BBQ/Barbecue/Barbeque


Since Anak Baka Steakhouse went out of business in Bacolod, not a single restaurant measures up concerning their BBQ. At least none that I have tried and I have tried many. Anak Baka had New Orleans Style BBQ Ribs and they were normally excellent, if the Grill Master was working that day.

Best BBQ

BBQ is very popular in Bacolod and all around Negros Occidental. You will find BBQ most everywhere, even on streets. However, it is Filipino style BBQ, for the most part. Local BBQ is often referred to as Sugba, which is used in both Ilonggo and in Cebuano Languages. Some Filipinos try to copy American BBQ but wherever I tried it, it was a complete failure. The Sauce does not make BBQ good! For me, I do not need BBQ Sauce on Ribs if they have been smoked and grilled properly.


Like in America, there are different styles of BBQ all around the Philippines. I sometimes buy frozen Pampanga’s Best Baby Back Ribs at SM Supermarket and they are better than most of the other ribs sold there. This is for a quicker meal. When I want to get serious with BBQ Ribs on our Grill, I buy fresh Pork Ribs at Bahamas Meat Shop.

I do not like Beef Ribs and I never buy them. Tried them a time or two and those were enough for me. Pork Ribs or Goat Ribs for me, please. Keep the Beef.

Someone once asked me in Florida, which Regional BBQ do I like best? Carolina BBQ, Texas BBQ, Memphis BBQ, Kansas City BBQ, New Orleans BBQ, St Louis BBQ? I like all of them!


North Alabama is famous for BBQ Chicken and White BBQ Sauce is homemade and used on the Chicken. I prepare Alabama BBQ Chicken Leg Quarters regularly in Bacolod. I certainly know how to make White BBQ Sauce. I have the Original Big Bob Gibson Recipe for White BBQ Sauce. It is in my head.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

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Love That Chicken Inasal From Manokan Country in Bacolod


A famous attraction in Bacolod for decades is…Manokan Country. It is a complex of more than a dozen restaurants, all specializing in Chicken Inasal. It is hot off the grill and brought right to your table. The Condiments are on the table to make your own Chicken Inasal Dipping Sauce. Spicy Vinegar and Soy Sauce. The wait staff bring you a generous amount of Hot Peppers and Calamansi to add to the Dipping Sauce. You will not have to ask for those, as they arrive even before your Chicken Inasal so you can make your Dipping Sauce in advance.


We had not been to Manokan Country in a while but we dined there at Aida’s this week. There are a number of items on their menu and I also ordered Grilled Chorizo, which is great. Grilled Oysters in the Shell is another popular item found at most restaurants in Manokan Country.

Aida’s is ranked #1 at Manokan Country as having the best Chicken Inasal in all of Bacolod. The marinade makes the difference! Not far behind Aida’s with excellent Chicken Inasal are Nena’s Beth, Nena’s, Nena’s Rose and Carmen’s. Rosing is an old favorite, as a nephew took me there several times over the years. Seems he is sweet on one of the waitresses.


Aida’s and all the other restaurants have ice cold Beer and a menu full of Pulutan, Grilled Chicken Parts. Isaw (Intestines), Atay (Liver), Puso (Heart), Isol (Butt) and I forget the local name but they also have Chicken Gizzards.


Manokan Country is located near SM Mall and everyone knows where it is. Trip Adviser, Lonely Planet and many other Travel Publications have published articles about Manokan Country.

If you visit Bacolod, Manokan Country is a must see, in my opinion.

Love that Chicken Inasal from Manokan Country in Bacolod!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

 

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 ~

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 ~

From a Wellness Point of View

Over the past couple of years, there has been an increase in Wellness and Alternative Medicine Clinics opening in Bacolod City. I am happy see it.

Since 1986, when I was cured of Asthma with Acupuncture by a Taiwanese MD of Traditional Chinese Medicine, that is the Path I have followed for my personal health and wellness.

I am not putting anyone down for taking Western style medication, as I know some need it. However, for many things, that mode of treatment can be avoided. For me, Western style medication would be a last resort and I am thankful everyday that I do not take any medication for any reason. I have not taken an Antibiotic or a painkiller in decades.

There is a lifestyle of Wellness and the earlier it is started, the better. Harsh Western style medication taken on a regular basis can breakdown your immune system. One of the biggest tragedies is the over prescribing of antibiotics, as seen in America and the other, right up there is the over prescribing of painkillers. The latter is one big reason why there is an Opioid Epidemic in America today.

I firmly believe in the life force of Qi/Chi in the human body. Too much heat, too much cold, too much wind can cause illness. Acupuncture is used to regulate the body’s Qi. It must be balanced for good health, like the Yin and Yang. It is balanced and complementary. Cupping and the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine, always natural and herbal, also will balance the Qi/Chi.


Some believe that high and extreme impact exercise is necessary for good health. I am not one who believes it. I played sports well into my 40s, mostly Softball. I still like to play Wiffle Ball, Volleyball and I have a Football to throw around with others.

For me, Tai Chi is great. It is low impact and it accomplishes much for those who are into it. After only 5 minutes of Tai Chi, I can feel the benefits.

Every morning at Panaad Park in Bacolod, there are many older Filipinos and foreigners meeting up for Tai Chi. I learned Tai Chi in China and I practice it at home. I do not need an instructor of Tai Chi.


Walking is another great exercise for older people or for anyone for that matter. Easily accomplished in the Philippines at any of the many malls. It does not have to be a walk on the wild side! I have seen some of those fast walkers in the mall and if not careful, they will knock you down! And keep on truckin’.

The Human Body is actually a Natural Pharmacy. A key is eating real food instead of processed food so much. Real Food puts natural bacteria in your gut. Motion will activate your body’s Natural Pharmacy, which is in your blood stream, tailored just for you. Going to a gym is not required, as Tai Chi and walking are both motion. Sitting for prolong periods is never good.

I also attribute Faith and Prayer as part of my Wellness. Many MDs have stated that their patients who have a Spiritual Life stand a much better chance to full recovery.

My greeting to you is that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers during this Holy Week Season and through the years. All the days of your lives.

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 ~

What Do You Miss? Revisited


Not much, do I miss seeing in the Philippines but there are a few things.

A Southern Style Bait and Tackle Shop is one that I would like to see. Crickets chirping up a storm, Minnows swimming in tanks, barrels filled with moist dirt and thousands of worms, Artificial Bait and Lures, Rods & Reels, Cane Poles, Bobbers, Hooks and an old chest type cooler loaded with ice cold Beer, Coca Cola and Buffalo Rock. Coke, no Pepsi!


Do not forget the snacks. Cans of Possum Sardines, cans of Libby’s & Armour Vienna Sausage, cans of Armour Potted Meat, cans of Libby’s Corned Beef, boxes of Saltine Crackers, loaves of Merita Sandwich Bread, packages of Lance Cheese Crackers, packages of Lance Peanut Butter Crackers, bags of Golden Flake Potato Chips, Lance Red Skin Peanuts, Fritos, packages of Slim Jim and jars on the counter with Pickled Eggs, Pickled Sausage and Pickled Pig Feet. I am ready now to go fishing.


The Bait and Tackle Shops in the Southern USA were not only places to buy your fishing needs but it was a meeting up place to shoot the breeze. To get the latest low down, latest gossip, talking sports, chewing tobacco together and spitting into that brass spittoon, talking about the new sexy lady who moved to town and plain ole story telling. There was always a pot of coffee sitting on top of the pot belly wood stove when the weather was cold. Help yo self. During the hot weather, it was Pop a Top time and have a cold Beer. Falstaff was the House Beer but other brands were available, including Sterling, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Miller High Life.


The radio was not played loud but you could hear the songs of Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Tammy, Loretta and the other popular C&W singers of the day.

I do not miss the old time Bait and Tackle Shops that much but it would be nice to revisit one. Will have to wait until my next trip to rural Florida, whenever that is. However, I realize that it will never be the same, so no need to really miss something that no longer exists! All those good singers, except Loretta Lynn, are now in Hillbilly Heaven. So are Billy Bob, Jimmy Ray and Slick Jackson, the boyz at the Tackle Shop. I miss them most of all.

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 ~