When I first arrived in country, I stayed at a hostel in Manila called Friendly’s Guesthouse. There I met a British ex-pat living in Malaysia that has been on the road for the past twenty years. He was at the end of a three-month trip through the Philippines, and he really hated the food here. When we talked about the typhoon, Ondoy, that hit Manila last fall, he said the streets were so flooded that the government had difficulty getting food to the inhabitants up north. “You’d think they’d be celebrating,” he said.
This is usually the first and, more often than not, the second and third impression of foreigners in the Philippines. For one thing, the food in the Philippines is much less spicy and flavorful than its Southeast Asian counterparts. Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, even Cambodia use a wider array of spices, giving to food a kick unlike anything you’d really find here in the Philippines. But the reality is that food in the Philippines is delicious, if you know what to order. Continue reading →
Bacolod is in Negros Occidental, in the middle of the Philippines
I’ve now been here in Southeast Asia for 6 weeks and have yet to write about where I live. Faithful readers of this blog (mainly immediate family – my father comments on each article using a different pseudonym from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged) and others (everyone else) have heard about a range of topics, mainly microfinance, tourism, and my beard (the two-month update is only one short week away). I get a lot of questions, however, about where I actually am living in the Philippines. Beyond the fact that it is an archipelago with some active volcanoes and something dangerous happening in the south (Mindanao), people I talk to do not know much about the country, much less my adopted city of Bacolod. I am far from any active volcanoes, and I am not going to be kidnapped. In fact, more than once Bacolod has been described to me as a town that is too laid back to attract terrorists – they’d just get bored here. These are only a few of the many things I’d like to clear up here. This post is about the town I am calling home for the next few months. Continue reading →