Sunday, December 25, 2011

Organic Cookfest at the 6th Negros Organic Farmers Festival

Negros Occidental, in cooperation of the Dept of Agriculture, ONOPRA, NISARD, hosted the 6th Negros Organic Farmers Festival on Dec 16-20, 2011.  Among the highlights of the festival was the Organic Cookfest which was a cooking demo conducted by prominent chefs from Bacolod and Manila.

The chefs were invited to show to the audience how organic produce can be used as ingredients to  cooking.  They concocted some recipes that are appealing to the eyes yet healthy because they are pesticide-free.

Chef Ian Mckenzie with his stewed chicken.

tomatoes with white cheese

Chef Sau del Rosario made this vegetable topped with basil leaves.

Stewed chicken by Chef Ian Mckenzie

Paella by Manny Torrejon of Manolo's in Paranaque City

Chef Robby Goco of Cyma Restaurants prepared 3 recipes

Greek Summer Salad

Happy Eating, everyone!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rapha Valley

An hour's drive from Bacolod City and you can be transported into a place where you can appreciate the cool breeze of the mountain air amidst the slopes and valleys of  the municipality of Don Salvador Benedicto.  This place is called Rapha Valley named after Jehovah Rapha which means "the Lord God heals". (Psalm 147:3)  wow!  Isn't it just appropriate?  This place is owned by spouses Albert & Marilou Jo.  Albert was a medical doctor but now he is an advocate for natural healing.  He was asked by his father to take up medicine.  But he realized that he has a passion for cooking.  And now he realized his dream by cooking for his guests at the farm, which he enjoys.


Guests are welcome to the farm with some light snacks consisting of black rice puto, herbed casuy cheese, bloodless dinuguan pate and carrot juice.

Dr. Albert Jo welcomes his guests and leads them down to the vegetable garden.  He would tell you the names of the herbs and what are they good for.  Any leaf that has not been sprayed with insecticide is edible, he said.

Lemon grass is planted as hedges to keep away pests and insects from going to the plants.  Lemon grass is widely used and an herb and commonly used in tea and soups for us Filipinos.  For my juice, I boil the leaves, add calamansi juice and honey and voila!  I have a refreshing cool drink for the day.

At the greenhouse are different kinds of plants:  from stevia to goto kola to edible flowers.  So many that  the names I can no longer recall.

Rows of asparagus plants.  and we picked up some spears and they were so crunchy!

Guests listen to Dr. Jo's descriptions of plants and how they can heal our bodies.

On the left is the greenhouse where you can find some edible flowers and herbs.  On top is their resthouse which has a loft which serves as their bedroom.  Lunch is served in that big white tent.

This is the panoramic view as seen from inside the
tent as you enjoy your lunch especially made from Dr. Jo's organic recipe.

The tent has a fine net so guests could see the view of the vegetable garden and the mountains as far as your eyes can see.

For tours, pls email

Sunday, November 27, 2011

5 de Noviembre - Silay City

The Cry at El Cinco de Noviembre.  Upon the request of the Iloilo Revolutionary Council to start hostilities, Gen. Aniceto Lacson of Talisay, the military commander of Northern Negros went to Silay in November 3 to meet Nicolas Golez, deputy military commander, Leandro Locsin and Melecio Severino.  They set the date of the uprising on November 5, 1898.  Messengers were sent out to inform the hacienderos to bring the troops armed with bolos and machete.  The pistols and rifle were not even enough to arm 15 people.


On November 4, the Silaynon rebels cut off all telegraphic wires.  The repairman was sent into Silay but the residents did not allow the connection.

Cinco de Noviembre played a significant role in the history of Silay.  On that day at about 2:00 in the afternoon, Silaynons gathered in the street corner now known as Cinco de Noviembre Street and from there they proceeded to the Spanish garrison near the Catholic Church.  It was a bloodless revolution.  At first, the Spanish civil guards refused to surrender but after the negotiation with the revolutionaries through the help of Juan Viaplana, a local Spaniard, they surrendered.  The agreement papers mentioned that the civil guards gave up only after a heroic resistance against overwhelming odds.  It was done to save Spanish honor.  The Philippine flag made by Olympia Severino, Eutropia Yorac and Perpetua Severino was raised for the first time at the plaza on that memorable day – Saturday, November 5, 1898.  Leandro Locsin was acclaimed temporary president after the signing of the terms of surrender.  Timoteo Unson and the group of Silaynons marched to Talisay to join forces with the Talisaynon for the attack of Bacolod.

Silay City commemorates this day by staging a reenactment of the march from the marker up to the plaza.  This day is also called the Negros Day which is a non-working day in the province.  The City Government of Silay has cultural activities in the plaza.  Dances, selling of vegetables and home-grown delicacies.

The Negros Cultural Foundation also holds the 14th Adobo Festival at the Balay Negrense grounds.  Highlight is a cooking competition of different kinds of adobo.

The grounds is laden with tables and chairs to create a fiesta ambiance.  Lunch consists of different kinds of adobo.  From seafoods to vegetables to pork and chicken.

Robert Harland's winning entry in last year's  adobo cooking competition, Adobo Crevette a l' Anglaise (Shrimp adobo English Style).

It is a fun day for the people who gather each year.  Always looking forward to new recipes in the competition.  For the first timers, they are always awed by the wide variety of our Negrense cuisine.

Babylan's Cococrafts

This woman found fortune in coconut shells.  She started with 4 workers in 1988 when they were making picture frames, jewelry boxes, office accessories made from coconut shells.

Maxima "Baby" and her husband Rolando Madera named their business after their daughter's name, Babylan.

This candle holder is among the popular items in her line.

jewelry boxes

This is my favorite.  This can be a  container for even a fruit salad!

Now, her clients include, among others, the Amanpulo Resort and a resort in Maldives.

A must-buy for tourists as a souvenir from Negros Island.

These products are displayed and sold at the Negros Showroom in Lacson St and at their newly opened branch at Robinsons Place Central Citywalk, Bacolod City.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Experience Bacolod Local Tours


Experience Bacolod city thru its sights, church & museum.

Duration:  4 hours
Schedule:  8am to 12nn/1pm to 5pm
Rate: P950 per pax

1.   Aircon vehicle throughout the tour.
2.  DOT Accredited Tour Guide
3.  Entrance fees to all places indicated
4.  Tour coordination to all destinations.

Tour will run with a minimum of 6pax



Step into the homes of the hacienderos and now
  tourist landmarks.
Learn about the lifestyle of the sugarcane farm   
 owners during those times.

Duration:  4 hours
Schedule:  8am to 12nn/1pm to 5pm
Rate:  P1,150.00 per pax

1.   Aircon vehicle throughout the tour.
2.  DOT Accredited Tour Guide
3.  Entrance fees to all places indicated
4.  Tour coordination to all destinations.

Tour will run with a minimum of 6pax


Learn more about the organic way of living.
Visit an integrated demo farm.
Observe the process of silk making and experience
  mulberry picking.

Duration:  4 hours
Schedule:  8am to 12nn/1pm to 5pm
Rate:  P1,050.00 per pax

1.   Aircon vehicle throughout the tour.
2.  DOT Accredited Tour Guide
3.  Entrance fees to all places indicated
4.  Tour coordination to all destinations.

Tour will run with a minimum of 6pax

Tours can be customized according to your preferences.

CONTACT:  0917-3000060

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Don Aniceto Lacson Ancestral House

Who is Gen. Aniceto Lacson?  Bacolod's main thoroughfare was named after him.  He is the first and only President of the Negros Republic. He was the general who led the revolutionaries North of Negros which led to the surrender  of the Spanish Forces in Negros thus liberated the island of Negros from Spanish rule on November 5, 1898.  Hence,  Negros Day is commemorated on that date to honor the Negrense revolutionaries who fought against the Spanish forces.

Built in the 1880's, this Balay na Bato was known as the Malacanang of the South.  The groundfloor is surrounded by windows while the second floor is surrounded by doors.

The  house was used by the Japanese forces as their headquarters.  The Americans also used it and took good care of it.  In the 70's the Marian monks lived here, but apparently left unsettled bills of the power company.

The only house in Negros which has  a balcony wrapped around the perimeter of the house.

This chapel is still functional.  Mass is held at least once a month.

His great-granddaughter, Anna Claparols Balcells, showed the Negros tour guides the house of Don Aniceto Lacson.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Casa Carmela Kitchen

Piaya. a flat, round, flaky pastry with sweet filling.  that could be one description of a piaya.  but a piayito?  it could be a small piaya.


who would ever think that this sweet and flaky delicacy would evolve into something thin, crisp and smaller?  Kudos to Casa Carmela Kitchen's continued study on research and development for coming  up with a new twist to our local piaya.  It was in 2003 when they  make their piaya with the traditional filling---muscovado.  A year later, they innovated the piaya, not only making it crisp and thin but with new fillings such as ube, pandan, mango, calamansi, espresso & dalandan.  In 2005, the bite-sized piayas were introduced.  It is called 'piayito'.

I'm so intrigued with this piayito.  In each bite into this thin flake, you would hear the crisp and the crunch.  yummy.....each bite always leads to another, until you finish off one, two, no....three packs in all.  or even more that you would lose count.  but when you are watching your figure, you have to stop somewhere.   though you can always go back.  shhhhhh......don't tell anyone you're dipping your hand into the piaya jar again.  as they say, you have to treat your sweet cravings.

and it comes in many flavors such as espresso, rhum, and muscovado.

and to down those sweet delights, you can wash it off with these various wellness teas that Casa Carmela offers.  You have choices of Lemon  Grass & Ginger Tea,  Papaya Tea,  Banaba & Lemon Grass Tea and MalunggayTea.

Millie Kilayko, entrepreneur and social change advocate, is the person behind the success of Casa  Carmela.  They are proud to say that in 2006, Philippine Air Lines contracted Casa Carmela to provide these bit-sized piayas for their international inflight meals.

Local spreads were also introduced into the market in 2009.  If you can't bring a chicken inasal in your suitcase, then these bottled ones would surely find their places in yours.

These products are available at the 26th Negros Trade Fair on Sept 28 - Oct. 2, 2011 at the Rockwell Tent, Makati City.

One o the many products that will be launched during this event is the Wild Mushroom in Olive Oil.

I'm looking forward to tasting and buying these goodies at the Negros Trade Fair at Rockwell Tent, Makati on Sept 28 - Oct. 2, 2011.  See y'all there.