Travel and Culture

Baudelaire and the Red Horse

It is the greatest art of the devil to convince us he does not exist. - Charles Baudelaire, 1821-1867 Here in the Philippines, the brewery is called San Miguel.  Founded in 1890, the company employs 26,000 people and holds 90% of the Philippine market.  The largest brewery in the country is right here in Bacolod, so there is a lot of San Miguel pride.  There are three main brands - the San Mig Light, the Pale Pilsen, and the Red Horse.   The first two are perfectly acceptable choices in any situation, particularly for the health-conscious traveler that wants to mitigate the fried pork's feet.  In fact, as long as a food is small enough to fit in the pan, Filipinos will fry it.  If it is too big, they will cut it into two pieces and fry both.  But this is besides the point.   The third beer, Red Horse, is affectionately known as the Water of the Devil.  It is truly a horse of a different color - a poisonous, deadly color.  It is the color of blood and fire.  Brewed deep in the pits of hell by the lost souls cast down after being bucked from the stallion, the Horse boasts a beastly 7% alcohol content.  Few among the living have entered the ring with the horse and left with their dignity intact. (more…)

Travel and Culture

Bacolod Living

[caption id="attachment_209" align="alignleft" width="204" caption="Bacolod is in Negros Occidental, in the middle of the Philippines"][/caption] 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. (more…)