Cinco de Mayo

 


I do not know about in other areas but In Manila, Bacolod and in Cebu, you will find a number of restaurants and bars with Cinco de Mayo, May 5, Drink and Food Specials.

Some places worth checking out, if you are into Cinco de Mayo & Mexican Food and Drinks, include The Ruins, Manila Hotel, Taco Vengo, Alegria Cozinha and Agave Mexican Cantina, all located in Metro Manila.

In Bacolod, the best place for Cinco de Mayo, in a resto bar, will be at Mexicali in SM Mall. However, the best place for Cinco de Mayo in Bacolod will be at Gary’s El Rayo X Cantina; in my home with familia, amigos and amigas. Ice Cold Dos Equis Amber Cerveza, Tecate Beer, Sangria Wine, Michelada Mexican Beer and Mexican Food.


Suggested Cinco de Mayo Food. Coconut & Lime Black Beans, Enchiladas, Tacos, Burritos, Refried Beans, Nachos, Tortillas, Mango Salsa, Mexican Red Rice, Beef Tostadas, Chimichangas, Fajitas, Veracruz Fish with Fruit Salsa, Mexican Fish with Green Chili Sauce, Taco Dogs and Paella.


Any other suggestions?

There will not be any Tequila. Cerveza, Sangria Wine and Communion Wine…only.

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 ~

What to Do in the Philippines on Christmas Day

Christmas
The church service is over, you have enjoyed the midnight Noche Buena meal with your family & friends, you have slept a little and what’s next? It is Christmas Day!

Stay at home or take to the highway?

Do They Know It’s Christmas Time At All?

On Christmas Day, some in the family go to the beach and have a cookout or a picnic. Some go to the mountain, Pandanon Valley, for the same. Some head out to one of the malls, which are open. My wife and son went swimming with other moms and our son’s classmates.

I may well be the last foreigner living in Bacolod to dine at Pepe’s Restaurant. We finally made it and had Christmas Dinner there. They have a very interesting menu, including Smoked Baracuda. Pepe’s is the only restaurant in Bacolod where I have seen Anchovy Pizza on their menu and that is what I ordered. It was awesome.

I was thinking of the Smoked Barracuda but my wife said it is not good eating fish on Christmas Day. So, I didn’t.

The others in our group ordered Pepperoni Pizza, Cheeseburgers and Baby Back Ribs. We also shared a Greek Salad. All the food was great.

Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room

Some foreigners hit the bars and some bars are open on Christmas Days. Lonely guys like girls dancing on bars and girls like guys driving fast cars. Hello Bret Michaels! Cold beer and hot chicks. It beats spending time in a lonely room at home, all alone.

I have never been alone at Christmas time in the Philippines but I did spend 2 lonely Christmas Eve’s alone in Florida. One Christmas night, I went to a Chinese Resto Bar in Ft Walton Beach, Florida, ate off the Chinese buffet and sang karaoke. Before long, I had people with me, who were also apparently alone.

The younger Filipinos attend parties on Christmas Day, with their peers and friends.

I received an email about a Christmas Party held at The Brewery Bar in Taguig, Metro Manila. Christmas at 10pm.

Think of Others, Will You?

For a number of people, they can only stay home because of lack of funds to do anything special on Christmas Day. They have food to eat, something to drink and that’s enough for some. A number of others do not even have that.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to drop by a poor family with some goodies for them on Christmas Day. They will love you for it and they will never forget this Christmas. Because of you!

Even if it is a day or 2 or 3 after Christmas, you can still spread good tidings and wonderful cheer into the hearts and lives of those in need.

Christmas is not officially over in the Philippines until the Festival of the Three Kings, which is on January 3rd this year. Always the first Sunday immediately after New Year.

Let’s not ever forget Christmas. For unto us, a child was born. His name is called Wonderful, Counseller, the mighty God. The Prince of Peace.

Merry Christmas! May the Holy Ghost be with you.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Kick Up Your Noche Buena

Noche Buena2
Only 7 more days and counting down to Noche Buena. In the Philippines, the traditional Christmas dinner at midnight is the Noche Buena.

My wife still hasn’t completed the menu list, however, I added a new item to my list.

Fresh Crown Pork Roast was in the SM Meat Dept, so I bought a section. P240 per kilo. If others in the family are interested, I will go back and buy one more section. If not, I will enjoy the pork roast with homemade gravy.

I am only one among many Filipinos but I do add my own dishes to enjoy for Noche Buena. I am all for sharing but I need to know in advance if they are interested in certain items. I already know many dishes that Filipinos in my family are not too keen on.

Italian Beef Sandwiches with fried onions and deli peppers would not go over well at all. Neither will the DAK Pate de Foi with green olives on hard toast triangles. I will also leave off the Antipasto Tray.

Many, if not most, Filipinos enjoy traditional Noche Buena Food. Lechon (Roast Pig), Quezo de Bola (Cheese Ball), Ham, Pork and Chicken BBQ, Fruit Cocktail, Pinoy style Spaghetti, Macaroni Salad, Leche Flan, Sotanghon Noodle Soup, Pancit Bihon, Pancit Canton and Hamonado, which is pork or chicken cooked in pineapple juice. Of course, there are many more traditional Noche Buena Foods.

My wife prepares 2 types of Spaghetti. Filipino style and Italian style.

Christmas Chicken Curry, garnished with sliced green and red bell peppers add the Christmas colors. It is well enjoyed.

Crispy Tadyang is another big hit. First, you must boil the ribs in spice and herb water to tenderize them. Next, you roll the ribs in cornstarch and deep fry until crispy. Serve with vinegar, smashed garlic and sili peppers for dipping sauce.

Beer and Red Wine for beverages. Forget Tanduay. For something different, you could introduce Tapuey Igorot Rice Wine. It is bottled and sold commercially in finer stores. Sangria is my favorite red wine, which is a fruity wine. Tropical Wine made with bignay or duhat are also great. Federico Tropical Wine is made in our area, in Victorias City, and sold all around the Philippines.

My family and I are wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Bankarera Boat Race at Shore Fun Festival: December 19

bankarera boat race
Only 2 more days and Shore Fun begins! Are you ready? Pack up the wife, your children or your girlfriend and head to Paco Beach in Pulupandan this Saturday. You still have 2 days!

One of the exciting events at the Shore Fun Festival in Pulupandan at Paco Beach is the Bankarera Boat Race. It kicks off at 9am on December 19. The Bankarera is a smaller boat with a strong engine. Built for speed and built for sharp turns. It is always an exciting race.

Bancarera winner
Practice, practice, practice. The contestants are ready to put on a good show for you, as they zip around, breakneck, in their bankareras. It’s going to be awesome!

I hope to see you somewhere…at the Shore Fun Festival on December 19th at Paco Beach in Pulupandan.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

More Entertainment at Shore Fun Festival in Pulupandan

Pulupanan88
Bacolod City! Negros Occidental! Don’t you dare be sour. Paco Beach in Pulupandan is the place to be on December 19 for the Shore Fun Festival.

Pulupandan 10
One of the highlights of the Shore Fun Festival will be the Electric Lighting of the boats after sunset. The special effects of the lighting will be a terrific sight to see.

Pulapandan12
No, they are not looking for Shrek. No, they are not burning down the boats. Tiki torches at sunset. It’s party time!

Pulapandan2
This lovely lady is enjoying singing but she is in a hurry to get back on the water.

Pulupandan9
Bright lights will light up the beach and a fun time will be enjoyed by everyone. And you can believe that!

Don’t forget, Shore Fun Festival kicks off around 8am on Saturday, December 19. Where? You know where! Paco Beach Zone 1 in Pulupandan.

I hope to see you somewhere… at Paco Beach at the Shore Fun Festival.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

 

 

Shore Fun Festival in Pulupandan: December 19

Puudan
You are ready for Shore Fun at Paco Beach, di ba? I’ve got some good news! Mark it on your calendar and don’t forget or you will miss out. On Saturday, December 19, 2015 at Paco Beach in Pulupandan, Negros Occidental, the Shore Fun will begin at 8am. Pulapandan is about a 30 minute drive south of Bacolod City.

Pulapandan3
This is the first in a series of articles that I will be writing during the next 2 weeks, leading up to and during the Shore Fun Festival in Pulupandan.

Admission and Benefit

General Admission to the Shore Fun Festival is P50 per ticket. For the best fun, you can purchase a Benefactor’s Ticket for P1,500 each. This includes free dinner, free drinks, a therapeutic beach massage and all the beach entertainment. Now, we’re talking! Sign me up!

Beach Games

Show up around 8am on Saturday, December 19th and come ready to play! Do you like beach volleyball? If you do, you will find others ready to play. Bring your Frisbee, bring your American football. Put me in coach, I’m ready to play!

Entertainment

I think you already know, where there is a beach, there is entertainment. In the Philippines, a festival would not be a festival without music. This festival is no exception.

Pulapandan5
Singing is one of my favorite activities. Every night is a good night for singing and I am looking forward to singing during the Shore Fun Festival.

Pulupandan8
Where there are beaches, there are always beautiful ladies! You are in for a bonus treat! Who doesn’t enjoy a Beauty Pageant? The Philippines is well known worldwide for having Top 5 and Top 10 beautiful contestants in all the world famous pageants, including Miss Universe.

You will receive a free Globe SIM card for voting during the Beauty Pageant to crown the Queen of Shore Fun 2015, among the beautiful ramp models.

In my next article, I will introduce you to more information about this wonderful and exciting event in our area of Negros Occidental. Stay tuned! My next article will be in the next day or 2 with more information for you.

I would like to personally thank the Tourism Officer, Mr. Federico “Mahjie” F. Infante, Jr, for his great organization in making Shore Fun 2015 possible for our enjoyment.

I hope to see you on December 19 at the Shore Fun Festival at Paco Beach in Pulupandan!

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Kuya J

Kuya J2

Kuya J is one of the coolest restaurants in Bacolod City, The City of Smiles. Kuya J is located at SM Mall on their North Wing, just down the way from Krispy Kreme.

It is mostly serving Filipino Food but there is something for everyone. Most of us like seafood, di ba? I know I do.

Their service is great at Kuya J. Kuya means older brother for the most part in the Philippines and they are serving up some great food everyday. It is Filipino Comfort Food at its best! Their House Iced Tea is served in a type of Mason Jar and it is the best iced tea I have tried anywhere in the city. You can buy it by the pitcher.

callops
One of my all time favorite dishes is scallops. For P160 at Kuya J, you will get 10-12 scallops on the half shell. They are garnished with fried garlic chips and served in a savory melted butter sauce. Wow! They’re awesome.

If you are looking for excellent Filipino Cuisine, please check out Kuya J. I don’t think you will be disappointed. I give them 5 Stars!

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

~ Gary McMurrain ~

Thanksgiving In Bacolod 2013

Butterball Turkey
There is the prize! A 10 pound Butterball turkey and I was lucky in that I bought the last one in stock at SM Supermarket about 9 days before Thanksgiving. Super Metro received a last minute shipment of Butterball Turkeys 5 days before Thanksgiving but the cost was P280 per kilo. I had already bought our Thanksgiving turkey and the cost was P247 per kilo.

Lechon Turkey

Lechon Turkey

This was our 5th Thanksgiving in the Bacolod Area and in 2009, I hit on the idea of preparing our turkey lechon style, the famous Philippines style of cooking pork and chicken. It was a big hit with everyone, so this has become our tradition when having a turkey for Thanksgiving. The turkey is stuffed with lemongrass and garlic, a spice and herb rub is applied to the skin, a basting sauce of brown sugar, lime juice and soy sauce is made, the turkey is put on a bamboo pole and roasted over hot coals. Fabulous!

Annual Fiesta

While Thanksgiving is not an official holiday in the Philippines, it has become an annual fiesta at our home in Bacolod! Friends and family are already looking forward to Thanksgiving 2014. Yes, Thanksgiving is alive and kicking in the Bacolod Area!

Carving the turkey
One of our good friends is carving the turkey!

Turkey Leg Quarter
A crispy turkey leg quarter. The skin of lechon turkey is very crispy, while the inside is tender and juicy. Fantastic!

Gersen
Thanksgiving Fiesta! Our friend is really into that turkey leg. What’s left of  it, anyway. Actually, he was clowning around for the camera. Nice pose, don’t ya think?

Corn
Thanksgiving is never complete without fresh corn.

Pineapple Pie
Don’t forget the pie! Rather than pumpkin pie or apple pie, we had pineapple pie and it was awesome.

Once you are in the Philippines, you can celebrate Thanksgiving or any holiday you wish, as the ingredients are available to prepare almost anything you enjoy.

Please do not forget to check out Retiring to the Philippines. There are several new articles waiting for you to read and enjoy. If you have questions about the Philippines, you can ask on our forum, and receive the most up to date information about the Philippines. The links for quick access are listed below.

I hope to see you soon..somewhere All Around Bacolod!

~ Gary ~

http://retiringtothephilippines.com/

http://forums.retiringtothephilippines.com/

 

The Mercury Is Rising!

maskara
It’s about to happen! One of the biggest Festivals in the entire Philippines is about to explode in full tilt boogie beginning on October 1. Since 1980, the MassKara Festival has been an annual event in the City of Smiles, Bacolod City, and every hotel room in the city will be booked for 3 solid weeks. That is how big this festival is! It is a combination of Mardi Gras and Carnival, only without the public nudity, and people from all over the world will come to Bacolod City for the three week party.

Are you ready to get your groove on and get your mojo working? Get ready because it is all happening October 1-20, 2013. One of the great parts of the MassKara Festival is that every mask wears a smile, just like the people in Bacolod, who live up their their reputation of being the City of Smiles. Festival events are scheduled all over the city on any given day and there is something for everyone!

MassKara Festival Legend

Bacolod City has long been the hub of the Sugar Bowl of the Philippines, where sugarcane is King and is grown all over the province. Sugarcane made many people rich but around 1980, the world sugar market crashed and the good times in Negros Occidental soon became hard times. The provincial economy was in crisis. The people of Bacolod and Negros Occidental were still reeling from the sinking of the ship, MV Don Juan, taking the lives of more than 700 people. Aboard the ship were members of the more prominent families in Bacolod and in Negros Occidental. It was a terrible tragedy.

The first MassKara Festival was organized in 1980 with the intentions of brightening the dreary mood of the people, which surrounded the city and province like a mist. The people needed to be revitalized, energized and reminded that no matter how bad things appear, they can overcome the hardships facing them. The idea of the MassKara Festival was an innovation that has lasted for decades and it will continue onward in the hearts and lives of the people, as this annual event grows more elaborate each year.

The Main Events

The vibrant and pulsating celebration of the MassKara Festival is far reaching and involves many aspects of the community. There are job fairs, trade days, occupation recognitions and seminars, golf tournaments, other various sporting events and competitions and celebration of the actual Charter Day of the City of Bacolod. The Philippine national soccer team, the Azkals, will be playing a game at Panaad Stadium. There will be medical and dental missions in the city for those who cannot afford health care. There are also religious and praise services held everyday.

Entertainment during the MassKara Festival rocks the entire city! On a smaller scale, there are karaoke singing contests, cooking competitions and art exhibitions. On a major scale, everyone is getting ready to party down at the street dancing competition and exhibitions, the battle of the bands, the light shows, fireworks displays, the beauty pageants, mask and costume competitions and special appearances by some of the most famous Philippine entertainment stars of music, TV and cinema.

Once the festival ends and all the cleaning up is finished, guess what? The very next day, the organizers and planners of the MassKara Festival begin making preparations for next year’s festival! It is a year round affair. MassKara Festival 2013 will be my 5th one since my family and I moved here in 2009. No doubt, this year’s festival will be as refreshing as that first one I attended years ago!

If you are in the Philippines in October, the MassKara Festival in Bacolod City is one event you will not want to miss! Even if you can only attend one day of the events, you should try to be here.

It’s about to happen! One of the biggest Festivals in the entire Philippines is about to explode in full tilt boogie beginning on October 1. Since 1980, the MassKara Festival has been an annual event in the City of Smiles, Bacolod City, and every hotel room in the city will be booked for 3 solid weeks. That is how big this festival is! It is a combination of Mardi Gras and Carnival, only without the public nudity, and people from all over the world will come to Bacolod City for the three week party. Are you ready to get your groove on and get your mojo working? Get ready because it is all happening October 1-20, 2013. One of the great parts of the MassKara Festival is that every mask wears a smile, just like the people in Bacolod, who live up their their reputation of being the City of Smiles. Festival events are scheduled all over the city on any given day and there is something for everyone! MassKara Festival Legend Bacolod City has long been the hub of the Sugar Bowl of the Philippines, where sugarcane is King and is grown all over the province. Sugarcane made many people rich but around 1980, the world sugar market crashed and the good times in Negros Occidental soon became hard times. The provincial economy was in crisis. The people of Bacolod and Negros Occidental were still reeling from the sinking of the ship, MV Don Juan, taking the lives of more than 700 people. Aboard the ship were members of the more prominent families in Bacolod and in Negros Occidental. It was a terrible tragedy. The first MassKara Festival was organized in 1980 with the intentions of brightening the dreary mood of the people, which surrounded the city and province like a mist. The people needed to be revitalized, energized and reminded that no matter how bad things appear, they can overcome the hardships facing them. The idea of the MassKara Festival was an innovation that has lasted for decades and it will continue onward in the hearts and lives of the people, as this annual event grows more elaborate each year. The Main Events The vibrant and pulsating celebration of the MassKara Festival is far reaching and involves many aspects of the community. There are job fairs, trade days, occupation recognitions and seminars, golf tournaments, other various sporting events and competitions and celebration of the actual Charter Day of the City of Bacolod. The Philippine national soccer team, the Azkals, will be playing a game at Panaad Stadium. There will be medical and dental missions in the city for those who cannot afford health care. There are also religious and praise services held everyday. Entertainment during the MassKara Festival rocks the entire city! On a smaller scale, there are karaoke singing contests, cooking competitions and art exhibitions. On a major scale, everyone is getting ready to party down at the street dancing competition and exhibitions, the battle of the bands, the light shows, fireworks displays, the beauty pageants, mask and costume competitions and special appearances by some of the most famous Philippine entertainment stars of music, TV and cinema. Once the festival ends and all the cleaning up is finished, guess what? The very next day, the organizers and planners of the MassKara Festival begin making preparations for next year’s festival! It is a year round affair. MassKara Festival 2013 will be my 5th one since my family and I moved here in 2009. No doubt, this year’s festival will be as refreshing as that first one I attended years ago! If you are in the Philippines in October, the MassKara Festival in Bacolod City is one event you will not want to miss! Even if you can only attend one day of the events, you should try to be here.Read more at: http://retiringtothephilippines.com/entertainment/mercury-rising/ | Retiring to the Philippines

It’s about to happen! One of the biggest Festivals in the entire Philippines is about to explode in full tilt boogie beginning on October 1. Since 1980, the MassKara Festival has been an annual event in the City of Smiles, Bacolod City, and every hotel room in the city will be booked for 3 solid weeks. That is how big this festival is! It is a combination of Mardi Gras and Carnival, only without the public nudity, and people from all over the world will come to Bacolod City for the three week party. Are you ready to get your groove on and get your mojo working? Get ready because it is all happening October 1-20, 2013. One of the great parts of the MassKara Festival is that every mask wears a smile, just like the people in Bacolod, who live up their their reputation of being the City of Smiles. Festival events are scheduled all over the city on any given day and there is something for everyone! MassKara Festival Legend Bacolod City has long been the hub of the Sugar Bowl of the Philippines, where sugarcane is King and is grown all over the province. Sugarcane made many people rich but around 1980, the world sugar market crashed and the good times in Negros Occidental soon became hard times. The provincial economy was in crisis. The people of Bacolod and Negros Occidental were still reeling from the sinking of the ship, MV Don Juan, taking the lives of more than 700 people. Aboard the ship were members of the more prominent families in Bacolod and in Negros Occidental. It was a terrible tragedy.Read more at: http://retiringtothephilippines.com/entertainment/mercury-rising/ | Retiring to the Philippines

It’s about to happen! One of the biggest Festivals in the entire Philippines is about to explode in full tilt boogie beginning on October 1. Since 1980, the MassKara Festival has been an annual event in the City of Smiles, Bacolod City, and every hotel room in the city will be booked for 3 solid weeks. That is how big this festival is! It is a combination of Mardi Gras and Carnival, only without the public nudity, and people from all over the world will come to Bacolod City for the three week party. Are you ready to get your groove on and get your mojo working? Get ready because it is all happening October 1-20, 2013. One of the great parts of the MassKara Festival is that every mask wears a smile, just like the people in Bacolod, who live up their their reputation of being the City of Smiles. Festival events are scheduled all over the city on any given day and there is something for everyone!Read more at: http://retiringtothephilippines.com/entertainment/mercury-rising/ | Retiring to the Philippines

It’s about to happen! One of the biggest Festivals in the entire Philippines is about to explode in full tilt boogie beginning on October 1. Since 1980, the MassKara Festival has been an annual event in the City of Smiles, Bacolod City, and every hotel room in the city will be booked for 3 solid weeks. That is how big this festival is! It is a combination of Mardi Gras and Carnival, only without the public nudity, and people from all over the world will come to Bacolod City for the three week party. Are you ready to get your groove on and get your mojo working? Get ready because it is all happening October 1-20, 2013. One of the great parts of the MassKara Festival is that every mask wears a smile, just like the people in Bacolod, who live up their their reputation of being the City of Smiles. Festival events are scheduled all over the city on any given day and there is something for everyone!Read more at: http://retiringtothephilippines.com/entertainment/mercury-rising/ | Retiring to the Philippines

It’s about to happen! One of the biggest Festivals in the entire Philippines is about to explode in full tilt boogie beginning on October 1. Since 1980, the MassKara Festival has been an annual event in the City of Smiles, Bacolod City, and every hotel room in the city will be booked for 3 solid weeks. That is how big this festival is! It is a combination of Mardi Gras and Carnival, only without the public nudity, and people from all over the world will come to Bacolod City for the three week party. Are you ready to get your groove on and get your mojo working? Get ready because it is all happening October 1-20, 2013. One of the great parts of the MassKara Festival is that every mask wears a smile, just like the people in Bacolod, who live up their their reputation of being the City of Smiles. Festival events are scheduled all over the city on any given day and there is something for everyone!Read more at: http://retiringtothephilippines.com/entertainment/mercury-rising/ | Retiring to the Philippines