Pork Chops at Olimba


Yesterday, I dropped by Olimba Resto Grill on Lopez Jaena Street, Barangay 31, in Bacolod City. If you are looking for good Native Food, a place to spend the night in a Pension House, a place to receive a Wellness Therapeutic Massage and a place to sing Karaoke, I can tell you the place to go. Olimba! It is also a Coffee Shop and they are open 24/7.

Cold Beer


For sure, you can order San Miguel Light or Red Horse Beer at Olimba.

Great People and Great Service

I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of Olimba, Cherry, and several of her family members. They are all very friendly and they will treat you nicely. The price is the same, for one and all, as no higher price for foreigners.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod. Maybe it will be at Olimba?

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

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Bacolod Jazz Fest 2017

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I send this out to all you folks in Bacolod City, the City of Smiles, and to all you folks in Negros Occidental. Some of you expats are mean little bastardos but we can’t do without you! Also to those of you who may be visiting soon, I have something for ya.

The annual Bacolod Jazz Fest will be at the L’ Fisher Hotel La Proa Grand Ball Room on Friday, February 17th, with warm up jam session beginning at 6pm. Tickets are now on sale at the hotel and they are selling quickly.

Anders Paulsson, recognized as one of the world’s best saxophonists today, is the headliner. Kat Agarrado and her band, Manila Blues Experience, will also be one of the headliners. Working Stiff, Manila’s Premier Jazz Fusion Band will perform, as will AMP Nonet.

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Classical Jazz, New Age Jazz, Latino Jazz, Reggae Jazz, Fusion Jazz and All That Jazz will be featured by a number of Jazz Stylists. Get ready, it’s gonna be Awesome!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

It’s My Life: Philippines

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I really do not have any major regrets in my lifetime. I experienced disappoints, had a few heartbreaks when I was younger, made some mistakes along the way but I would not want to go back and do anything differently. I would not be willing trading all the blessings in my life that I have experienced to try to re-plan my life on my own. Everything has worked out for almost 62 years and will continue on that path.

God Has Made a Way

I am not religious but I am a Born Again Christian. Since 1972, I have been on a Purpose Driven Life, with Faith in my Divine Life Plan. When I look back on the disappointments, the few heartbreaks and the mistakes, I realize those were all stepping stones to get me to the right place in Life, where I am destined to be. At that very moment in time. Otherwise, I would have missed the boat or missed my last flight out of Miami. Many times, we have to be at the right place at the right time. If we are not, it can often be a life changing event, which influences our future greatly.

That is the way I see my personal life since 1972. Before that, my parents directed my life and made most of the decisions for me. They did not do badly, either!

My Philippines Connection

I would not trade my life in the Philippines over the past 30 years for all the tea in China or for silver and gold. My experiences are priceless. From Luzon, to Negros Occidental, to Panay Island to Cebu, I’ve had a wonderful life in the Philippines. Yes, I love this life!

Everyday, I engage in discussions about the Philippines on LivinginthePhilippines3 Yahoo Group and in person. Please feel free to join us and post questions about the Philippines. Join us in our daily, lively discussions about this wonderful country with beautiful people.

I think I have several more decades in life and I look forward to seeing what God is going to do for me.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

A Filipino Way of Life

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Last weekend, we headed south about 25 km from Bacolod. One of my brothers in law had contacted us about fresh live sea crabs for P250 per kilo. He helps his girlfriend operate her restaurant in a fisher folk village. They buy their seafood direct from fishermen. A number of people go to the restaurant because it has a good view of the sea and Guimaras Island, which looks like a large crocodile in the distance. They also have some of the cheapest prices for ice cold beer.

We left home in Bacolod around 1pm. When we arrived at the fishing village, the fisherman was just going out to check his crab nets in his motor boat. I got a cold one and watched the fisherman from a distance. He went out in his boat about 1 1/2 km and he began checking 8 or 10 crab nets he has. It took him a couple of hours to get his catch of crabs and re-bait his nets.

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Several children were playing a game in the sand, using the larger bottle tops from soft drinks, placed in a drawn square in the sand with a stick, and smaller crowns from beer and soft drink bottles. Each larger bottle top children were able to hit, after throwing their crowns at them was theirs. At the end of the game, whoever had collected the most large bottle tops was the winner.

I also watched our son playing tag with two girls on the beach. They ran around for about an hour. One girl is about our son’s age and the other one was about 6 years old but she could run fast! We had to ask them to take a break long enough to drink bottled water. They were having a blast!

When the fisherman returned to shore, a number of children ran up to his boat to see what he had. A number of adults also walked out to take a look. He had a mess of crabs!

There were 6 of us and my wife boiled the crabs in the restaurant kitchen. She used the Zatarain’s Crab Boil that I took along. Everyone compliment the flavor of the craps that was enhanced by Zatarain’s, which is a little spicy. I had fresh boiled sweet corn with the crabs and others had rice, of course. I had forgotten to bring the Sweet Chili Sauce but the crabs were still very good. Others used coconut vinegar as dipping sauce for the crabs.

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I really enjoy going to the fishing village on Sunday afternoons and we go as often as we can. My wife, our son and our best friend Randy also enjoy it. Randy has to drive back to Bacolod because it is usually dark when we return home. I do not drive at night.

We are friends with a number of people who live in and around the fishing village. I enjoy the atmosphere very much. Cool sea breeze and watching life going on with the Filipinos who live there. It is about as laid back as it comes! The people do not complain about anything and they are really happy every time we see them. They do not create cares or create worries that do not exist or fret over things they can never change. They have the wisdom to know the difference!

The people in the fishing village eat from the sea, they have free range chickens and there is always rice. There are a number of cashew trees right there in the village and many more coconut trees. The children do not spend hours with electronic gadgets but they know how to really play together. They create their own games. In my opinion, the people, young/old/middle age know how to really live and be happy. Their happiness is contagious to those who can really see and who are open minded. I already know this and I have for years. I only wish more expats and visiting foreigners can experience it.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Filipinas in the Philippines

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The days of so called mail order brides have long been over. You can forget about that and I never liked that term, as it is degrading to women in the Philippines. Most women in the Philippines have never been for sale and I know. I have 30 years experience in the Philippines.

Women in the Philippines should not be viewed as being your slave, your servant or someone who will do everything you tell them. This is not reality and it is against the law. Abuse of Human Rights is a crime.

The Times, They Are a Changing

Many of the younger women in the Philippines cities are not the same as my Filipina friends when I first lived in the Philippines in 1986. They are not the same as when I lived here in 2000 and they are not the same as when I visited every year in the 1990s and leading up to when we moved here in 2009. I have seen a big change during the last 7 years. What the old GIs tell you about women in the Philippines is not true today. Times have changed and so have many women. Raise your hands and praise the women!

For one, we see more younger women in the Philippines with colored blonde, brown or red hair. Have seen several with green, purple, blue or pink colored hair! We see many more tattoos on younger women. We also see many more younger women drinking Red Horse or San Mig Light in public. We see many more younger women here smoking in public. We can say, this is progressive!

There are many call centers in Bacolod City, which is a mid-size city. It seems many younger women and men, in our area, head to the resto bars once they get off work in the morning hours.

I am not condemning anyone, however, I am relating what I see in our area. Also in Cebu City. Not just isolated incidents but most all the time. The older women in the Philippines, those age 30 and above, seem to be more Conservative. At least in public. You cannot paint all women in the Philippines with the same brush.

Social Changes

As I related, many of the younger Filipinas are undergoing social changes.

I will not stereotype all women in the Philippines but there is a generalization, which is true for many, age 30 and above. Maybe for some still in their 20s as well, depending on their location in the islands and their life experiences. This is about the Virtues and Values of most women in the Philippines and their role in Filipino Culture.

I think many foreign men have problems with a Filipina wife because they want to force their Culture upon them and they are not willing to embrace their wife’s Culture as well. It has to be a 2 way street, in my opinion, and this has worked for my wife and I. Compromise, give and take. Your way or the highway does not work in the Philippines. Once you are in the Philippines, you are in your wife’s country!

Regardless of the the Macho Man images among men, women run the family unit and control the finances. I fully accept this and my wife really does well with it all. Yes, my wife is from the Philippines. The family is the main unit in the community and the woman ultimately holds the power, even if behind the scenes. They have considerable authority. The Authority always wins! Like Southern Women and I am from the South, Sweet Home Alabama, Filipinas usually get their way. However, there is a greater equality among men and women in the Philippines in the work force and in politics than in most Asian countries.

Annulment and divorce are seen by many as destructive to the family and this is why it is not so easy in the Philippines to get an annulment and divorce does not exist.

Unlike in China, children who are girls are viewed by most as important and they are cherished as much as boys. Sometimes, even more so. As many of us know, there have been 2 Women Presidents in the Philippines and there may well be a 3rd in 2016. We shall see in May.

The Evil That Men Do

There is still a human trafficking problem in the Philippines and while it has not been wiped out, there is a war against it. What is sad is that some of their own country folk are exploiting women and girls. Prostitution, sex slaves, forced work in cyber sex dens and other degrading terror. It is a form of terrorism that we often do not read about. These recruiters and handlers prey upon the poor women and girls and in the Philippines. Sometimes, even their own relatives! And you can believe that! This does not just happen in the Philippines but also in many countries. I think there is a special place in Hell for such people.

International Filipinas

Filipinas not living in the Philippines and those who were born and raised in other countries have some different aspects about their roles in society. Many Filipinas have lived and worked abroad a number of years. My wife lived and worked abroad in 3 different countries for almost 15 years, so she has a broader perspective in her views than many women who have lived all their lives in the Philippines. There is a difference but they are still Filipinas. Praise well deserved to all of them.

I’ve had Filipina friends in 3 different countries and while there were differences, they all still had the same basic core Values and Virtues.

All Around Bacolod is not a dating site and we do not have lists of women in the Philippines, who are looking for foreigners. Please do not ask.

I will be honest. Many foreigners come to the Philippines in hopes of meeting their lifetime partner. Others come here with less honorable intentions. It can be a slippery slope. To all Filipinas, please be careful! All foreigners are not gentlemen and honorable. Beware!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Fighting the Boredom of Retirement

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You don’t have to go far when you get out of the house. An actual walk in the park is getting out of the house. There is a new park not far from where we live and it is even my walking distance. I get outside of the house most days and get some natural Vitamin D from the sun. I don’t sunbathe, though. Too hot for that! I also don’t stay too long in the sun, as that is counterproductive.

People meet up at the park as early as 5am to do tai chi, which is something I enjoy but I don’t wake up that early to join in. I have my own tai chi technique that I tweaked after learning it in China.

There is also Zumba Dancing every morning at the park. There is a full size track that is free to use. Some jog on the track, some walk on the track and others ride bikes on the track. A pool is now open but there is admission for that. P50 for adults and P20 for children. Still not bad if you like swimming.

I Had the Power

Some guys miss their jobs since they retired. Especially those in mid level management and executive positions. Those jobs met their particular needs and those needs are no longer being met since they are not the Boss in the Philippines.

Several expats told me that once the honeymoon period of living in the Philippines wore off, they hit a wall. Nothing to do. Nothing to do? I have been living in the Bacolod Area for 6 years 7 months and I haven’t hit the wall of boredom. I don’t think I ever will.

Become a Mall Rat

If you live in a city with a mall, I think it helps going there. There is also a group of retired Filipinos who meet up daily in the coffee shops or restaurants in SM Mall, who I know. I have been asked to join them a few times and I do. They mostly drink coffee. One group meets up at a Japanese restaurant daily in SM, orders many pots of hot tea and people watch, as the people pass by in the mall. They talk about everything. When I join them, which is certainly not daily or even weekly, they speak English in my presence.

I enjoy going to the mall and walking around. It seems like new stores and restaurants open fairly regularly. Two days ago, I saw the new Choobi Choobi Restaurant. Their menu looks pretty good. Scampi Baby Lobster, Chilean Mussels, Bag of Shrimp, Grilled Pompano and other delights. Since I was alone, I did not want to dine in a full service restaurant, so I went to Burger King instead.

“At SM, We have it all for you!” That is the saying at SM Mall. They do not exactly have it all for me personally but they indeed have many things that I enjoy. SM is my favorite mall in Baoclod City.

Say You Went Fishing!

There is the Negros Sports Fishing Club based in Bacolod. They also have regular fishing expeditions in Sipalay and go out on a fishing boat. Mostly out of Tzino Beach (Chino Beach).

Some of the fish you can catch include Sail Fish, Blue Marlin, Amber Jack and Skip Jack.

Closer to home, in Bacolod City, you can rent a bangka, local fishing boat, for P1,000 per day plus a tip to the Captain.

Bright Lights, Big City

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I am not interested in living in a large city but I enjoy living in a mid-size city. I enjoyed living on the farm and did that for 2 years when we first moved here. I already know that after living in Bacolod City for 5 years, I would not enjoy living year round on the farm.

Yes, you can Phil good everyday!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Shore Fun Festival in Pulupandan: December 19

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 ~

Living in the Philippines

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Living in the Philippines is the original site and list, not one of the many knockoffs, so please don’t get confused. Living in the Philippines has been around for 15 years and is by far #1 on the Internet. You are rest assured that you will receive the most accurate and up to date information you will ever find on the Internet about the Philippines. Some of our members have up to 40 years of great experience in and out of the islands and in actually living here.

About Us

Don Herrington, my best foreign friend in the Philippines, had the vision and mission to create Living in the Philippines many years ago. He is the owner of the name, Living in the Philippines, and let us please make no mistake about that. Every single day, we discuss hot topics and issues about the Philippines on the lively list and forum, which has more than 18,000 plus new every week joined members. Retirement, cost of living, where to shop, the best locations for you to live, the best restaurants, travel, medical care, introduction to the vibrant Filipino Culture, relationships, how to engage in business, the best businesses, how to get a Philippine drivers license and many more topics. We provide you with the information you want and need about the Philippines.

We are not a dating site, so please do not ask for personal introductions. Living in the Philippines is strictly moderated. We do not allow Filipino bashing, Philippines bashing, off topic posts not about the Philippines and it is family oriented. Members are protected and we never allow any of the members to attack, inflame, threaten, ridicule or embarrass others.

I studied at the University of the Philippines in the mid 1980s. I lived in Metro Manila two different times for a total of 3 years, although I knew those were not permanent moves at the time. Overall, I have 29 years of wonderful and exciting experience living in the Philippines and spending quality time here during annual visits. For the past 6 years, I have lived with my lovely wife and our son in the Bacolod Area of Negros Occidental.

I am currently the Administrator of the List, Living in the Philippines3. We have a lively and sometimes robust discussion every single day about the Philippines. Hundreds of topics are discussed each and every month.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LivingInThePhilippines3/info

Mission and Vision

Don Herrington had the mission and vision more than 20 years ago to provide a venue, which promotes the Philippines. That’s what we do! If you have never been to the Philippines but are interested, our group members and knowledgeable forum members will help introduce you to this wonderful country and the beautiful people, The Filipino.

There is never a fee on Living in the Philippines and our information is 100% free. I, as well as a few other well informed members, have written what many have reviewed as very entertaining, informative and interesting books about our long experience in the Philippines. You are never obligated to spend one centavo, however, if you want to read one of our books, you can order here:

http://www.livinginthephilippines.com/

I would like to personally thank the List Guides/Moderators of Living in the Philppines3 for their great assistance to me as the Admin. Gerlie, Peter, Warren and Roy. Jack is still around as well. They ensure that the list runs smoothly and timely for your convenience. I can never say enough good things about them. They are all my amigos and amigas, as well as yours!

This is my initial article about Livining in Philippines and Living in the Philippines3. We all look forward hearing from you!

Take care and we hope to meet you one day, somewhere all around the Philippines. Hasta la bye bye for now. See ya soon.

~ Gary McMurrain ~

SM Supermarket Beer Haus

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During the past month or so, SM Supermarket has largely expanded their beer section with a good variety of imported beers. In this article cover photo, I have included some of the beers I recently purchased and enjoyed from SM Supermarket. Of the 7 samplers I bought, my favorite is the Belgian Beer, Stella Artois. It is beer that literally danced on my tongue with such a marvelous taste! I also liked Victoria Bitters from Australia but a distant second from Stella Artois.

I hadn’t had a King of Beers, Budweiser, since I moved to the Philippines, so that is why I bought one Bud. It seemed to taste better here than it ever did in the USA or in China, where I lived for 9 years! In mainland China, Pabst Blue Ribbon is one of the most popular imported American beers among Chinese. Believe it..or not! It is true and it is even served on China Southern Airlines. I can’t say it is among my favorite beers.

I’ve found most of the Japanese Beers to be pretty good and Sapporo Beer is no exception. When I eat at Cafe Bob’s Deli, I usually have a Kirin or Asahi Beer, both of which are Japanese Brews.

Some of the best beer in the world comes from Germany and while Beck’s is not top of the line, it is better than many local domestic beers. Yeah, I enjoyed the ice cold Beck’s from SM.

Dos Equis XX was popular where I lived in south Florida, with the large Hispanic population. It is a Mexican Beer and it is much better than Corona in my opinion! Corona is available at SM but I did not buy one. Had it many times and is much like San Miguel Light in taste.

I had never heard of Bear Beer before! It hails from Denmark but I think Carlsberg is better and it is also available in the Philippines.

I don’t drink beer to get drunk or to raise hell but I enjoy sampling beers made from around the world! Being a Beer Connoisseur is a personal hobby of mine. I have my own favorite in the Philippines and it is Beer na Beer Pale Pilsen, brewed by Asia Brewery. I also drink San Miguel Pale Pilsen when I am out and about since Beer na Beer is not common in most establishments.

If you enjoy a different taste every now and then with your beer, check out SM Supermarket’s new imported beer section. They should have something you like when you are ready to go for the gusto!

Retiring to the Philippines

If you are a music lover, you can check out my new article and read about the music that is alive and kicking in the Philippines!

http://retiringtothephilippines.com/entertainment/the-music-is-alive-and-kicking/

Without a doubt, Music is a very important part of the Philippines Culture! I enjoy listening to music and I enjoy singing every chance I get.

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

Mambukal Mudpack Festival 2013

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The annual Mambukal Mudpack Festival is enjoyed by people of all ages! This little guy was one of the better contestants in the body painting competition.

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Just one more look!

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I believe I can fly!

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Somebody’s watching you!

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Another good contestant with his form.

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Squid Man!

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Tattooed and Painted!

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Lunch time! Grace’s Sliders. We brought these mini burgers with us to the Mudpack Festival. There is a Food Court at Mambukal but we came prepared. I can recommend Ikea of Kabankalan at the Mambukal Food Court but we did not want to waste time in the Food Court, as we came to see the Mudpack Competition this trip.

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The swimming pool at Mambukal is stocked from cold mountain spring water. Yes, it is cold!

The Mudpack Festival crowd was a little down compared to years past but we still had a great time, as always. The theme of the Festival is always Harmony of Man and Nature and there is no better place I know to hold this type festival than at Mambukal. The Festival is also a showcase for Negrense artisans to exhibit their artistic creativeness in ethnic song, dance and crafts.

Retiring to the Philippines

A big thank you to all the regular followers of All Around Bacolod, who also read Retiring to the Philippines, the online expat magazine. Thank you for your comments, as we welcome them all.

Here is a link to my latest article:

http://retiringtothephilippines.com/living-in-the-philippines/confessions-from-a-jollibee-tagalog-speaker/

I write 2-3 new articles on Retiring to the Philippines every week for those who are still learning about the Philippines and who are considering the Pearl of the Orient as their retirement home.

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