Philippine Business That Expats May Enjoy-Part 1


Above and beyond, if you plan to operate a business in the Philippines, you must have the proper Visa, you must have all your licenses and permits in order and currently valid. It is illegally for you to do otherwise.

Starting a Business

In the Western Visayas, where commercial rent and licenses cost less than in many locations in Luzon and in Cebu-Central Visayas, a neighborhood Bar & Grill may go over well. The key to this business is sound planning and implementation on all fronts.

I cringe whenever I read and hear this business advice…If you have never operated a business before, you will fail. Come on, now! Tell me one person who was born operating a business? Everyone had to start at some point of operating their own business. There are many success stories for first time business owners but honestly, there are more failed first time business owners.

To be successful, it is about planning, location, being innovative, staff hiring & training and managing your profit and loss.


For a Bar and Grill operator. Larger Menu Variety, larger Alcohol choices and better Service are very important. More Food, More Alcohol and Top Rate Service.


Excellent Theme, Decor, Furnishings and Atmosphere of your Bar & Grill can turn your place into a small Gold Mine.

As the operator of a Bar & Grill, once up and running, you do not have to spend 16 hours every day on site. However, you must be on site at some point everyday you are open for business. You can observe problems early on and have them corrected on the spot. There will be problems.


There are not many Bar & Grills that will be successful if you depend mostly on expats to keep your doors open. Your largest Market Base is Filipinos, so you must also cater to them. These days, more and more Filipinos are enjoying Western Cuisine but you must also have Filipino Cuisine available in your Bar & Grill.

Have a daily Happy Hour. An extended Happy Hour is best, say 1pm-5pm. Have a Daily Special on Food Items and have a different Daily Special each day of the week. Switch up the Daily Special every week and do not make, for example, every Tuesday…Meat Loaf and Mashed Potatoes. It is best to rotate your Daily Special on a monthly basis. It is not difficult to come up with 30 or 31 different Daily Specials every month.


Have a number of Draft Beer selections, sold by Mugs and Pitchers. Have a good variety of bottled Imported Beers and have all the Philippine Beers available, in the bottles. Have a well stocked full service bar and trained bartenders.

I have researched operating a Bar & Grill in the Philippines for over a decade. In Bacolod, I see Bar & Grill businesses come and go. I observed the flaws that put them out of business and I observed the positives as to why some are successful. I know a number of restaurant owners in Bacolod, both expats and Filipinos. I have talked to them many times about their business. I have actually made polite suggestions to them about improving their business. Some followed it and some did not.


Never, never, never have to use these words…Sorry, Out of Stock! If supply is short and a menu item is not available that day due to lack of acquiring imported ingredients, cover up the item on the menu with a small strip of black tape. If you are running low on anything that can be quickly locally sourced, send a staff member out to buy it, even if they have to buy it from a market or supermarket at retail prices.


Your Wait Staff, Bartenders and Kitchen Staff are the ones who will make or break your Bar & Grill. Do not hire relatives unless you have the fortitude to say to them…You’re fired!


Last but not least, the name of your Bar & Grill and your logo, will attract customers or drive customers away. Be original and be unique. Gary’s Bar and Grill is not unique and it is not an attraction. Banditos Bar & Grill is a good one!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Advertisements

For Those Visiting or Living in the Philippines From UK


I fully realize that Americans are not the only expats living in the Philippines and Americans are not the only foreigners visiting the Philippines. The US State Department statistics indicate that 300,000 US citizens live in the Philippines and I would imagine many of them are Filipino-Americans, who retired to their homeland. There are SSA and VA Reps in Manila to provide services to American citizens. Now, to our UK friends.

I have never seen Marmite in Bacolod City but I buy Vegemite at Bob’s Deli. Metro Supermarket sometimes has Vegemite in stock but not all the time.

The Ploughman’s Lunch is right up my alley and it is something I enjoy eating, midday. Buttered Bread, Sliced Cheese, various Pickles and Beer. Most often, I add Cold Cuts of Meat and Boiled Eggs.


Bryan Reano, from England, was a Bacolod fixture, together with his wife, Rosalinda, selling Lumpia and Banana Turon all over the city. Their varieties of Lumpia were a big hit, which included Spicy Beef, Spicy Seafood, Chicken Curry and Hungarian Sausage. Their Turon included sliced Banana and Jam made with Mango, Jackfruit, Pineapple or Lychee. Sadly, Bryan passed away in December, 2015. He is still missed in the community, a very friendly guy with a big smile and who greatly enjoyed talking to local people.

Commercial Food From UK

Sometimes, you can hear everything but the wind blow. I was recently told that the British Silver & Plum Restaurant and Pub, located at Sorrento Plaza in Bacolod on Lacson Street, no longer promotes British Food. I have not been there lately, so I cannot confirm it. They do not open until 4pm but I plan to check them out in the near future.

When Silver & Plum first opened in 2014, their signature menu included…British Chips, English Steak, Bangers & Mash and Lamb Steak & Mash. A jar of Colman’s Original English Mustard sat on every table.

The Market Pub, located behind the New Govt Center on Circumferential Road, is an English style Pub in Bacolod. I have not been there since they first opened, so I cannot comment on their new menu, at this time.

Last Saturday, I enjoyed a great St Patrick’s Day with my family and friends in Sipalay, Negros Occidental, on the beach.

Last Week, I noticed that Cafe Bob’s Deli had about a dozen bottles of Heinz Malt Vinegar for P170 each and I picked up another bottle for my stock.Always great on Fish & Chips. I go to Bob’s Deli 2 X most weeks to look around at new arrivals, to buy a few things and to drink a Negros Pale Ale..or 2.


A good Deli in various locations in the Philippines, with a grocery section of imported food products, is a good place to check for Malt Vinegar and other hard to find imported food products. Bob’s Deli usually has Heinz Beanz in stock.

I worked with several teaching colleagues in China, who were from England, and I learned a few new things about Food. Heinz Beanz on Toast is one, which I enjoy. You gotta use the Heinz Beans sold in UK and not the local Pork n’ Beans because it is not near as good. It is not good at all to me. I stick with Heinz Beanz, which are sold in the UK.


Another tip I learned is the Chip Butty. For my American readers and others, it is basically a French Fries Sandwich, on Buttered Bread. I like Malt Vinegar on the Chip Butty I make, which is so EZ to make. Ketchup and HP Sauce on the Chip Butty are also good, as I have tried both and both are available in my area of the Philippines.

Colman’s Original Mustard from UK is available at Bob’s Deli, Beer and Ale from UK are available in cities around the Philippines, including in Bacolod City. In the Supermarkets, you can buy Cream Dory Fish Fillets, which make very good Fish & Chips.


I am not from the UK but it is my Heritage, Ireland, which I am proud to say. Guinness Stout and Jameson Irish Whiskey are available in Bacolod City.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Sipalay Revisited


We spent the weekend in Sipalay, Negros Occidental, leaving out Saturday morning around 415am in our Isuzu MU-X. It is about a 3 1/2 hour drive by private vehicle and it is approximately 165 km from Bacolod to Sipalay. Once you get to Kabankanlan, you are about halfway to Sipalay.

For a lack of a better place, we stopped at Jollebee in Kabankalan for breakfast at 6am. I ordered the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Pancake Sandwich, similar to an Egg McMuffin, and it was much better than I thought it would be.

This is our second trip to Sipalay during the past two years, so we are somewhat familiar with the city, which is a small city indeed.


The Jamont Hotel is the best place to lodge in Sipalay, if you want a good hotel. The room we rented, to sleep 4 people, was P1,800 per night. Across a small street from the Jamont Hotel is a beach and swimming is allowed. In 2016, we grilled on that beach one evening but we were told this year that grilling on the beach is now prohibited. Sipalay is known for their excellent Fish and we were looking forward to grilling Fish on the beach for supper that evening. I had also brought along Johnsonville Smoked Brats and Swiss-German-Hungarian Debreziner Sausage for grilling.

The Jamont Hotel, at least in the room where we stayed during both trips, has kicking air con, which actually gets the room cold! Cignal Satellite TV is available, the shower is hot with strong water pressure and there is a large swimming pool for hotel guests. The Veranda is the in house restaurant at The Jamont Hotel but they are not open 24 hours, so I am suggesting ordering no later than 9pm or plan on dining out elsewhere, some place along the actual touristic beach area.

We were allowed to check in the hotel at 9am on Saturday and check out was 12pm on Sunday.

The actual tourist area of the beach near the Jamont Hotel is within about a 2 block walk from the hotel. Impossible to miss.

Best Food

For foreigners, the best restaurant you will find is in that particular beach area and The Mixed Food Restaurant is the place to go. You cannot miss it, as there is a scaled down bamboo structure of the Eiffel Tower out front. The food is French Fusion, the food is great with small prices. They have cold Beer as well. This was our 2nd time to dine at Mixed Food Restaurant, which is operated by a French guy and his wife, both of whom are very friendly. We enjoyed the food we ordered both experiences.

Most every Friday and Saturday night, a live band performs across the road from The Mixed Food Restaurant, on the beach.

Let The Music Play

The touristic beach area was jumping with live music when we went for supper around 930pm on Saturday. We chose a BBQ restaurant, JJ’s Bacolod Chicken Inasal Restaurant and the owners are from Bacolod City. Super nice folks, to say the least. We told them that we are from Bacolod. The Grill Master gladly grilled my Debreziner Sausages, as the other 3 in our group ordered their food for grilling. Chicken and Squid with Rice and Drinks. Beer is ice cold and P50 per bottle. Pilsen, San Mig Light, San Miguel Apple Beer and Red Horse.

The Fish Market, located in the area of the Public Market, is a great place to buy Fish for taking home to prepare. Of course, we had an ice chest with us. We bought a good size whole Tuna for P330 last Sunday morning at The Fish Market.

There are several Diving Resorts in Sipalay, Boat Rentals and Boat Tours. Sugar Beach seems to be a popular spot but not for us! In 2016, the owner of a Sugar Beach Resort, a German National, met me outside his restaurant with lodging and told me very frankly…my place is not for Filipinos! That year, there were 42 in our group, 41 Filipinos and me!

After leaving that Resort, we walked a short distance, all 42 of us, and went to Big Bamboo Beach Resort. The owner, from the Middle East, does not have restrictions on Filipinos, and how could he..legally? The Manager of Big Bamboo welcomed us…very happily. How many establishments have 42 people drop in for lunch and for drinks? In one group?

This trip, we did not go to Sugar Beach. We had plenty of fun with it.

We had planned singing karaoke during our first night in Sipalay, however, we decided to take in the band that performed on the beach. They were very good and they had a small horn section included. They performed a number of Bob Marley and other Reggae songs, together with other pop songs. All in English.


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 ~

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 ~

What Do You Miss in the Philippines?


While living in the Philippines, there is not much that I miss from the Southern USA. For the most part, items I cannot actually store buy, I can make at home.


If imported Grits are not available, I can buy White Corn and take it to the grinder to run it through several times to get the texture I like to make Grits. Imported Grits are not available year round in Bacolod and I have not seen the boxed Albers Grits in more than one full year.


Moon Pies! I have not had a Moon Pie in 17 years. Unless S&R in Iloilo sells Moon Pies, I doubt I will ever eat one in our area of the Philippines.


Slim Jim is another product I would enjoy but I have never seen them in the Visayan areas of Philippines where I have been.

Licorice is not available year round in our area.


On the social scene, I do miss going to a Honky Tonk with a live C&W Band and seeing Stetsons, Tony Lama Boots and the Honky Tonk Angels/Redneck Cowgirls with their names on the back of their belts, waiting to be asked to cut a rug out on the dance floor. However, I know those days are long gone and my Dance Card has done been punched.


I am not complaining because, overall, there is very little that I miss from the South, which I cannot get or see in the Bacolod Area. I see many similarities here compared to where I am from. There are many Filipinos here who love God, Family, Country and Flag. Many Filipinos still respect the elderly, they are friendly and neighborly. The Filipino Hospitality is much like Southern Hospitality.

I do not remember ever encountering many people in the Southern USA who are so unhappy, mean and ornery like I have met among the expat crowd in Bacolod. There are some nice expats here but there are also a number of crabby, grumpy, grouchy, ill-tempered and down right vicious expats in the City of Smiles. That is why I avoid most of them. Over time, even some of the expats I thought were nice could only put up a front for so long and out came their real characters and personalities.

Overall, I am certainly blessed and who could not love living among wonderful Filipinos in the City of Smiles?

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

What’s For Breakfast?


I have read all the medical reports about how important the first meal of the day is…for years. For me, the first meal of the day is not usually Breakfast any longer but it is usually Brunch.

Cooking for one person is not fun for me, although I do at times. Only for me.

If I have leftover Pizza or Chili on hand, I will eat one or the other for Brunch. However, I do not have leftover Pizza or Chili on hand everyday.

Cooking Oatmeal or Poaching an Egg to eat on toast is a snap for me but I often do not want to. So, I constantly look online for the good Brunch Recipes. I also take a stroll down Memory Lane and think about what I ate for the first meal of the day when I was growing up. Usually somewhere in the Southern USA.

Many Brunch and Breakfast Choices

Pascual branded Greek Yogurt is available in our area and I can buy it by the case at the distributor, Asia Brewery. Greek Yogurt, Chickpeas and Feta Cheese is a recommended Mediterranean Breakfast or Brunch.

An Over EZ Egg Sandwich on an English Muffin or on your choice of Bread, with Cheese and Mushrooms is another suggestion.

Scrambled Eggs with Tofu and Curry Sauce does not float my boat! No, I will pass on that suggestion.

Avocado, Tomato and Cheese Platter for Brunch is something I can get into.

Hash Browns with Refried Beans and Egg of choice sounds good to me!

I like Steel Cut Oats and I like Rolled Oats but I do not want to eat those everyday over the long haul. Most of the Quaker Oats I see in our area are overloaded with Sugar. No thanks for me.

A couple of days ago, I had a Cheese Omelet on a split Croissant. It hit the spot!


In South Carolina, I had Deep Fried Catfish with Grits and Cornbread, Toast or a Biscuit more times than once. Always good and I wish I could eat it on Saturday! Also She Crab and Grits.

I like Eggs Benedict and I make it but I leave off the Hollandaise Sauce. Purists may not like it but I am the one eating the Eggs Benedict and they can prepare it the way they like it.

Dried Fish with Rice, Instant Noodles, Rice with Corned Beef/Beef Tapa/Tocino/Longaniza/Hot Dog and Fried Egg remain popular among Filipinos in our area for their first meal of the day. Do not forget the Coffee! I also eat those, often referred to as Tapsilog in the Visayas to cover all, other than just Tapa.


I enjoy Lugaw and my wife makes great Lugaw. Yellow Rice with Boiled Eggs made into a Porridge or she will leave off the Boiled Eggs and add Shredded Chicken Meat. Both are good but my wife knows I never, never, eat Eggs and Chicken together.

Pan de sal with Peanut Butter is a local Breakfast that I enjoy. A Southern version would be Cornbread with Honey or Table Syrup…and Butter. What about Cornbread Apple Fritters?

I like the purple colored Salted Duck Egg with Sliced Tomato but my wife advised me not to eat this as the first meal of the day. I asked her why not and she just told me..It is not good for you!

I never had the Elvis Special, Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich, deep fried after being dipped in butter. Or so the story goes, as I never had breakfast with Elvis!

I think Southern Cuisine has some of the best Breakfast and Brunch dishes, at least that I enjoy. I will eat Sausage Gravy over Biscuits even at supper time. I also enjoy Grits any time of the day or night. There is also Bacon Gravy over Biscuits.


If I have Biscuits, I will have a good Brunch or Breakfast or for any meal. The Dixie Special is a large Cathead Biscuit with Ham, Sausage Patty, Bacon, Scrambled Egg, Sliced Tomato and plain White Gravy. Now, we’re talking!

Whatta bout Ham Steak with Red Eye Gravy, Biscuits and Fried Apples?

Of course, Waffles, Pancakes and Johnny Cakes, aka Hoecakes, are good to me. The Native Americans in Florida had Fry Bread available, Corn as well, often with Gator Tail, Turtle, Raccoon, Bobcat, Deer or Otter.

Have a great Breakfast or Brunch!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Sardines


Yes, it is bad news for those living on a limited or daily income, concerning price increases. Many people in the Philippines depend upon the lower prices of canned Fish and Instant Noodles. Just to eat every day!

The DTI, Dept of Trade and Industry, has a website for price checking of basic and prime commodities in the Philippines but their website is not working properly for going on two weeks now.

Canned Fish, such as Sardines, Mackerel and Tuna are considered as Basic Necessities by DTI and they are supposedly keeping check on their retail pricing. To prevent Gouging.

Sardines Are Healthy

I buy canned Sardines and always have 3 or 4 cans on hand. I do not keep a mental note of the exact price of Mega, 555, Ligo, Saba, Capitan del Mar, Family’s Brand, Young’s Town, Master brands of Sardines but I know they are usually P11-P15 per can. Depending upon the brand.

I do not buy Sardines every week but I replace the stock I have on hand, as needed. I prefer buying Victorias Spanish Sardines, which are canned in Victorias City, Negros Occidental, Saba Sardines Adobo, Mikado Sardines and imported Portuguese Sardines. Among the local favorites, I buy both Mega and Ligo Sardines in Tomato Sauce.


When I was growing up, my Dad was a US Navy Officer, a real US Navy Officer, who lived, breathed, ate and slept the World’s Greatest Navy. However, my parents, my brother and I enjoyed eating Sardines on Saltine Crackers with Louisiana Hot Sauce. Thankfully, that was not our main meal of the day.

Inflation and the Sardine War

Sardines Premium Brands are not cheap in America these days. Certainly not as in years past. Crown Prince Sardines in Oil are now selling for $1.85 per can. Best I recall, Crown Prince Sardines were a product of Scotland.

Bumble Bee Sardines in water, canned in Poland, are about the cheapest in America at 89 cents per can. Walmart sells Brunswick Sardines for 96 cents per can.

King Oscar Sardines, sold in America, were also great Sardines, Product of Norway.


A brand of Sardines that I am familiar with in the Southern USA, is Possum Sardines. Those were great! Sadly, the long arm of the FEDS stepped in and put Possum Sardines out of business. According to News Reports. Possum Sardines owned their signature brand, as well as Admiral, Neptune, Bull Frog, Port Clyde and Admiral Sardines. They were the largest supplier of Sardines and when they tried to buy Bumble Bee Sardines, that is when the FEDS stepped in. Proving Possum Sardines was guilty under the RICO Act was over the top and a stretch of the imagination but they were found guilty of…Monopolizing Sardines! Wow, whatta crime!

With the death of Possum Sardines, Brunswick Sardines became most popular in the Southern USA. I also bought Brunswick Sardines when I was still in Alabama and Florida. I liked the Brunswick Sardines packed in Mustard Sauce and Brunswick Sardines packed in Louisiana Hot Sauce. However, Brunswick Sardines are a Canadian Company and not a Brunswick, Georgia Company.


The export version of the Philippines branded Ligo Sardines is internationally recognized as Quality Sardines. Ligo recently landed on a Top 10 List of the World’s Best Sardines in one write up.


After writing this article, I am about to have Mega Sardines on Sky Flake Crackers with Louisiana Hot Sauce.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Adjusting to Life in the Philippines


There are indeed adjustments to be made to Life in the Philippines. Depending upon location and personal attitudes, it may not be a walk in the park for some expats. The transition was EZ for me. A number of expats from the Southern USA are taken back to another time in America, as there is a correlation of the laid back Southern lifestyle, as is still found in some areas of the Philippines today.

After being away for so many years and living abroad, even some returning Filipinos cannot make the transition to living here year round. They like to visit for a few months each year but they do not want to really live here full time.

I can honestly say that over the past 31 years of my experience of living in the Philippines 3 times and visiting annually, many foreigners made the adjustment. Among those who I have come to know and some, even befriended. The main reason they made the adjustment is because they wanted to. They realized that the Philippines is not back home. The Philippines as a whole is not trying to be like any other location around the world.

What You See Is What You Get

It is what it is. Like it or not and take it or leave it. Bacolod is not ever going to be Florida and I do not expect it to. I have long accepted the Philippines as it is. It is not Loxahatchee, Apalachicola, the Everglades, Sopchoppy, Cedar Key, Live Oak, Ft Walton Beach, Orlando or Miami Beach.

The last year, after the 2016 Philippines Presidential Election, has been much different than any time I have been here since 1986. Much different! A different Admin, a different Agenda and a different Direction.

And then there are the laws. Some foreigners think they can say or do anything here and the law is the same as in the USA or as in other home countries. Foreigners living in the Philippines are living under all the Philippine Laws. Freedom of Speech only goes so far. Libel and Slander are Crimes in the Philippines and not just Civil Offenses.

There are also Filipino Cultural Taboos, which a number of expats do not know about, while others are not interested in knowing about!

The Food Issue


I think for the most part, the expat food issue has been solved in the adjustment, especially for those living in mid-size and large cities. During the last 5 years, more and more food items that I enjoy have arrived in Bacolod and are readily available much of the year. Not all but many. Some food items turn up, are then sold out, never to appear again.

There are probably a few food items that I have forgotten about but if I do not think about them, then I do not want them or need them. I had not forgotten about Johnsonville Italian Sausage and it is now available at Cafe Bob’s Deli. I did not buy all their stock but I bought 2 packages. Silva Linguica Portuguese Sausage also returned to Bob’s.

That’s What Friends Are For

I think your life will be much more rewarding in the Philippines when you have good Filipino friends. I know someone in our area of the Philippines who can help me with anything that arises. Anything! Problems, bumps in the roads, inconveniences, trouble on the rise, can all be nipped in the bud if you have a good network of Filipino friends. I have found if they don’t know what to do to assist, they know someone who does. A friend of a friend of a friend or a relative. Maybe even a friend of a relative.

The Philippines is a great place with beautiful people. Whether you are planning to move here to live or not, I hope you will at least visit the Philippines one day. I think you will be glad that you did.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~