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 ~

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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 ~

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 ~

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 ~

 

 

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 ~

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 ~

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 ~