You Can Get It If You Really Want


I never really thought about Food Products being produced in Seattle. I buy Eagle Mills Buttermilk Pancake Mix for P60 per box and Albers Yellow Cornmeal and Albers Grits for P250 per box. All have a Seattle, Washington address on the box.

The great frozen Lamb Weston Potatoes I buy, Crinkle Cut Fries and Waffle Fries, are out of Eagle, Idaho.

Metro Supermarket stocks many American Food Items that are Springfield brand, which is affiliated with United Grocers in Commerce, California.

The West and Great Northwest are doing a great job getting their Food Products to us in the Philippines. California is not all bad, you see.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez

That is Cajun for…Let the Good Times Roll!

There is one Southern State doing a great job in getting their Food Products to us in the Philippines. The great state of Louisiana and those Ragin’ Cajuns got it going on for us! I buy Crystal Louisiana Hot Sauce from Metairie, Louisiana, Trappey’s Louisiana Hot Sauce and jarred Peppers from New Iberia, Louisiana, Andy’s Cajun Fish Batter from down on the Bayou and Zatarain’s Food Products from one of my favorite places on the Planet, New Orleans.


Who dat, who dat Zatarain’s? Down in New Orleans, Zatarain’s has many fine Food Products. Crawfish/Shrimp/Crab Boil Seasoning, Dirty Rice Mix, Red Beans, Creole Seasonings, Boxed Rice Meals and Long Grain Rice. Plus a number of other products.


I make Hoppin’ John by using Springfield brand Black Eye Peas over Rice. I add both chopped White Onion and Green Onion. Kick it a notch by adding Bacon, Hog Jowl or your favorite Smoked Sausage. Do not forget to eat Hoppin’ John with Cornbread.


If I could wish a favorite American restaurant opening in Bacolod, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is at the top of my Wish List. It was founded in 1972 in New Orleans and is now a restaurant chain across America. Love that Chicken from Popeyes!

Happy Shopping!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

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Shopping For Foreign Food


As I have written before, there are more Foreign Food Products available in Bacolod City all the time.

Food Adventurer

In America, there are several companies that do your grocery shopping for you. You make a list and one of their staff will go buy it for you and deliver it to your door. For me, I would not avail this service, as I am a Food Adventurer and I enjoy shopping for myself. Even my wife cannot shop for me and she does not try.

I am not a shopper who will drive across town to save P20 just to buy an item at a different store. However, I have my shopping down to an excellent technique and I shop for different Food Items at different supermarkets and Delis. I do not spend an entire day going to different supermarkets for shopping but since I enjoy going, anyway, I go to one or two stores in the same day. Next time, on to different stores.


Today, I knew where I wanted to go…Cafe Bob’s Deli and Robinsons Supermarket on Alijis Road. I looked around to see if there were any new arrivals but I knew what I was planning to buy before we got there.

I enjoy going to Bob’s Deli and enjoying one Negros Pale Ale. Those with me usually order Coffee but today, they decided on Dad’s Root Beer. My intention was to buy Cold Cuts at Bob’s Deli. I bought Olive Lyoner, AKA Pickle Loaf in Alabama, and Smoked Ham. P139 spent for both, total price. I enjoy Santis Spanish Style Chorizo and I picked up a package for P263. This is not a local product and the Cold Cuts are also imported.

At the newest Robinsons in the City of Smiles, I wanted to look around to see if any new arrivals, as I had not shopped there this month. The Lamb Weston Crinkle Fries were on my list and I bought them. Hunts Pork & Beans, which I prepare with Virginia Honey Cured Bacon, is a Product of the Philippines. It is P119 per package.

The Promo of the Day at Robinsons was Buy One Take One with Fusilli, AKA Corkscrew Pasta, for P58. Each package is 500 grams, so it was 1 kg of Fusilli for the price of half kilo. I have found Fusilli to be very versatile, as you can prepare a number of dishes with it. Beef A Roni, Macaroni Fruit Salad, Macaroni Chicken Salad, Tuna Salad Fusilli and Crab Salad Fusilli, naming my favorites.


This branch of Robinsons is the only one that stocks Tong Garden BBQ Sunflower Seeds and they are P23 per package.

I buy Sandwich Bread at Robinsons Bakery, P39 per loaf, and I like it better than all the other Sandwich Breads sold in Bacolod.

Where to Buy Fruit

All the supermarkets charge about 3 X the public market price for Fruit. For example, Robinsons price for Cantaloupe is P135 per kilo, while the public market price is P40-P45 per kilo. I did buy one Cantaloupe, paying P85 for it because I want it for brunch tomorrow. We do not pass a public market with Cantaloupe on the route home.

There are several brands, Products of the Philippines, which produce Foreign Style Food items because many Filipinos also buy them. Some of the Philippines brands are good but mostly, I have found that they are not all that. For sure much cheaper, but while the cost is less, in many cases, the quality is also less. I had rather pay more, even double for better taste and quality. None of the local brands of Vienna Sausage measure up to Armour and Libby’s brands.

I am set with my shopping until May rolls around. And then I get to have more fun in being a Food Adventurer.

I can fry it, I can grill it or I can eat it right out of the can!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

From a Wellness Point of View

Over the past couple of years, there has been an increase in Wellness and Alternative Medicine Clinics opening in Bacolod City. I am happy see it.

Since 1986, when I was cured of Asthma with Acupuncture by a Taiwanese MD of Traditional Chinese Medicine, that is the Path I have followed for my personal health and wellness.

I am not putting anyone down for taking Western style medication, as I know some need it. However, for many things, that mode of treatment can be avoided. For me, Western style medication would be a last resort and I am thankful everyday that I do not take any medication for any reason. I have not taken an Antibiotic or a painkiller in decades.

There is a lifestyle of Wellness and the earlier it is started, the better. Harsh Western style medication taken on a regular basis can breakdown your immune system. One of the biggest tragedies is the over prescribing of antibiotics, as seen in America and the other, right up there is the over prescribing of painkillers. The latter is one big reason why there is an Opioid Epidemic in America today.

I firmly believe in the life force of Qi/Chi in the human body. Too much heat, too much cold, too much wind can cause illness. Acupuncture is used to regulate the body’s Qi. It must be balanced for good health, like the Yin and Yang. It is balanced and complementary. Cupping and the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine, always natural and herbal, also will balance the Qi/Chi.


Some believe that high and extreme impact exercise is necessary for good health. I am not one who believes it. I played sports well into my 40s, mostly Softball. I still like to play Wiffle Ball, Volleyball and I have a Football to throw around with others.

For me, Tai Chi is great. It is low impact and it accomplishes much for those who are into it. After only 5 minutes of Tai Chi, I can feel the benefits.

Every morning at Panaad Park in Bacolod, there are many older Filipinos and foreigners meeting up for Tai Chi. I learned Tai Chi in China and I practice it at home. I do not need an instructor of Tai Chi.


Walking is another great exercise for older people or for anyone for that matter. Easily accomplished in the Philippines at any of the many malls. It does not have to be a walk on the wild side! I have seen some of those fast walkers in the mall and if not careful, they will knock you down! And keep on truckin’.

The Human Body is actually a Natural Pharmacy. A key is eating real food instead of processed food so much. Real Food puts natural bacteria in your gut. Motion will activate your body’s Natural Pharmacy, which is in your blood stream, tailored just for you. Going to a gym is not required, as Tai Chi and walking are both motion. Sitting for prolong periods is never good.

I also attribute Faith and Prayer as part of my Wellness. Many MDs have stated that their patients who have a Spiritual Life stand a much better chance to full recovery.

My greeting to you is that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers during this Holy Week Season and through the years. All the days of your lives.

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

Your Amigo,
~ Gary ~

Corn Dogs


The Texas Rangers baseball team has added the Dilly Dog to their concessions. The Dilly Dog is a Frankfurter inside a large Dill Pickle, battered and deep fried to make a new type of Corn Dog. So far, fans are giving it mixed reviews during Spring Training games. I would greatly enjoy trying a Dilly Dog!

Cali Coast Corn Dogs in Ayala Mall is now out of business. Too bad. It was fun while it lasted, as they were open about 7 months. They had good Corn Dogs but used the smaller Hot Dogs, so you needed 2, which were P30 or P35 each.

Last December, I bought a 16 count box of frozen Foster Farms Honey Crunchy Corn Dogs at S&R in Iloilo. These are excellent Corn Dogs and I have a few left due to my saving them for when I really want a Corn Dog.


Making Corn Dogs at home is not that difficult but I found it takes practice concerning keeping the batter around the Hot Dog. I suggest preparing a dozen Corn Dogs the first batch and if you get 8 out of 12 right, you are a better Corn Dog maker than I am. I read just today that is an easier process is using Jiffy Cornbread Muffin Mix as the batter. I will try it next time but unless I am just looking for an activity, I will buy more Foster Farms double honey batter dipped Corn Dogs at S&R again. They are Corn Dog Experts!


Metro Supermarket in Ayala Mall sells Jiffy Cornbread Muffin Mix for P63 per box and I already have 2 boxes on hand.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

 

 

Armour Star Meats in the Philippines


SM Supermarket has the largest selection of Armour Star Meats in Bacolod City. During the past week, SM has new stock of Armour Star Smoked Vienna Sausage, Barbecue Flavored Vienna Sausage, Chicken Vienna Sausage, Jalapeno Vienna Sausage, Treet Spiced Luncheon Meat and Potted Meat.

I am not complaining but it would be nice to also see Armour Star Chili, Hash, Roast Beef and Sliced Dried Beef. I would also like to find Armour Star packaged, not canned, Hot Dogs.

Armour Star had long been one of the leading Meat Packing Companies in America, since right after the Civil War. Nowadays, it is not only Armour Star but several other companies are part owners of Armour Star Meats. Pinnacle Foods, Smithfield Foods of Virginia and Eckrich Sausage are involved in Armour Star.

I cannot say everyone but for me, I still enjoy eating food that I grew up eating. I have always enjoyed a Vienna Sausage Sandwich with Mustard, ever since I can remember and I still do. However, I eat Vienna Sausage Sandwiches less often these days than I did in my younger days. Yet, I still always have several cans of Armour Vienna Sausage on hand for when I want to eat it.

Libby’s Vienna Sausage is alright, too, and it is also available in Bacolod City.


Less often but still liking it, I will make an Armour Potted Meat Sandwich with Mustard.

One time, I bought a Philippines brand Vienna Sausage just to try it and it was terrible. I did not finish eating even one of these Vienna Sausages. Tasha, our dog, ate them. I have only tried one Philippines brand of Vienna Sausage.

At one of the Delis in Bacolod, Metro, I bought the original style Vienna Sausage, imported from Europe and which is not canned, and it is very good but due to its length, probably best eaten on a long bun. Or adding it with cooked Cabbage and Potatoes. Also very good.


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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

What Do You Miss? Revisited


Not much, do I miss seeing in the Philippines but there are a few things.

A Southern Style Bait and Tackle Shop is one that I would like to see. Crickets chirping up a storm, Minnows swimming in tanks, barrels filled with moist dirt and thousands of worms, Artificial Bait and Lures, Rods & Reels, Cane Poles, Bobbers, Hooks and an old chest type cooler loaded with ice cold Beer, Coca Cola and Buffalo Rock. Coke, no Pepsi!


Do not forget the snacks. Cans of Possum Sardines, cans of Libby’s & Armour Vienna Sausage, cans of Armour Potted Meat, cans of Libby’s Corned Beef, boxes of Saltine Crackers, loaves of Merita Sandwich Bread, packages of Lance Cheese Crackers, packages of Lance Peanut Butter Crackers, bags of Golden Flake Potato Chips, Lance Red Skin Peanuts, Fritos, packages of Slim Jim and jars on the counter with Pickled Eggs, Pickled Sausage and Pickled Pig Feet. I am ready now to go fishing.


The Bait and Tackle Shops in the Southern USA were not only places to buy your fishing needs but it was a meeting up place to shoot the breeze. To get the latest low down, latest gossip, talking sports, chewing tobacco together and spitting into that brass spittoon, talking about the new sexy lady who moved to town and plain ole story telling. There was always a pot of coffee sitting on top of the pot belly wood stove when the weather was cold. Help yo self. During the hot weather, it was Pop a Top time and have a cold Beer. Falstaff was the House Beer but other brands were available, including Sterling, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Miller High Life.


The radio was not played loud but you could hear the songs of Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Tammy, Loretta and the other popular C&W singers of the day.

I do not miss the old time Bait and Tackle Shops that much but it would be nice to revisit one. Will have to wait until my next trip to rural Florida, whenever that is. However, I realize that it will never be the same, so no need to really miss something that no longer exists! All those good singers, except Loretta Lynn, are now in Hillbilly Heaven. So are Billy Bob, Jimmy Ray and Slick Jackson, the boyz at the Tackle Shop. I miss them most of all.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Four More Weeks of Christmas in the Philippines


It all began on September 1, the beginning of the Christmas Celebration in the Philippines. For some Filipinos, the last day of the Christmas Celebration is on Three Kings Day, each January 6. However, it is not over til it’s over! For other Filipinos…

Christmas continues with the Feast of the Black Nazarene coming up on Monday, January 9 this year. That is not the end. Feast of the Santo Nino is the 3rd Sunday in January, 21st this year.

For Filipinos in Jaro, Iloilo and in Candelaria, Quezon, the final day of the Christmas Celebration is the Feast of Our Lady of the Candles on February 2.

For my family, Three Kings Day on Saturday wraps of our Christmas Celebration. Why not have one more Traditional Christmas Meal?

What do Filipinos eat on Three Kings Day? I do not know what Filipinos eat on Three Kings Day, as we have not met up with others, that I recall, as we eat at home or eat out.

Lechon Asado sounds good to me, which is basically Pork Roast and not a whole roasted pig. I’ve tried the Chinese-Filipinos Lechon Asado and it is basically Char Siu Pork. That is not what I want! Cubans in South Florida make fabulous Lechon Asado and I am not sure I can duplicate their version but I will enjoy giving it my best shot. I have the authentic Cuban Recipe for Lechon Asado.

Happy Three Kings Day!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Luckenbach, Philippines


There was a research article a couple of years back, which was posted about on LinP3. In conclusion, Filipinos are among the happiest people in the world.

We have friends and relatives who many foreigners would deem as being poor. However, these Filipinos do not consider themselves poor at all. It is basically a family commune with a number of relatives living on the same land, sharing for the good of everyone.

They live in rural areas that are not overcrowded, not polluted and a chicken being stolen is considered the major crime of the week. Seriously.

Fishing in the pristine mountain springs & mountain streams, in nearby rivers provide sustenance. Several types of Perch and Eels are usually the Catch of the Day. The people grow a little Rice, Corn, various other Vegetables, Coffee and Fruit trees are abundant. There are yard chickens running around, free range, and there is always a pig or 2 being raised. Large amounts of money are not required and everyone is happy everyday. One relative visited us last year and it was the first time he had been to Bacolod in well over half a decade, by his own choice. My mother in law is not happy in the city. After a one day or two day visit, she is antsy getting back on the family farm in the countryside.

Living a laid back, slow paced life without stress is something more foreigners could learn and appreciate. That was my lifestyle in Southern America.


In some respects, a number of areas in the Philippines can be compared favorably to Disneyland. In a different sort of way but with similar themes.

We spent the night down at the farm last night and much of the day on Thursday. One of my favorite cousins had a wedding planned. I do not show favoritism but Liezel has gone above and beyond being friendly with me and making me feel welcome in the family. She is a fabulous singer who can easily sing in professional bands.

The night before Thursday’s wedding, I made a large pot of Chili. We have a home Karaoke System and it was used until after Midnight.


The wedding was held in a not so far away town in an Independent Catholic Church…Iglesia Filipina Independiente. The Wedding Reception was held at the family compound, where 4 or 5 families in that particular clan live. Before the reception kicked off, two different relatives proudly took us on a tour of their new houses. Both houses are concrete and one house in particular was very impressive, built for around P600,000.

Family raised goats, ducks and a pig were the main fare in the Wedding Reception and all were excellent. BBQ Duck, Goat Caldereta and Lechon. I only eat the Lechon Ribs and that is the part of the Pig I received.

The Uncle of the Bride tends our cattle and we recently added two white Brahman Cows to the herd. They are not scrawny, looking very good, and the Uncle has taken very good care of our cattle for over 9 years.

Appearance can often be very misleading. Down in the boondocks rural areas and simple houses may appear to be the grounds of people living in poverty, however, our relatives consider themselves extremely blessed and well off in Life. In reality, they certainly are!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

The Positives of Aging


The US State Dept reports that there are more than 300,000 US citizens living in the Philippines. Many, if not most, are retirees. Being a Senior Citizen does not require a negative stereotype. Many never made it to your age and they are no longer on the planet but you are still alive and kicking!

In Manila, there is a US Social Security office, there is a US VA Clinic and the Philippine Retirement Authority offers the SRRV, Special Resident’s Retiree Visa.

Power of Positive Thinking

During my mid 20s, I discovered the Power of Positive Thinking. It has ever since gone hand in hand with my Faith. Fear and Doubt counters Faith. Negative Thinking counters all things Positive. I know there are limitations as we get older but there does not have to be many automatic limitations. We should do what remains within our comfort zone. It does not mean to take to a rocking chair and wait around to die!

I often wondered why many Senior Citizens remain very active into their 90s and others seem to shut down in their 60s and early 70s?

They Take a Licking and Keep On Ticking

In both the Philippines and in America, there are many senior citizen politicians, with some being around in office for more than 40-50 years. There are term limits in the Philippines but not in America, however, in the Philippines, many keep coming back to office when allowed to run for office again.

Fidel Ramos Photo

Juan Ponce Enrile termed out last year as a Philippine Senator at age 92. Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada is 80. Former President Fidel Ramos is 89 and he was on the campaign trail last year, campaigning for Duterte. Imelda Marcos is 88 and is a current Congresswoman of Ilocos Norte.


Recently watching a Tennessee Titans NFL game, I saw Dick LaBeau walking the sidelines of the Titans with a head set and holding a play chart. Dick LaBeau is the Defensive Coordinator and the Assistant Coach of the Tennessee Titans. Dick LaBeau was born in 1937 and he is 80 years of age.

A day or so ago, I saw author Mary Higgins Clark on Fox News, promoting her new book. Ms Clark was born in 1927 and she will turn 90 on Christmas Eve this year. Despite battling arthritis in her hands, Mary Higgins Clark is still writing.


One of my favorite Baseball personalities is Trader Jack McKeon. At age 72, Trader Jack won a World Series while managing the Florida Marlins. Trader Jack retired from Managing 2 years later but remained a Consultant in Baseball Operations. Six years later, at age nearing 78, Trader Jack returned to the dugout to manage the Florida Marlins just one more time. He said he did not need the job but he loves managing. Trader Jack McKeon will turn 87 this month, he is still following the game of baseball and he is still smoking his cigars. He is now retired in North Carolina.

There are many more examples of people being productive and active from ages 70+ to 100. A number of them have 3 or more chronic medical conditions but they do not let those derail them.

There are some negatives in aging but some can be turned into positives. There is no Fountain of Youth but positives can outweigh the negatives if the person makes that decision.

Many Filipinas often say…Age is only a number and there is much truth in their statement! You are as young as you feel.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

All Around Bacolod: Sharing the Grandeur of the Philippines


February 2018 will mark the 6th year I have been publishing articles about the Philippines on my website, All Around Bacolod. My Vision and my Mission have always remained to share the Grandeur of the Philippines, especially about the Bacolod Area.

Who Reads All Around Bacolod?

Word Press has daily statistics that I can refer to as to where my readers and followers are actually located. Today, thus far to this moment, people reading All Around Bacolod are located in the USA, Canada, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. Yesterday, Russia and Australia made the list together with the mentioned 5 countries.

There are many people around the world who have not yet visited the Philippines. There are many others who have visited the Philippines, some have visited many times, and they have plans to live in the Philippines during their retirement years.

I do not mind expats living in Bacolod reading my articles, however, they are certainly not the base or core of my followers and readers. They are already here and if they get out of their houses, they should already know much about Bacolod City and about the surrounding areas.

The Bacolod Area is not the only location in the Philippines but it has been my home since June 2009. From 1986-2000, I lived in Metro Manila 2 times and I most annually visited, sometimes 2-3 times during the year. However, my experience in Manila is highly outdated and is no longer accurate.

More Than Beaches


Many beaches in the Philippines are very beautiful, however, not everyone likes the beach. Some expats prefer life in the rural mountain areas of the Philippines. Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto are the two mountain areas I am most familiar with in the Bacolod Area.


All expats do not like the beaches or the mountain areas and they prefer living in a large city in the Philippines. Some prefer many more choices to enjoy a vibrant nightlife, many more choices for great dining and many more choices to enjoy great shopping. The city lifestyle is for them!

Why I Chose to Live in the Bacolod Area

My wife is from the Bacolod Area, however, she did not pressure me to live here if I did not like it. After 3 extended visits to the Bacolod Area, 6 weeks each time, I decided that this is the area where I wanted to retire to and live in the Philippines. I have never regretted my decision!

Bacolod City was named this year by a panel of experts as The Model City in the Philippines. Previously, Bacolod City has been awarded as the Greenest, Cleanest and Most Livable City in the Philippines…several times.

In Bacolod City, there is great dining, with many choices of Cuisine and there is also great shopping. Education from K-University is excellent…if the right educational institution is chosen for attending. There are 5 Private Hospitals in Bacolod City. Overall, based upon the words of Filipino family and friends, the Medical Care in Bacolod City is very good to excellent, depending upon the Hospital and their personal MD.

Currently, there are 8 Shopping Malls in the Bacolod Area, which also includes Talisay City. A new larger Ayala Mall is under construction as I write.

Compared to the well known large cities in the Philippines, Bacolod does not have the traffic, crime or pollution problems. Bacolod is a mid-sized city and we feel it is a great place to raise our son.

The City of Smiles

Bacolod City lives up their reputation of The City of Smiles. The vast majority of the Filipinos who are friends, family acquaintances and among those I newly meet are very nice, extremely friendly and are eager to be helpful if needed.

The vast majority of the Filipinos in my circle and the ones I know on a more casual basis are originally from Negros Occidental. Not being critical of other Regions and the people from those Regions, I have found the Filipinos in Negros Occidental to have a very gentle character and a laid back lifestyle. I lived in the Southern USA most of my life and the Filipinos and their hospitality in our area reminds me very much of the people in both Alabama and in Northern Florida. The elderly are respected, God, Family, Flag and Country are loved and people are neighborly.

I have many wonderful Filipino friends in the Bacolod Area. People should do what they need to be happy and having many foreign friends is not a requirement for my happiness. There are only two foreigners living in the subdivision where we live…me and another American. We have not even seen one another since last year.

Moving to the Bacolod Area is the best move I have made.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~