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For meals in restaurants, viands are eaten NOT with bread, but with your choice of plain rice, fried rice or garlic rice. The rice is usually served on slightly singed banana leaves cut to the shape of the plate. The banana leaves impart a peculiar taste and aroma to the hot rice.
Rice is generally eaten using spoon and fork, but for viands that are grilled like "inasal", eating with hands is acceptable.
Updated Oct 25, 2010
When you go to a restaurant serving native foods, you'll see already set on the table a bottle of "sinamak", a bottle of soy sauce, and ready to squeeze calamansi on a saucer. It seems that almost all grilled foods are usually eaten with the following condiments: soy sauce with squeezed calamansi (native lemon) and "sinamak" (mixture of palm vinegar, sliced ginger, sliced onions, chili, and sliced bell pepper). Sometimes, "sinamak" is mixed with soy sauce as dip. One may also squeeze the calamansi directly on the grilled food, then use the "sinamak"-soy sauce dip.
Written Oct 28, 2010
I believe that the best way to learn about the culture of a place is by observing things and people around you; actually talking and mixing with the locals, and joining them in their festivals and fiestas. I did just that, and although the Bacolod residents often spoke their dialect (Ilonggo), I experienced the warmth, sincere friendship and hospitality of the people I met.
I had very happy moments with my cousin and cousin-in-law's relatives and friends who were all so thoughtful, helpful and hospitable. They enjoyed showing us around, they fed us like there was always a feast and they always checked on our needs and schedule. I can vouch that Bacolod residents generally love to entertain guests, and they enjoy introducing them to their circle of friends and relatives.
I also had wonderful moments with locals that I don't really personally know, and they showed me kindness and hospitality in their own way:
the housekeeping staff of Bacolod Business Inn who, when he heard my comment that the pillows were kinda flat, volunteered to change my pillow into a fluffy one, and he even added an extra pillow without me asking for it;
a woman beside me watching the street dancers berated a man in their dialect when she saw him position himself infront of me thus blocking my camera, so after being scolding the guy left, then the woman told me to go on taking pictures and videos;
a school/barangay official who let me in their "cordon sanitaire" so I can have a few moments to take shots of the VT flag held by the street dancers;
the staff of the Association of Negros Producers Showroom who answered all my queries about the ANP and some places in Bacolod, who graciously allowed me to hang the VT flag on their lobby display, and who thoughtfully gave us pointers on security when we go to watch the Masskara Festival;
and the driver of my cousin who tipped us on the best place to take close up shots of the street dancers with lesser difficulty and security risk.
Updated Nov 2, 2010
Most clans/families get together on weekends. I had the occasion to witness the get together of the Garcia Clan. After a festive meal, I was happy to see such affluent families discussing not business matters but stories about their family members, their socio-civic involvements, travels, guests, etc. There is also time for joking and "entertainment". That time, we were amused by a cute, smart boy named Sancho. Dressed in a Bishop's costume, he rendered a declamation. He seemed to enjoy the attention of all the adults. But we were in for a big surprise! He passed the hat for his "talent fee". Who could refuse such a cute little boy?
Updated Nov 2, 2010
I was told that when Aboy's Restaurant introduced the "Bibingka" and "Puto Bumbong", they became such a big hit to Bacolod diners.
On the streets of Bacolod, you can also have the "bibingka". Cooked on the streets and packed on the streets, the "bibingkas" are bought and eaten by locals who probably can't resist the aroma of burnt banana leaves and cooked rice cakes. I saw a husband and wife team of street "bibingka" vendors as we walked to the Cathedral. The man cooked the mini "bibingkas", took the cooked ones out of the tins and placed them on a table where the woman took care of brushing them with margarine and sold them. I saw a man buy some for his kids. Business was brisk at P0.50 each.
Written Nov 2, 2010
Far from the aristocratic types I imagined, the affluent in Bacolod do not dress up to impress. In fact, many wealthy people don’t wear flashy clothes and jewelry in public; they dress up and act simply. Ilonggos enjoy a good life, but the affluent find time for socio-civic and religious projects.
Slow And Easy:
I gathered that there are many migrants from Metro Manila and Luzon who have learned to love living in Bacolod. The City has a lot of job/investment opportunities, and it has the amenities of modern living. The roads are nice without monstrous traffic on the way to work, so the migrants have learned to take their day’s tasks leisurely, albeit slow and easy, and not in a hurried, stressful way.
Breakfast is between 9-10AM, lunch begins at about 1 or 2PM, and dinner is much later because they have siesta or afternoon coffee with friends/relatives. Siesta or afternoon nap is a Spanish influence that most Ilonggos in Bacolod still practice. Many restaurants close between 2-4PM, I wonder if it is because of the siesta habit. Bedtime is about 11PM.
Written Nov 11, 2010
When crisis hit the sugar industry, many of the workers who were displaced didn’t wallow in self-pity. Rising above their misfortune of losing jobs, many took a chance to work abroad. The overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) now send money to their families, thus improving their standard of living. The wife now shops in malls and works out in the gym; the children eat well, dress up well and go to good schools in cars. Don’t be surprised to see the family of the OFWs riding in expensive cars/SUVs. Banks through which remittances are made by the OFWs allegedly give them car loans without collateral.
Written Nov 11, 2010
Aside from their sincere and warm hospitality, guess what you’ll immediately notice about the people of Bacolod: their sweet way of talking in an indescribable melodious tone. You’ll also observe that they really love to entertain guests. They are eager to meet friends/relatives of friends and they enjoy conversation over food and/or dessert/drinks.
Written Nov 11, 2010
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