Grinders, Hoagies and Po Boys


I usually eat a Sub type Sandwich several times every week at home, ones I make.

There is not a Subway Sandwich Shop in Bacolod City. There are a few restaurants in Bacolod, which attract foreigners, that have Sub type Sandwiches on their menu.The best attempt is found at Delicioso Deli and Bistro. Cafe Bob’s Deli makes sandwiches to order and eat in but they do not have Hoagie Rolls or Baguettes as their choice of breads.

There is a Vietnamese Chain in Bacolod, Xin Chao, which has the Banh Mi/Vietnamese Sandwich on their menu. I recommend eating at their main restaurant branch at Hi Strip 4 Bldg on Circumferential Road. Their franchise kiosks in malls and shopping centers leave a lot to be desired because… what started out as a good Sandwich has gone to hell in a handbag! These days, there is very little Vietnamese Ham on their Sandwich, a little more Liver Pate and mostly sliced Carrots and Cucumbers. More like a Vietnamese Veggie Sandwich.

Soon, I plan writing about Coyo’s Cafe in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental. They have a fabulous Pulled Pork Sandwich and other great dishes on their menu that foreigners will enjoy eating.

American Hoagies

In America, Hoagies were originally associated with Italian-Americans but soon were popularized and most everyone enjoyed eating them. In the NE part of America, many call these a Hero Sandwich. I have also heard the term…Zeppelin in that area, in reference to a Sub.

In New England, Grinder is the term. I have read, more times than once, that a Grinder is a hot Sub, however, in Rhode Island, I most always ate a cold Gringer, with Cold Cuts. I sometimes ate a hot Grinder, a Meatball Sandwich, which is good as well.

I make the New Orleans style Po Boy but I am limited to a Fish Po Boy, a Crab Po Boy and a Smoked Sausage Po Boy. I like an Oyster Po Boy but have yet to really find the larger Oysters, making the best Po Boy when Deep Fried. The large Oysters in our area are really Medium, compared to the Oysters in the South, Florida and Louisiana. I developed an allergy to Shrimp, so a Shrimp Po Boy is out!


Enjoy Life and eat a Hoagie, a Grinder or a Po Boy today!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

National Pizza Day

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National Pizza Day is still on in the USA, Feb 9. In the Philippines, as well yesterday, as a number of pizzerias had all day promos.

According to the statistics, 1 in 8 Americans will eat pizza on any given day and 3 Billion Pizzas are sold each year. The statistics indicate that the number of American pizza eaters do not vary among race or gender. According to Pizza Hut, 94% of Americans eat pizza at least once per month.

One Pizzeria I will mention is Rio Bella, aka “Rio” Greenoz, located on Lacson Extension in Bacolod City. Their Pizza Chefs have changed over the years but they are still better than a number of other so called pizzerias. I still enjoy singing there in their Karaoke Bar. That is exactly what we did last Sunday afternoon with our Chinese friends from Shanghai.

I am not a big fan of Pizza Hut or Shakey’s in the Philippines. I did enjoy the 1954 Vintage Classic Pizza at Shakey’s in 2014 but it is no longer available. I remember the days back in the 1980s and in the 1990s when Shakey’s Pizza was great. The Shakey’s on Roxas Blvd in Manila had Draft San Miguel by the pitcher and a kick butt Rock n’ Roll Band at night. Ever hear the cover of “Mexican Black Bird” by ZZ Top?

Papa John’s Pizza is in Manila.

National Pizza Day Survey

In today’s National Pizza Day Survey, Lombardi’s in NYC, Capo’s in Chicago, Bollo Woodfired Pizza in Houston, Ken’s Artisan Pizza in Portland, Pizza Domenica in New Orleans, Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia, Proof Pizza in Miami (Neapolitan Pizza), Sotto Pizza in LA, Cart Driver Pizza in Denver and Tavola in NYC are the top Pizzerias in America. Never tried any of them but it may be true, although I do not put much stock into American surveys or polls. Otherwise, Hillary Clinton would be in the White House!

I really cannot tell you why but we have never tried Pizza Republic in Bacolod or in Cebu City. We need to check it out since it seems that more Indie Pizza Restaurants are losing their touch.

I would enjoy it very much if Hungry Howies Pizza came to Bacolod, as they have great pizza in Florida.

I remember very well my first pizza and that was way back in 1960 in Middletown, Rhode Island. At a Mom & Pop Pizzeria, owned by a Portuguese couple. They also had fabulous Spaghetti & Meatballs, Grinders (submarine sandwiches) and Antipasto Salad. Wow! Would love to eat there again right now.

Filipinos Love Pizza

Filipinos in Bacolod and in Cebu City also eat a lot of Pizza. It is a mixed bag when you read online pizza reviews and listen to recommendations from others. It does not matter how good the pizza toppings are, if the pizza crust is not good, it is not good pizza…to me. If the crust is excellent, I can enjoy a plain Cheese Pizza. Others have different standards for pizza. Mama Maria Pizza in Kabankalan had very good pizza but we have not been there to eat in several years. Not sure if they are still on the planet or have the same ownership if still open. Mama Maria Pizza in Bacolod folded several years ago.

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In the Bacolod and Cebu City malls, there are a number of kiosks making and selling pizza but I never try those. I can see them on display and I know, it is a poor attempt at making good pizza. They can keep their Eden Kraft Cheese!

Sbarro Pizza is or was in SM Mall Bacolod but I am not a big fan of them. Seems they were much better in Florida, best I recall.

I find Pizzaro Pizza to be very good. There are several branches in Bacolod City but we prefer their Gold Field Branch. Pizzaro also has branches in La Carlota and in Victorias City. Pizzaro has Korean fast food on their menu. However, Hanok in Golden Field is the place to go for authentic, full service Korean Cuisine, as I wrote in a recent article right here on All Around Bacolod.

I could write more about pizza in Bacolod but this article is long enough. I will recommend Italia Restaurant on Lacson Street, as they have excellent pizza. They are the A-Lister these days, as other once excellent Bacolod pizzerias are falling by the wayside.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Wing Master: The Taste of Real Buffalo Wings

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On a tip from an American friend, a former pro wrestler in Boston, we checked out Wing Master last night. It was an awesome experience. Wing Master is located in Zone 15 of Ayala North Point District Mall in Talisay, just north of Bacolod City.

The husband of the owner of Wing Master, Ron, is a member of LinP3. His wife, Russel, is the hands on owner of Wing Master. Both are from Buffalo, NY, so you know their Buffalo Wings are the real deal! You can believe that.

I cannot resist Country Fried Steak, aka Chicken Fried Steak, with White Gravy and Wing Master has it on their menu. It was great. Of course, later in the evening, I had to try their Buffalo Wings.

It’s Still Rock n’ Roll For Me!

A fabulous bonus for me was the live band, which is every Friday night at Wing Master. They were gracious to allow me to sing 6 songs with them during their sets. Every night is a good night for singing and last night was no exception. The guitar player in the band is a real pro, as he may not have been so familiar with my songs but he picked it up right away to lead the way on his electric guitar. Sweet Home Alabama, My Sacrifice, Unchain My Heart, Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Nothing Else Matters and Free Bird.
Rock n’ Roll and a little Blue Eyed Soul. Sad songs and waltzes do not help me at all. I enjoy Full Tilt Boogie and Ram Jam.

You Got Friends

At Wing Master, there is not only great food and fabulous music but Ron and Russel are good people. Very friendly and talkative. I already know that you will like them!

I am passing on this information to you free of charge. I am not a paid advertiser. If it is real, I tell you about it, if not, I will not mention it to you.

Let’s Party Like It Is 1999

I just have to mention it. It is been awhile since one of my favorite NFL Teams, the Buffalo Bills had a great team. They were 11-5 in 1999. Let’s hope a new coach will make the Buffalo Bills great again! The talent is already on the team. Just a few more good men needed to be added. Tired of being 7-9 every year!

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

Have a good one!

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Fish Po Boy with Green Tomato Chow Chow

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This is the recipe of the day, which can be made in the Philippines with locally available ingredients.

If you decide to add green tomato chow chow, you must make it 1 day in advance. If you plan to make your Po Boy right now without the chow chow, you will be eating within the hour, if you have the other ingredients on hand.

Chow Chow

I have an old Alabama Chow Chow recipe. It calls for green tomatoes, white or yellow onions, cabbage, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, coarse salt, white sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric, white vinegar and water. If you like it hot, add some hot peppers.

You will need a food processor or a heavy duty blender for chopping the vegetables unless you have the patience to chop by hand. After chopping all the vegetables, you need to add the coarse salt, put in a glass container and let it stand in the ref overnight.

The Chow Chow will accumulate water overnight. Drain well and put in a stock pot. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for about 4 minutes. Allow to cool and you can return the chow chow to a glass container with a tight fitting lid. Place the chow chow back in the ref and allow it to chill.

Fried Fish Po Boy with Green Tomato Chow Chow

Catfish is the most popular fish used when making a Louisiana style Po Boy but I used Cream Dory fish.

Andy’s Cajun Fish Breading is sold at Rustan’s in Cebu City and I brought some home last month. This is what I used to batter the fish for the Po Boy. Simply pan fry the fish until golden brown.

The French Bread was bought at Delicioso Deli in Bacolod and it is important having good bread when making your Po Boy. No one is happy if their sandwich falls apart. For the Po Boy spread, I put mayonnaise, horseradish and pickle relish on the bread.

Spoon the green tomato chow chow on the fish. Add dill pickles to your Po Boy and you are ready to eat. Andy’s Cajun Fish Breading is about all the zesty flavor my stomach can tolerate but if you want to really get fired up, you can add jalapenos and/or Louisiana Hot Sauce to your Po Boy.

If you prefer a Fried Shrimp Po Boy, the same recipe applies. Don’t forget to peel and butterfly the shrimp before breading and frying for best results.

All ingredients to make the Fried Fish Po Boy with Green Tomato Chow Chow are available in the Philippines. Enjoy your Po Boy.

Ca c’est bon! (That’s good!)

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

EZ Chicken Recipes in the Philippines

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Personally, I really enjoy eating chicken and I have as long as I can remember. There are so many diverse dishes that you can prepare with chicken, as the sky’s the limit. I am not a big fan of Chicken Curry but I will eat it. Actually, I prefer Curry Goat!

Food is always a hot topic among the expat community in the Bacolod area. I, for one, am a Hunter and a Gatherer. I am always on the Hunt for new food items to buy and new recipes to prepare.

In my article today, I have listed just a few of my favorite and EZ to prepare chicken recipes. All the ingredients to prepare these wonderful chicken dishes are available in Bacolod City. No fear!

*Chicken Adobo is a staple in many areas of the Philippines and it is not difficult to prepare at home. Cut up the chicken or buy the actual adobo cut, which is relatively available. You will need white vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves and black pepper. I prefer peppercorn.

I don’t brown the chicken first. I put the chicken in a wok or similar cooking utensil. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, smashed garlic, peppercorn and bay leaves. I make sure there is enough vinegar and soy sauce that won’t simmer out. It takes 20-30 minutes of simmering to complete Chicken Adobo. I prefer yellow rice but you can serve Chicken Adobo with plain white rice.

*Indonesian Ginger Chicken. When I am cooking, I don’t usually follow any set measurement of ingredients. For me, it is part of the fun in coming up with the right mix or the right formula to my personal taste. To make Indonesian Ginger Chicken, I make a marinade with honey, soy sauce, mashed garlic and grated ginger. It is best to marinate overnight but if you can’t wait, at least 6 hours, so best to plan this in advance.

After marinating, I place the chicken on a greased or lightly oiled baking pan, skin side up. I place the baking pan with the chicken in a preheated oven of 350F or about 177C degrees. Baking time will vary from oven to oven but you can figure on about 40 minutes. Keep an eye on the chicken to prevent burning on top, as some ovens in the Philippines will get hotter than the temp setting and some will not be truly 360F degrees. You can adjust the time accordingly.

Mo Chicken For Ya

*Honey Soy Garlic Chicken is a similar recipe to Indonesian Ginger Chicken. The preparation in the oven is the same. The marinade is a little different, as I use honey, soy sauce, mashed garlic and peppercorn.

When it comes to Southern Fried Chicken, I indeed like it fried after battering. Cooking battered chicken in a pressure cooker is KFC style but it takes a lot of cooking oil and it can be dangerous in the home kitchens. I stopped making this recipe upon my wife’s request!

*Oven Fried Chicken. Use your favorite chicken batter recipe, place chicken on a baking pan, skin side up, bake on 400F or 204C degrees. Depending on your oven, you should be eating in 20-30 minutes. At this temp setting, you should have crispy chicken.

Several foreigners in the Philippines told me that they can’t cook but I told them, “Yes, you can!” I have confidence that most anyone can prepare these EZ Chicken Recipes…if they want to.

Eating food you will enjoy is an important aspect of actually living in the Philippines, in my opinion.

I think it is about time that you head on out to the supermarket or to the local public market and load up on fresh whole chicken. If you don’t want to cut the chicken, feel free to buy cut up chicken. There is an actual adobo chicken cut, which is readily available most everywhere.

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

~ Gary ~

Fogo Grill Is Latino Inspired

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Taco Bell? No, can you say Fogo? Fast food has its place and time, however, I prefer full service dining and I enjoy the wait. I know when the food order arrives at our table, it has a special touch and it is not cookie cutter food, where one size fits all.

Last evening, I took my wife, our son and 2 of our friends to Fogo for our evening meal. Fogo is located at O Residences, right before you get to Robinsons Place Mall on Lacson Street. I had been to Fogo before at their old location. It was my wife and our son’s first visit to Fogo. They certainly enjoyed their dining experience.

Creative Latino Food

That is what you get at Fogo. It is Latino inspired and it is not the run of the mill pseudo Mexican food that you get in chain restaurants. It is not the poor attempt in creating a cuisine that is enjoyed worldwide.

When was the last time you had a burrito that included Mexican rice in the burrito? You can have one at Fogo. Their beef burrito does not include ground beef but it is indeed beef that you can sink your teeth into. Your beef burrito will also have refried beans, cheese and a generous serving of House Salsa.

Tacos, nachos and burritos will put some color back into your face! Don’t forget the fajitas and chili con carne as well. Those are all on the Fogo Menu.

Have you ever had Guacamole Mousse? I didn’t think so. It is the one of the most fabulous desserts I ever had and I am looking forward to our next visit to Fogo.

Portuguese Inspired

Fogo is not one dimensional. There are also several Portuguese inspired dishes on their menu. Peri Peri Chicken and Seafood Cataplana are 2 examples.

I am very familiar with Portuguese Cuisine. My parents, brother and I lived in the state of Rhode Island for 4 years. There is a large Portuguese Community in Rhode Island and in the New England Area of the USA. To this very day, Chourico and Linguica remain at the top of the list of my favorite sausages. They are indeed Portuguese Sausage at its finest.

At home, I make a Portuguese style one pot dish. Clams, crabs, mussels, smoked sausages, corn on the cob, potatoes and whole white onions, all cooked together in one large stock pot. Now, we’re talking! It’s about time to make this again!

Support Your Locally Owned Restaurants

I am a firm believer in supporting the fine locally owned restaurants where you live. The large chain restaurants have business based on their internationally recognized names but the locally owned restaurants will earn your respect, if given the opportunity, by serving you high quality fresh food at reasonable prices.

The locally owned restaurants are down home style. Fresh, locally sourced food is used in preparation and not frozen food that has been shipped halfway around the world! Now, which do you think is better in taste and better for your health?

I enjoy writing about locally owned restaurants, as I have done so during the past 4 years. However, I have never received one centavo for writing about any restaurant. I only write about restaurants that I like and about restaurants that other foreigners will most likely enjoy. If we dine in a restaurant and there is nothing good about it, I don’t write about them. I am not going to write negative words about anyone’s business. Maybe the chef was sick that day? Perhaps the food supplier did not deliver and alternatives had to be used? Maybe all the waitstaff are new and are still learning? We have to think about such things before we blast a restaurant in public. I write about what I enjoy, not about what I don’t enjoy. You can be the judge about what you personally like. We are all different!

A little bit is better than nada but if you want the whole enchilada, you gotta check out Fogo.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod. Maybe I will see you at Fogo, di ba?

~ Gary ~

Allo Allo Bistro

Allo Allo
Are you ready for a fabulous international dining experience in Bacolod City? I am going to tell you who to see and tell you right where to go! Run, don’t walk, to Allo Allo Bistro. This dining gem in Bacolod is found at the Hi Strip 4 Building on Circumferential Road, across from Panasiatic. You will find diverse Continental Food and Beverages at Allo Allo.

We dined at Allo Allo this evening and ordered two pizzas and drinks. Let me tell ya! Allo Allo has made it on our very own Top 3 Pizza List in all of Bacolod. It is awesome!

Sherree is the chef at Allo Allo and Larry is her husband. Both are super nice people and I know you will enjoy talking to them. We found the service and the atmosphere to be excellent at Allo Allo.

I will have several actual food photos to post soon, as we will be returning to Allo Allo very soon and we will sample other delicious items from their diverse menu.

If you want to try a new excellent dining experience in Bacolod, you gotta head on over to Allo Allo!

Do you enjoy reading interesting stories about the Philippines? Please check out my latest article on retiring to the Philippines.

http://retiringtothephilippines.com/living-in-the-philippines/dont-know-dont-know/

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

Max’s Restaurant-The House That Fried Chicken Built

Maxs Restaurant logo
One of the first Filipino restaurants I ever dined in was Max’s Restaurant, way back in 1986 when I lived in Metro Manila for one year. Twenty eight years later, Max’s Restaurant is still one of my favorite Filipino restaurants. During my weekly visits to SM Mall, I always drop in Max’s for a late lunch or for merienda, a late afternoon snack. It is not only the food I enjoy at Max’s but I also enjoy the service, which is top notch and A # 1! The wait staff are friendly, talkative and they treat you like you are a special customer! Max’s also has ice cold San Miguel Beer.

Max's Restaurant3
You don’t have to take out this wonderful treat, as you can order it in the restaurant. Max’s Fried Chicken is not KFC but rather, it is Filipino style fried chicken and I don’t think there is anyone around who can turn out this style of fried chicken better than Max’s!

More Than Just Fried Chicken!

Hands down, the fried chicken at Max’s is their specialty, however, you can also find many other Filipino favorites and also food that expats will surely enjoy!

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Pancit Luglug! This savory noodle dish is one of my all time favorites! Garnished with chicharon, boiled egg and kalamansi lime, the sauce is very delicious! You can also order Pancit Luglug with lechon, which is nice slices of roasted pork. It is fabulous!

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Max’s Chicken Burger! Now, this is an expat favorite! A fabulous chicken burger and who would not like this? A crispy fried chicken patty, tasty cheese and lettuce on the bun.

Max's San_Mig_Light_2_by_jzn515
I cannot think of a better beverage that goes with fried chicken, a chicken burger or Filipino Cuisine than a San Miguel Light! Or a San Miguel Pale Pilsen. Yes, Max’s has both available!

The next time you want to have lunch, mirenda or dinner, do yourself a favor and head out to Max’s Restaurant-The House That Fried Chicken Built. In Bacolod, Max’s Restaurant is located in the north wing of SM Mall.

Enjoy your food!

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

The Best Pizza in Bacolod: Rio Bella Pizzaria

rio bella
This is an update about Rio Bella Pizzaria, located on Lacson Extension, not far from Alijis Road. Rio Bella has the best pizza in Bacolod and this is not based solely on my opinion and the opinion of our son, who is a pizza expert. When he hears the word, PIZZA, he thinks and says, RIO BELLA!

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There are plenty of ice cold beverages at Rio Bella to wash down your pizza! Soft drinks of various brands and beer!

Rio Bella
If you have many in your party, I recommend the XXL, however, the XL is usually what we order. We like pepperoni but the new Rio Bella Meaty Overload is great for those who love meat on their pizza..and who doesn’t? Well, I know, I know, some don’t. Have no fear because you can special order your pizza at Rio Bella. You can order half meat and half veggies or you can order vegetarian pizza. It is up to you!

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The above is a slice of the XL Pepperoni Pizza.

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Only a few slices left!

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It takes 2 hands to hold a slice of the Rio Bella XL Pizza!

An American friend and his wife recently went to Rio Bella Pizzaria and he told me I was right! Rio Bella has the best pizza in Bacolod City!

We have been dining at Rio Bella and enjoying their pizza for some time now and they are always the same! Great pizza, fabulous wait staff and very friendly management. Oh, and don’t forget, ┬áice cold beer! For me pizza is not pizza without an ice cold beer!

Rio Bella is not a chain restaurant that turns out pizza with frozen dough, as it is made from scratch and all the ingredients are fresh. For me personally, the pizza dough is every bit as important as the toppings.

The next time you want an excellent pizza, check out the pizza at Rio Bella. Maybe you will see me there!

Take care and I hope to see you one day, somewhere…..all around Bacolod!

Southern Comfort

Southern Comfort
Yes, I did it again! I had a hearty Southern breakfast! However, don’t be concerned, as I don’t eat this every morning. I know, I know, I overdid it with the Dari Creme Buttermilk Butter on my grits but it has 0% trans fat. I regularly buy Dari Creme Buttermilk Butter at SM Supermarket. My personal favorite breakfast dish was prepared at home, here in Bacolod City. Yes, I know how to cook and I enjoy cooking. My wife studied Culinary Arts, so she is a fabulous chef! She has me beat in the kitchen.

Over the years, I have found that many people do not know what grits are! If you are from the Southern USA, you know what grits are. Grits are made from ground white corn and commonly made from hominy, which is alkali-treated corn. There are only two places I know where you can buy grits in Bacolod and that is Metro Supermarket and Cafe Bob’s Deli Grocers. Both stores sell Albers Grits, which are milled in Seattle, Washington, USA. I pay P250 for the large box, which is almost a full kilo in volume.

I bought the pork chop at Bahama Meat Shop on Tindalo Avenue, next door to Hua Kong Chinese Pharmacy. Bahama Meats tout raising their own organic hogs and I can taste the difference! We buy all our pork from Bahama. Their hogs are not fed antibiotics.

Eggs are very commonly purchased in Bacolod but we have one shop we buy from regularly. The egg yolk is bright orange in color and are never rubbery in texture unless you overcook them. The shop is located at Galo and Mabini Streets in Bacolod. Fabulous eggs with hard shells! I poach eggs often in a deep wok with enough water to cover the eggs and I add a little vinegar but no salt or other seasoning while cooking. Eggs Benedict is another one of my favorite breakfast foods but nowhere to buy English muffins in Bacolod any longer since Kuster’s Food Hub closed. At least no where else that I know about! If you know where to buy English muffins in Bacolod, please give me a shout!

Many forget that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but many pig out for lunch and supper but eat a light breakfast or skip it altogether. I like to start the morning out full of energy! My breakfast was a grilled pork chop with over EZ egg and grits with buttermilk butter. Wow! I am still ready to face any challenge today!

If you are a foodie, please check out my new article on Retiring to the Philippines:

http://retiringtothephilippines.com/living-in-the-philippines/banana-ketchup/

RTTP Book
Please don’t forget to check out my books on the Retiring to the Philippines Bookstore.

http://retiringtothephilippines.com/books/

Take care and please don’t skip breakfast! I hope to see you one day, somewhere, all around Bacolod!