Tuesday, November 1, 2022

The pandemic has certainly hampered people's wanderlust for the past two and a half years. To date, a lot of Metro Manila residents have not left the city yet for other islands down south.  Enter Negros Island, the Sweet Spot of the Philippines.  Negros is known not just for being the sugar capital of the Philippines, it is also known as one of the culinary capitals of the country.

From Negros comes the world famous Chicken Inasal which recently was adjudged as the the fifth best chicken dish in the world by Taste Atlas.  Other favorites for which Negros is known for are the yummy treats like the original Roli's Napoleones, a dessert made of puff pastry layered with pastry cream and glazed on the top.

For those who haven't had a chance to fill up on Negrense food and delicacies through the pandemic, the University of St. La Salle Alumni Association - Manila Chapter and Rockwell Center Bacolod present the first ever Namit-Namit Food Festival on November 4, 5, and 6, 2022 at the Hidalgo Drive of the Rockwell Center in Makati.

This culinary happening will allow visitors to taste authentic chicken inasal as brought by Bacolod Chicken Inasal, JT's Manukan, and Inasalan sa Dalan. Kansi by Pat-Pat's Kansi, and Sate Babi of Bob's Bacolod fame will be there too.  All in all, eleven (11) food merchants from Negros will treat visitors to an array of Negrense cuisine which will surely tickle visitors' palates with the festival of flavors.

The Namit Namit Food Festival, with all its tasty goodies are not just a delight to the palate.  It is also a delight to the soul of every visitor with Negrense roots.  It can be said that food can be a momentary time machine to the past.  This holds true for those who grew up in Bacolod in the 1960s to the 1980s and recall the well loved tastes of Bob's and Roli's.  Bob's serves up the all time favorite Sate Babi and Fruit Punch plus more, while Roli's treats us with the original Napoleones which Negrenses have learned to love through the years.

Complete list of food outlets in the Namit Namit Food Festival:

1. Manolo’s of Chef Manny Torrejon
2. Bacolod Chicken Inasal
3. Sir & Ma’am
4. Inasalan sa Dalan                              
5. Pat-pat's Kansi
JT’s Manukan  
7. The original Roli's Napoleones
8. Quan
9. Bob's
10. Quino's
11. Grem's Deli

The original Roli's Napoleones

Sate Babi and Fruit Punch from Bob's

The Best of Negros Island Delicacies and Cuisine at Rockwell on November 4, 5, and 6, 2022

The pandemic has certainly hampered people's wanderlust for the past two and a half years. To date, a lot of Metro Manila residents hav...

Sunday, June 5, 2022


I recently visited Silay in my first ever trip outside of Luzon in in three and a half years.  Blame it on the pandemic, my family and I have been limited to travels 250km away from home at the maximum. This trip was short but I was really thankful for it for it allowed me to have a glimpse of what life would be like for a Talonggo (Tagalog-Ilonggo) in a post-COVID-19 world, with all the adjustments in terms of travel preferences.

Upon arrival at the Bacolod-Silay Airport, Atty. Eli Gatanela and wife Elena, whisked me away to the hills in Patag for a lunch hosted by Raymund and Yves Javellana.  Raymund as we may have known, is the dynamo behind turning the Ruins into one of the top tourist attractions in Negros, once of the 12 most fascinating ruins in the world, and one of the best landmarks in the Philippines, which was recently voted by netizens as the Best Heritage Site for 2016 sponsored by Choose Philippines, the travel website of ABS-CBN.

Raymund and Yves have blissfully relocated themselves in this private enclave of like minded nature and serenity lovers in the cool environment of Patag in Silay.  As they prepared a sumptuous lunch, I zoomed in on the callos, which is often present in Negrense lunches.  I've written about callos in the past and Raymund and Yves' callos is really up there with the best.

Throughout the short visit to Negros, the culinary highlight this time was the Lumpia I brought home to Manila.  My cousin Tina Tronco-Baldevia messaged me the afternoon before I would fly back to Manila if I would want to bring home Lumpia from Silay.  All of us in the family love lumpia made of ubod (coconut pith).

In the seventies, I knew that there would be a lunch to be hosted at home because our kusinera, Elenita, would stack up lumpia in the freezer the on the eve of the lunch.  I'd open up our freezer and you'd see all the lumpia stacked up in rolls with the green sibuyas dahon jutting out.

I picked up the lumpia from Tina's house on the way to the airport and was excited to have this for merienda when I got home to Manila.  For those who aren't familiar with the Lumpia of Silay, this is the unique derivation of the Chinese spring roll created with the ingredients we find in abundance in Negros, the sweet spot of the Philippines.

The Lumpia of Silay is distinct and unlike those in most parts of the Philippines. While most "fresh" or uncooked (sariwa) lumpia elsewhere consists of sautéed vegetables in a white flour-and-water wrapper, and occasionally in some parts garnished with ground peanuts or a sauce, the Lumpia of Silay is different.

The soul of the Lumpia of Silay is the ubod or coconut pith. The ubod is always fresh as can be.  The coconut tree cut down for ubod only hours before, so that the pith is not only white but sweet and juicy yet crunchy.  The crunchiness accentuated by shreds of chicharon (pork cracklings) and a leaf of local lettuce.

As for the freshness of the ubod, as far as I remember, in Negros, there were small trees just for ubod sometimes planted between full-size nut-bearing trees.  That's  farm to table for you, long before farm to table became a buzzword.

I thank Tina for sending me off with a box of Lumpia from Silay. More than a week after we had the last piece of lumpia here in Manila, this Talonggo is still craving for lumpia of Silay - the culinary capital of Negros.

SILAY on my Tastebuds

  I recently visited Silay in my first ever trip outside of Luzon in in three and a half years.  Blame it on the pandemic, my family and I ...

Monday, May 23, 2022




Sunday, May 22, 2022

I was going through my old blog and came upon this gem which I wrote on Friday, September 22, 2006.  I had just left corporate work at McCann-Erickson a year before and was doing things as I had wanted.  The title of this piece from that old blog was : What's so important about being 36

What's so important about being 36?  More specifically, 36 years and eight months old.

Let me tell you.

At the age of 36 years and eight months old, you would have only 40 months left before you turn 40.

If you were to make a list entitled "Forty things I would like to do before I turn Forty", this would mean that you'd have at least one item to do every month as you wind down the days to the big 4-0.  That way, your list would be more realistic as you could rename it to "Forty things I would like to do in the Forty Months before I turn Forty".

Not unless of course you are a crammer and you would prefer to have a list entitled "Forty things I would like to do in the Forty DAYS before I turn Forty"

Retirement Strategy : What's so important about being 36

I was going through my old blog and came upon this gem which I wrote on Friday, September 22, 2006.  I had just left corporate work at McCan...

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

I never really knew how my parents met until I was 17 years old.  I was in the UP College of Architecture when I had a classmate who said she also grew up in Bacolod, though I could not remember seeing her in the early years, given that Bacolod was a small town and that people would usually bump into each other in church or at birthday parties.

One time, I asked my mom if she had known this family name of my classmate and she quickly said without batting an eyelash, "Yes, she's the daughter of your Tita Manon, the one who introduced me to your dad".

I was thinking to myself, "How small could the world be?". 

My mom, loved to write things.  But I hardly came across this note she made about meeting my dad in 1965.   She wrote, "Our first meeting was at the office of Robert Borja, where Manon Campos and I were working in his furniture business as interior designers.   That evening Manon and I went with Larry to see Billy Abueva's latest works in sculpture at his home in Diliman, Quezon City.  Also there were Jerry and Virgie Navarro, Robert Borja and of course, the host and hostess, Mr. & Mrs. Abueva".

Billy Abueva as we know became National Artist for sculpture many years after, while Jerry Navarro became National Artist for painting.

Art was the invisible yet highly palpable bond between my mom and dad.  My mom was an interior designer who went to school at the New York School of Interior Design with Tita Manon.  That was after Tita Manon had studied under my dad at the University of Santo Tomas College of Fine Arts.

Mom and Tita Manon in the US

My dad, well, he was this art professor by day but ad agency creature by night.  He lived and breathed art.  He was a scholar of the Spanish government in the early 1950s to Spain together with two other National Artists in the making, Cesar Legaspi and Arturo Luz, to study at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid.

My Dad worked as one of those original advertising guys of the 1950s and 1960s

Interestingly, my mom's family name, Ramos, was also my dad's middle name.  Though both had come from Negros, the Ramos of my mom from Bacolod are hardly related to the Ramoses of the south (Kabankalan and Himamaylan). 

I look at their courtship as an interesting one.  On one side was the small town boy coming from Kabankalan, who was very practical in every sense, having seen World War II as a teenager and stood as an elder among his kin when they were orphaned at the onset of the war.

On the other side was this petite lady who grew up in a more ideal environment when compared side by side to my dad's hardships. My dad finished high school in Kabankalan, while my mom was schooled in Assumption in Herran St.  Both were from Negros.  Both had spent time studying abroad.  But destiny had led them to meet in the melting pot of Manila.

They married in 1967 at the St. Peter and Paul Parish in Makati, lived nearby until 1975 and in that year, made a monumental move to relocate to Negros despite my dad's flourishing career in art and advertising in Manila.

Billy Abueva, Jess Aiko, and my dad, Larry Tronco

Through the time they stayed in Negros, many other artist friends came by to see them in their abode.  Billy Abueva came by again, Cesar Legaspi stayed, Malang came by, and my dad's tukayo and compadre, Larry Alcala, eventually settled in Bacolod.  National Artists all.

Their earthly union lasted for 18 years until 1985 when my dad contracted amyloidosis, a rare disease which to date has no cure apart from treatment options focused on relieving symptoms and prolonging life.

My mom,  Joan Ramos Tronco went on to live life as a widow in Bacolod for a good 29 years, looking forward to the day she would be reunited with her love, Larry Tronco.  And in the early morning of February 9, 2014, she left this earth in time for her heavenly Valentine date with Larry, eager to tell him all the stories of their children Joyce, Lloyd, and their spouses and their grandchildren.

The blogger, Lloyd Tronco, is an Artist, Writer, Entrepreneur and Designer.  He is a Negrense based in Metro Manila.

Two Negrenses Meet In Manila - A Love Story from the 1960s

I never really knew how my parents met until I was 17 years old.  I was in the UP College of Architecture when I had a classmate who said sh...


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