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 thee 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

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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.

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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

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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 ~

Eating Korean Food In The Philippines

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A new Korean restaurant opened at Golden Field in Bacolod and the name is Hanok. I have been hearing a lot of talk about how great the Korean food is at Hanok. Of course, if you already know you do not like Korean food, no need to go there, as that is all they serve. Some of the dishes, you can cook at your table. There are many dishes that are prepared in their kitchen by an actual chef, so you do not have to cook!

A friend contacted me and told me that there is a Korean owner and a Korean chef at Hanok and he knows I know Korean food very well. I ate Korean and Thai food 4 or 5 times each week when I lived in Ft Walton Beach, Florida. A Korean friend owned my favorite restaurant/watering hole/karaoke bar in the Florida Panhandle. Mary Esther, Florida.

Korean Dining Experience

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Four of us dined at Hanok last evening and even our 11 year old son raved about their food! We could not eat all the food, of course, as each dish is for 3-4 people, depending on appetites. It is about social, getting together, ordering 4 or 5 dishes, sharing and having a few drinks. We ordered 5 dishes, a pitcher of house blend cold tea without ice and a couple of beers for my friend and I. My wife and I were the only ones who could use chopsticks and Korean chopsticks are normally metal, not wooden. Do not worry, as they have regular eating utensils as well at Hanok. The fare was exactly P1500 and we had a ton of leftovers to bring home.

For brunch today, I had leftover Korean Green Onion Pancakes and Cheese Egg Rolls. These egg rolls are not like Filipino Lumpia or Chinese Egg Rolls. No, no, no. They are actually eggs, rolled up and stuffed with wonderful cheese.

Finding an Excellent Korean Restaurant

I will be the first to tell you, finding an excellent Korean restaurant in Bacolod and even in Cebu is hit or miss. Mostly Miss from my experience. I have eaten at 2 different Korean restaurants in Cebu City and both were not good at all. Not authentic. Hanok is the only authentic Korean restaurant we have found in Bacolod. The only one!

A good tip for ya. See which restaurant has many Korean patrons eating there. If they eat in a Korean restaurant that is crap, they will not go back again. If you find a Korean restaurant with many Korean patrons, I think you have found the gem. Word of mouth spreads. “Don’t go to _____(fill in the blank.) No good!”

Last evening, there were two lovely young Korean ladies dining there and each had a full bottle of Soju. They are a better man than I am if they can drink a bottle of Soju! Perhaps they were drinking the 18% ABV Soju? I have only tried the 45% ABV Soju in the past and I already knew if I messed around drinking much of it, it would knock my socks off! I found it to be a hard drink.

No thanks! Just give me an ice cold OB, a Korean Beer. There is a joke that OB is Oriental Budweiser Beer. It is good beer.

I had not eaten an authentic Korean Green Onion Pancake since 1995. I am very happy I found them again at Hanok.

If you want to enjoy excellent authentic Korean Cuisine in Bacolod City, I highly recommend Hanok in Golden Field.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Wing Master: The Taste of Real Buffalo Wings

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On a tip from an American friend, a former pro wrestler in Boston, we checked out Wing Master last night. It was an awesome experience. Wing Master is located in Zone 15 of Ayala North Point District Mall in Talisay, just north of Bacolod City.

The husband of the owner of Wing Master, Ron, is a member of LinP3. His wife, Russel, is the hands on owner of Wing Master. Both are from Buffalo, NY, so you know their Buffalo Wings are the real deal! You can believe that.

I cannot resist Country Fried Steak, aka Chicken Fried Steak, with White Gravy and Wing Master has it on their menu. It was great. Of course, later in the evening, I had to try their Buffalo Wings.

It’s Still Rock n’ Roll For Me!

A fabulous bonus for me was the live band, which is every Friday night at Wing Master. They were gracious to allow me to sing 6 songs with them during their sets. Every night is a good night for singing and last night was no exception. The guitar player in the band is a real pro, as he may not have been so familiar with my songs but he picked it up right away to lead the way on his electric guitar. Sweet Home Alabama, My Sacrifice, Unchain My Heart, Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Nothing Else Matters and Free Bird.
Rock n’ Roll and a little Blue Eyed Soul. Sad songs and waltzes do not help me at all. I enjoy Full Tilt Boogie and Ram Jam.

You Got Friends

At Wing Master, there is not only great food and fabulous music but Ron and Russel are good people. Very friendly and talkative. I already know that you will like them!

I am passing on this information to you free of charge. I am not a paid advertiser. If it is real, I tell you about it, if not, I will not mention it to you.

Let’s Party Like It Is 1999

I just have to mention it. It is been awhile since one of my favorite NFL Teams, the Buffalo Bills had a great team. They were 11-5 in 1999. Let’s hope a new coach will make the Buffalo Bills great again! The talent is already on the team. Just a few more good men needed to be added. Tired of being 7-9 every year!

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

Have a good one!

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Izumi: The Real House of Ramen

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Can you believe that there is a place you can go, if you are a little run down on your soul and you want authentic comfort food? I  can tell you right where to go. Izumi Ramen House, which I call The Real Ramen House. Their Ramen is the real deal! Izumi is located in the Nolan Building on BS Aquino Drive in Bacolod City.

My family and I dined at Izumi Ramen House yesterday and we all enjoyed it. We ordered their large # 1 Ramen Bowl and my wife & I shared it. Four Thumbs up! After all, 2 people only have 4 thumbs total, di ba, so Izumi gets the highest rating from us.

Our 11 year old son was with us and a Filipino friend as well. We also ordered Japanese Dumplings and BBQ Pork on Skewers. All were very well pleased with their food and we were indeed hungry.

Cold Beer! Yep, Izumi has ice cold San Miguel Pilsen.

I Think I’m Turning Japanese

Not exactly but do you remember that song by the Vapors from 1980? I certainly do! Hey, I am age 62 now but I can take a licking and keep on ticking! And you can believe that!

I have been to Japan a number of times over the past 30 years and I lived in China while working as an English Teacher for 9 years. Personally, I prefer Japanese Food to Chinese Food. Moo Goo Gai Pan is a Chinese-American dish but you will not find it anywhere in China. Believe me, as I looked for it. I love Moo Goo Gai Pan!

I find Ramen as good Comfort Food. It is alright if you slurp the noodles and the soup! Go all out, have fun and check out Izumi Ramen House. Once you do, you will never eat instant Ramen again. It will not be Lucky Me but Lucky You!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Eat Like A Viking: All Day Buffet!

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Two days after our son’s birthday, we went to Vikings Buffet, located in SM Mall. Their lunch hours are 11am-230pm and the one price, all you can eat and drink, allows you to stay the entire time, in what they promote as All Day Buffet. The wait staff did not come around until around 2pm to hand out the bills.

Vikings begins taking reservations and handing out Walk In Numbers at 10am and we had W-2, second to be called in at 11am. P588 per adult and P388 for our son, which was based on his not being over 4’6 in height.

Draft San Miguel is included in the price. Red wine is P149 per glass or around P600-P900 per bottle.

When we went to Vikings on Wednesday, no one in our party ate plain white rice or any of the Filipino Cuisine. I had the Louisiana Dirty Rice with Chicken Livers & Gizzards as a side dish. There was a whole pig and diners could ask for Lechon but none in our party wanted any. Everyone wanted the dishes that are not commonly eaten at home or in local Filipino restaurants. Exactly the way it should be.

The Carving Station of the Buffet featured beautifully marbled Roast Beef, Lamb, Chicken and Smoked Sausage. I went with the meat first but I skipped the Chicken. I headed to Mexican Corner on the Buffet and made my own Taco Salad with ground beef chili with beans, lettuce, tomato, onion and sour cream.

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The Japanese section of the Buffet has all the good sushi, such as Salmon, Tuna, California Maki and others. The Chinese section of the Buffet only had Egg Foo Young that I was interested in and I did not really look at the rest too much.

I had a small Cucumber Salad, which was hot & spicy as hell and I only took one bite! Too bad. I don’t like it that hot. The only seafood I was interested in was the deep fried crabs and you can eat shell and all. I have developed an allergy with Shrimp and Prawns but I can eat all the other seafood/shellfish.

Several types of ice cream and many types of cakes and pastries are on the Dessert Bar. There are many other drinks other than beer but I wanted the Draft.

Dining Entertainment

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Vikings puts on the best Birthday Show I have seen anywhere here. A Reggae version of a Happy Birthday song, other Birthday songs, all their staff come around to sing and dance, including the ladies who keep the CR clean. The photo op includes wearing a Viking helmet with horns. I really enjoyed the show.

I know that Vikings have branches in Bacolod, Manila and in Cebu City.

The bill for 4 of us was P2,300 for the 3 1/2 hour feast and party. A fabulous deal to me!

I think everyone will enjoy Vikings Luxury Buffet. If not, I will wonder about them!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~