local beef are also on the menu for less than P200. 

Crocodile

Crocodile

For the adventurous, crocodile is on the menu at P400 per serving. Not bad. Our friend, who dined with us today wants to try crocodile. His Birthday is later this month, so we told him we will treat him to a crocodile Birthday meal! He can’t hardly wait! Ostrich is also on the menu for P450 per serving.

Our next trip to Kristin’s, I will try one of their imported steaks. I normally prepare my steaks at home on my home grill but I will give Kristin’s a shot and eat one of their steaks soon.

Kristin’s opened in their Lacson location on December 15 and I think it will become another popular expat hang out due to their excellent food and great prices. Yes, they do have cold beer. Maybe I will see you there one day in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Bella Pizzaria In Bacolod

 

Rio Bella Pizzaria

Rio Bella Pizzaria

Located on Lacson Extension, near Alijis Road, is Rio Bella Pizzaria & Bar. Rio Bella has quickly become our favorite pizza restaurant in Bacolod City. My wife, son and I really enjoy the pizza made at Rio Bella. I judge a pizza by its crust and it does not matter to me what the toppings are, if the crust is not very good, the pizza is a failure. We dined and ordered pizza at Rio Bella Pizzaria at least a half dozen times and every pizza has been a smashing success! There are 17 different pizzas to choose from on the menu and our favorite is the pepperoni pizza. Basically because it is our son’s favorite!

XL Pepperoni Pizza

XL Pepperoni Pizza

Our good friend, Randy, is helping us eat this massive XL pizza! No, we could not finish it, so we had a lot of pizza to take home with us, to enjoy again. Which we did!

Rosti

Rosti

Rio Bella Pizzaria has a number of Swiss dishes on their menu. We ordered rosti and we really enjoyed it. Rosti is coarsely grated potatoes which are mostly fried but they can be baked in an oven. Rosti is more like the Southern Style homemade hash brown potatoes that I grew up eating. Rosti is nothing like the hash browns one orders at Jollebee or McDonald. I refer to rosti as “scattered hash browns” and not one large lump of commercial cookie cutter potatoes. I will add that the rosti on the platter is only half the amount that came with the order, as we could not wait to dig in!

The menu at Rio Bella Pizzaria is in English and German. There are also several Filipino dishes on the menu. Schnitzel (a breaded cutlet meat dish) and wurst (sausages) are a few more available Swiss dishes among several others. My wife has ordered the popular Filipino dish, Pancit Bihon, several times and she rates it as “Excellent.”

Decor

Decor

The decor is nice in Rio Bella Pizzaria and it gives off an Old World or European atmosphere in the Bacolod Area.

Every time we have dined at Rio Bella Pizzaria, there have always been other expats there at different times of the day, Noon, later afternoon and evening. This is usually a good indicator to me that the food is good but I know that already!

Other dishes on the menu, which many expats enjoy, are chili con carne, Cordon Bleu, fish & chips, and Caesar Salad, among a host of others. If you enjoy beer with your pizza or other dishes, the beer is always ice cold! The wait staff are very friendly and the service is very good. The owner is also very friendly and she has chatted with us before at our table.

Rio Bella is a newer addition to the dining scene in Bacolod and we really enjoy it. We look forward to our next pizza at Rio Bella. The bar is separate from the restaurant, so taking one’s children and family to enjoy pizza and Swiss food won’t be a problem. It is a family atmosphere. You will also most likely see other expats there, so maybe you will meet some new friends?

 

 

2012 in review

All Around Bacolod was my first attempt at having my own blog, which I started in February, 2012. I never dreamed that so many people from many different countries would be interested in reading about Bacolod City and reading what an American has to say about living in the Bacolod Area.

I want to give a big THANK YOU to all the followers and readers of All Around Bacolod and for making it successful. Another big THANK YOU to all those who told others about All Around Bacolod on WordPress. With the Christmas and New Year Celebration with my family and wonderful friends all around Bacolod City, I have been busy having a lot of fun but I will be posting some new blogs very soon.

Thanks to WordPress, there is a nice, interesting Annual Report about All Around Bacolod:

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 14 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Mexican Night in Bacolod

The conversations among the American expat community in Bacolod has centered around Mexican Food lately. One expat told how he can make refried beans from pinto beans. Another expat and a good friend told us about a new Mexican Restaurant that opened up at Sorrento’s, “Tostados.” I haven’t checked out Tostados yet but I plan to, with an open mind. I think the best Mexican Food, thus far, is found right in our home.

We recently had Mexican Night in our home. I have many of the ingredients to make Mexican food but not all. It isn’t 100% authentic but close enough for my taste.

Tostados

Tostados on a Corn Tortilla

This is the Mexican dish that I know as Tostados. It is a corn tortilla layered with refried beans, ground beef (I used ground round beef from SM Supermarket), tomatoes, onions, shredded cheddar cheese and taco or picante sauce. The corn tortillas are Mega Mexicana brand, product of the Philippines, and were purchased at SM Supermarket. The refried beans are Ortega brand, purchased at Lopues Mandalagan Supermarket.

tapatio picante sauce

Tapatio Salsa Picante

The Tapatio Salsa Picante Hot Sauce was purchased at Shopper’s Pick, across the street from Robinsons Place on Lacson Street.

Tostados

Tostados on a Flour Tortilla

The same exact ingredients, only this is on a flour tortilla instead of a corn tortilla. The flour tortillas are also Mega Mexicana brand, product of the Philippines, and purchased at SM Supermarket.

Mexican Night would not be Mexican Night without tacos! After these tostados, I went a little light with the tacos.

Chicken Taco

Chicken Taco

Chicken Taco

Chicken Taco

These were light chicken tacos. I added refried beans, shredded chicken and diced tomatoes and onions. I left off the cheese but I didn’t forget the Tapatio Salsa Picante. It is Mexican hot sauce but not so hot. SM Supermarket  sells packets of Taco Seasoning and Fajita Seasoning, McCormick brand, if you are not into making your own or if you lack all the ingredients.

Mexican Night during December in Bacolod!

Campuestohon Highland Resort

Are you ready for a spectacular view of Negros Occidental, the sea and Panay Island? You can see all the beauty from Campuestohan Highland Resort, which is about 40 minutes from the downtown area, located on the border of Bacolod City and Talisay City. Pass through Barangay Granada in Bacolod City and follow the signs. It is an uphill ride to Campuestohan Highland Resort. Admission is P150 per head and includes use of the swimming pool. A cottage rental for the day starts at P600, which includes a BBQ grill. Campuestohan Highland Resort is such a wonderful place to spend the day during a family outing. Our visit was part of our Thanksgiving Weekend Celebration last week.

Entrance

We are Fam-i-ly!

Children’s Playground

Pool Area

Mountain View

Nipa House in Background

Many people live on the mountain where Campuestohan is located. On the road, along the way, a ten hectare farm was pointed out that is owned by world famous boxer Manny Pacquiao. 

Jun Jun Making Pineapple Boats

Pineapple Boat

Empty Pineapple Boat!

Yep, we finished off the pineapple. These were Dole Pineapples, grown in Mindanao.

Dolphins

Log Cabin

Inside the log cabin are hotel rooms for overnight. We brought our own food to have a picnic and we also grilled fish beside the day cottage. However, we were told that Sinugba Restaurant is or will be located at the resort.

Day Cottage

We enjoyed Campuestohan Highland Resort so much that we are already planning a trip again in the near future! It was about ten degrees cooler at Campuestohan than in the city of Bacolod. Around 530pm, it was really nice, cool weather. Campuestohan is one of the newest resorts in the area and they are adding more fun things to do in the near future, such as a zipline adventure. We look forward to our next visit!