Looking For Love in All The Wrong Places


I talked to an American friend the other day and the conversation turned to relationships. He has lived full time in the Philippines for more than a decade. He had several sad stories to share, as well as a number of good stories.

My friend is still single but he has not given up, however, he is smarter now then he was even 5 years ago. Marriage is no longer a priority in his life. He said he is not a playboy but he decided he liked the freedom to just date different women.

Internet chat sites, single bars, street girls and girlie bars but no overall longer term positive results. He finally realized that a key to success in any of those venues is very slim.

Grifters and Con Artists

An American Expat posted 3 or 4 times about meeting local women on the internet in Cebu, inviting them over to his house and then having money and possessions stolen not long afterward. It is risky behavior. There is no honor among grifters, con artists or scammers and they are found in every country around the round world! A new victim is only the click of the computer keyboard away!

I was asked one time…which city is the best to meet a good wife? I did not have an answer of an actual city. I know guys who are happily married to Filipinas from Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. I also know guys who were taken to the cleaners by women from the same Regions. I added that a younger lady from a Provincial Area, if they are hell bent on a 20 something year old in a relationship, may raise the odds of a successful relationship but even that is not a guarantee. Personally, I think a 30 or more age gap in a relationship is bad news for both parties, more times than not!

There is no way a man or a woman can really get to know their soon to be spouse during a short term whirlwind relationship of a few weeks. Both sides make the mistake of jumping into the ring of fire too soon. They seem to think if they do not jump in now, there may not be another chance for them. Once the knot is tied in the Philippines, it is not EZ to untie that knot!

True Romance

I have been asked about my relationship with my wife of 14 years. I am a man, she is a women. We met in Hong Kong, we dated, we maintained a non-live in relationship in two different locations in Hong Kong/China for 20 months before we married. We knew each other very well. We were both working as professionals in our career.

People can front for a few weeks and for a few months, but their true self comes out after a year, most often before 6 months! Many times within a few months.

Why the Philippines?

Many foreigners have heard that many of the fine women in the Philippines are Christian, they are Conservative, they are family oriented, they are very friendly & outgoing, they are fun loving, they like to sing, many like to dance, many know how to have wholesome fun and most all speak English. It is no secret that women in the Philippines have won more Beauty Competitions than any other country! They possess Beauty, both outward and inward. This characteristic is not EZ finding in 2017 within just any location in the world today.

Sadly, there are foreigners who are also Grifters and they come to the Philippines with one purpose. To exploit the Beauty of the Country. All foreigners are not good people and some are actually heinous and pure evil in their intentions and in their behavior. That is the reality.

Friendly Advice

To all the single guys, I can only say…take time to know her. She is not the only woman in the Philippines and she will not be the last woman in the Philippines, so no need to rush into something you have no realistic idea what you are getting into.

Men and Women alike, who use the internet for date chatting usually have more than one person lined up. Whoever arrives first with the most usually gets the prize…forever how long that may last. On both sides of the aisle!

Last but not least. I have posted about it and I have personally told foreigners about it many times. The most overlooked age group among women in the Philippines is 32-45. Many have realistic expectations about a potential relationship with a foreigner. They possess a level sense of maturity and they are not teenyboppers in their 20s. All women in this age group of 32-45 are not married and all do not have children. A number of them have long careers, own their own house or are buying their own house and they have a vehicle. Yes, they drive. They are not looking for a foreigner to feed their poor family. I know a number of Filipinas in their mid 30s to mid 40s who are down right beautiful. Even some in their 50s and on into their 60s! You can believe that!

I wish all the single folks the very best.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

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Leftover Rice?


Leftover Rice? My wife cooks extra rice each day because she mixes some of the rice with other food to feed our Belgian Malinois, Tasha. Tasha is our pet dog, of course, and she enjoys eating the Rice dishes much more than eating commercial dog food. No doubt, a full dog is a happy dog!

What About Me?

I use White Rice to make several dishes I enjoy. Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage, Black Beans and Rice with Grilled or Roast Pork, Stir Fried Rice and Spanish Rice.

Early on when I began cooking for myself, years ago, I did not know to use Cold Rice from the ref to make Stir Fried Rice but I quickly learned my mistake by asking what I was doing wrong.

Some people use leftover Rice to make Dirty Rice but I am not one of them. When cooking the Rice with all the ingredients together, wow, the Rice really soaks up all the flavors. Chicken Livers and Ground Beef make a much more flavorful Dirty Rice than using Chicken Livers and Chicken Gizzards. Onion, Celery and Bell Pepper round out the ingredients. Garlic is optional.


Rice Pudding can be made simply with Milk, Sugar and Vanilla Extract. To kick up your Rice Pudding a few notches, add Raisins, a beaten Egg and bake in the oven.

Rice, Ground Beef and whatever you enjoy adding make very good Stuffed Bell Peppers. Mushrooms are a great addition.

Deep Fried Rice Balls require more prep but nothing major. Cold or at least chilled Rice should be used. One-three Eggs, depending on how many Rice Balls you plan deep frying, grated Parmesan, Mozzarella or Cheddar Cheese and Japanese Breadcrumbs are the ingredients. Make the Rice Balls by hand and deep fry.

Milk poured over Leftover Rice, with sugar added, makes a nice Rice Cereal. I ate this often in the South, long before I ever came to the Philippines.

Rice is nice, when I use it to make Rice dishes, however, I am not a fan of plain white Rice as a side dish. If it has, at the very least, Gravy over it, I am happy.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

The Evolution of Sisig and Mayonnaise


For years in the Philippines, Sisig has been associated with drinking sessions, as Pulutan. Also, lesser known, nutrition for pregnant women in the Philippines. However, these days, Sisig is a staple at Filipino Restaurants, most often served on a sizzling plate.

On the home turf, Sisig was made with pig cheeks, pig snouts, smothered with onions and laced with red hot peppers.

Maybe foreigners would not like pig ears and pig tails any better than pig cheeks but it is a step up.

Sisig has now evolved. Ground Pork, Ground Beef, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Tuna, Squid, Shellfish are all being utilized to create Special Sisig. Other ingredients include Calamansi, Pineapple Juice, Black Peppercorns, Salt, White Onion and Chili Peppers. The new chefs on the block recommend garnishing Sisig with Mayonnaise and an Over EZ Egg.

Mayonnaise

Kewpie is probably not the go to Mayonnaise to put on your Cold Cut Sandwiches but it is good with Asian dishes. Like Sisig! In China, where I was an English teacher for 9 years, that was the only brand of Mayonnaise available where we lived, unless you took the A-Train to Hong Kong for shopping.

For years in Bacolod, I bought Home Brand Mayonnaise, Product of Freedonia, NY, but this year, I am buying Kraft Mayonnaise since it appeared on the scene. Surprisingly, I never see Hellmanns Mayonnaise in Bacolod City.

I have never tried Best Foods Mayonnaise, which I see everywhere. I have tried Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise in a pinch and that was it! It is not bad but it is not my choice.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Cure All Chicken Soup


Tried and true for many decades, the Cure All Chicken Soup has been used by Hilots and Quack Doctors in the Philippines with much success. Especially from the onset of Colds and Flu.

The Chicken must be 100% Organic, aka Free Range, aka Yard Chicken. Place the whole chicken in a pot, cover with water and boil it. Do not remove the neck or the skin. After an hour or so, remove the meat but do not remove the carcass, the neck and skin from the broth.

Next, add one whole Medium to Large Onion, shredded fresh Ginger, freshly shredded organic Carrots, Malunggay and at least one clove of minced Garlic. Keep a soft boil for another hour. You can add Salt and Pepper to taste.

Enjoy the soup.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Their Way or the Highway


Personally, I get tired of the rhetoric. Their way or the highway. It seems this is a Western World Invention. It really cuts against the grain and against the very fabric of a Democratic Society. A Civilized Society. A Society in which people are free to choose what they like without being bashed by others. Not so much of a problem in the Philippines. Sex, Politics or Religion, your choice. It is your life, it is up to you.

Some people do not like Facebook, they do not like Twitter, they do not like the latest Phone Technology, they do not like certain Regions of a country, they do not like the Fashion, they do not like Catholics, they do not like the Music, they do not like people engaging in activities that they personally enjoy, they do not like the food, nothing much ever measures up to their expectations. I ask myself, what the hell do these people like? I already concluded that they do not like much of anything! Not even themselves.

My Work In the Mental Health Field

I worked with people with Anger Management problems for over 20 years. Without failure, they must be in control. They like to dish it out but they cannot tolerate the blow back when others speak out and speak up against them. There are always excuses and sometimes, but not many times, they try to walk back their words. I can read and what I read is what I get. Words are like arrows, once released they will hit a mark and those cannot be pulled back.

Living in the Philippines3

I cannot tell you how many times, I have written a post for LinP3, Living in the Philippines 3 Yahoo Group, and after reading it about 3 times, I edited my own post. I think about how others may feel when reading my words. Would it be taken wrongly? If in doubt, I tone it down. However, sometimes, people need to read the blunt word, for after all, they started the brujaja. Often times, they shut down because they know they cannot control themselves or others on the other end of a keyboard. Those who are willing to respond.

This is not a rant but it is reality. We see it everyday! People from the Western World. I have not seen many Filipinos exhibiting such behavior.

Should I Stay or Should I Go

Yesterday, I had two choices. Should I attend the Birthday party of an expat acquaintance or should I attend the Birthday party of a nephew, which would have many close Filipino family and friends in attendance. I know my wife is friends with several wives of expats, who would be in that party. I asked her. She told me to choose which event I wanted to attend, as we could not attend both at the same time, I decided to attend the Filipino Beach Party and I do not regret it. We all had a blast! Nothing can beat that.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Grinders, Hoagies and Po Boys


I usually eat a Sub type Sandwich several times every week at home, ones I make.

There is not a Subway Sandwich Shop in Bacolod City. There are a few restaurants in Bacolod, which attract foreigners, that have Sub type Sandwiches on their menu.The best attempt is found at Delicioso Deli and Bistro. Cafe Bob’s Deli makes sandwiches to order and eat in but they do not have Hoagie Rolls or Baguettes as their choice of breads.

There is a Vietnamese Chain in Bacolod, Xin Chao, which has the Banh Mi/Vietnamese Sandwich on their menu. I recommend eating at their main restaurant branch at Hi Strip 4 Bldg on Circumferential Road. Their franchise kiosks in malls and shopping centers leave a lot to be desired because… what started out as a good Sandwich has gone to hell in a handbag! These days, there is very little Vietnamese Ham on their Sandwich, a little more Liver Pate and mostly sliced Carrots and Cucumbers. More like a Vietnamese Veggie Sandwich.

Soon, I plan writing about Coyo’s Cafe in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental. They have a fabulous Pulled Pork Sandwich and other great dishes on their menu that foreigners will enjoy eating.

American Hoagies

In America, Hoagies were originally associated with Italian-Americans but soon were popularized and most everyone enjoyed eating them. In the NE part of America, many call these a Hero Sandwich. I have also heard the term…Zeppelin in that area, in reference to a Sub.

In New England, Grinder is the term. I have read, more times than once, that a Grinder is a hot Sub, however, in Rhode Island, I most always ate a cold Gringer, with Cold Cuts. I sometimes ate a hot Grinder, a Meatball Sandwich, which is good as well.

I make the New Orleans style Po Boy but I am limited to a Fish Po Boy, a Crab Po Boy and a Smoked Sausage Po Boy. I like an Oyster Po Boy but have yet to really find the larger Oysters, making the best Po Boy when Deep Fried. The large Oysters in our area are really Medium, compared to the Oysters in the South, Florida and Louisiana. I developed an allergy to Shrimp, so a Shrimp Po Boy is out!


Enjoy Life and eat a Hoagie, a Grinder or a Po Boy today!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

How to Make Homemade Bacon in the Philippines


The Bacon Purists may give me the ho, ho, ho, but I make Bacon by what I refer to as…Organic Method. It really makes nice Bacon, tried and true since we lived in China, where I began making my own Bacon.

I do not use Prague Powder, Curing Salt, Salt Peter or whatever else many others use to make Bacon. I do not like playing with Nitrates!

The ingredients I use for Homemade Bacon are as follow. Of course, Pork Belly with rind or skin intact. Do not slice the Pork Belly at this point, as you want to season the entire slab, regardless of size. Sea Salt or the local Coarse Salt, Black Pepper, Fennel Seed, 1 Garlic Clove, Bay Leaves and Honey. You may add things like Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme if you like but I do not. I want to make Bacon and not recreate Simon and Garfunkel.

Concerning the Salt, since it is Pork, I do not use Kosher Salt on Pork but to give you an idea, that is the texture of Salt you need to use when making Homemade Bacon. The Salt ratio I use is one Tablespoon per each 1 lb of Pork Belly. It is better than Chemicals, in my opinion.


Rub all the seasoning on the Pork Belly, place it in a Zip Lock and put it in the ref. Turn the Zip Lock on the other side once per day. Seven days later, you have Bacon.

It is best to remove the Pork Belly on the 8th day and roast it in an oven at 200F degrees for at least one hour. Two hours if you like but not longer than 2 hours. If you have a meat thermometer, the Pork Belly should reach 150F degrees when roasting and then you are finished.

Once cooled down, the Pork Belly is ready to slice and Fry Up as Bacon. If you are not ready yet, put it back in the ref in a fresh, clean Zip Lock or Tupperware container until you are ready for Bacon.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Never Forget


Some friends are taking vacations this weekend, even in the Philippines, and there is nothing wrong with that. I wanted to go to Iloilo to check out the new S&R but the weather is too bad to get on a RoRo. There is always next weekend. There is heavy rain and it is not good for even a cookout at home today. Maybe tomorrow…I hope.

The Alert Colors of the Day for me are Red, White and Blue!

Let us please not forget those who gave the Ultimate Sacrifice for America. Nothing wrong with Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Chicken, Pork Chops, Beer and Baseball. However, a Moment of Silence is in order for the Fallen Heroes, the real American Idols in my book.

Filipinos have served and fought with Americans in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Some have paid the Ultimate Sacrifice as well. Let us please not forget them, either.

The American Military Cemetery in Manila has more than 17,000 graves, including those of US Allies.

There is also the Clark Veterans Cemetery, north of Manila. I am too far away from both cemeteries to place flowers but I would, if I could. Even though I cannot be there in person, I will never forget the Fallen Heroes. Not just once per year but very often, this comes to mind. Memorial Day.

Take care and God bless everyone.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

National Pizza Day

italian-pizza
National Pizza Day is still on in the USA, Feb 9. In the Philippines, as well yesterday, as a number of pizzerias had all day promos.

According to the statistics, 1 in 8 Americans will eat pizza on any given day and 3 Billion Pizzas are sold each year. The statistics indicate that the number of American pizza eaters do not vary among race or gender. According to Pizza Hut, 94% of Americans eat pizza at least once per month.

One Pizzeria I will mention is Rio Bella, aka “Rio” Greenoz, located on Lacson Extension in Bacolod City. Their Pizza Chefs have changed over the years but they are still better than a number of other so called pizzerias. I still enjoy singing there in their Karaoke Bar. That is exactly what we did last Sunday afternoon with our Chinese friends from Shanghai.

I am not a big fan of Pizza Hut or Shakey’s in the Philippines. I did enjoy the 1954 Vintage Classic Pizza at Shakey’s in 2014 but it is no longer available. I remember the days back in the 1980s and in the 1990s when Shakey’s Pizza was great. The Shakey’s on Roxas Blvd in Manila had Draft San Miguel by the pitcher and a kick butt Rock n’ Roll Band at night. Ever hear the cover of “Mexican Black Bird” by ZZ Top?

Papa John’s Pizza is in Manila.

National Pizza Day Survey

In today’s National Pizza Day Survey, Lombardi’s in NYC, Capo’s in Chicago, Bollo Woodfired Pizza in Houston, Ken’s Artisan Pizza in Portland, Pizza Domenica in New Orleans, Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia, Proof Pizza in Miami (Neapolitan Pizza), Sotto Pizza in LA, Cart Driver Pizza in Denver and Tavola in NYC are the top Pizzerias in America. Never tried any of them but it may be true, although I do not put much stock into American surveys or polls. Otherwise, Hillary Clinton would be in the White House!

I really cannot tell you why but we have never tried Pizza Republic in Bacolod or in Cebu City. We need to check it out since it seems that more Indie Pizza Restaurants are losing their touch.

I would enjoy it very much if Hungry Howies Pizza came to Bacolod, as they have great pizza in Florida.

I remember very well my first pizza and that was way back in 1960 in Middletown, Rhode Island. At a Mom & Pop Pizzeria, owned by a Portuguese couple. They also had fabulous Spaghetti & Meatballs, Grinders (submarine sandwiches) and Antipasto Salad. Wow! Would love to eat there again right now.

Filipinos Love Pizza

Filipinos in Bacolod and in Cebu City also eat a lot of Pizza. It is a mixed bag when you read online pizza reviews and listen to recommendations from others. It does not matter how good the pizza toppings are, if the pizza crust is not good, it is not good pizza…to me. If the crust is excellent, I can enjoy a plain Cheese Pizza. Others have different standards for pizza. Mama Maria Pizza in Kabankalan had very good pizza but we have not been there to eat in several years. Not sure if they are still on the planet or have the same ownership if still open. Mama Maria Pizza in Bacolod folded several years ago.

pizza

In the Bacolod and Cebu City malls, there are a number of kiosks making and selling pizza but I never try those. I can see them on display and I know, it is a poor attempt at making good pizza. They can keep their Eden Kraft Cheese!

Sbarro Pizza is or was in SM Mall Bacolod but I am not a big fan of them. Seems they were much better in Florida, best I recall.

I find Pizzaro Pizza to be very good. There are several branches in Bacolod City but we prefer their Gold Field Branch. Pizzaro also has branches in La Carlota and in Victorias City. Pizzaro has Korean fast food on their menu. However, Hanok in Golden Field is the place to go for authentic, full service Korean Cuisine, as I wrote in a recent article right here on All Around Bacolod.

I could write more about pizza in Bacolod but this article is long enough. I will recommend Italia Restaurant on Lacson Street, as they have excellent pizza. They are the A-Lister these days, as other once excellent Bacolod pizzerias are falling by the wayside.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Bacolod Jazz Fest 2017

bacolod-jazz-fest
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.

jazz
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 ~