My Little Christmas Lesson


Sa opinion ng iba, ang Pasko ay para lamang sa mga bata. I detest the idea. Kasi hindi ko na pwedeng i-categorize ng sarili ko as “bata” e (at sure akong may hahampas sa mukha ko left, right and center kung ipipilit kong bata pa ako – gumising ka sa katotohanan!) Pero siempre gusto ko rin mag-celebrate walang pwedeng magasabi na hindi ko ito deserve. Pero ano nga ba ang ibig nilang sabihin?

Ok, kung meron kayong mga bata sa bahay I’m sure alam ninyo ito.

Patutulugin mo sila ng maaga at sasabihin mong merong Santa Claus na magdadala sa kanila ng regalo pag natulog sila, para lamang gisingin muli bago pumatak ang alas dose, so we can tell them ”Merry Christmas.. eto na ang gift mo”. Pipilitin mo silang bumangon para kumain ng niluto mong pang Noche Buena kahit umiiyak sila dahil sa antok. Tapos pag gising na gising na sila at ayaw ng matulog dahil sa kalalaro ng bigay ni santa na laruan…magagalit ka, kasi ikaw naman ang inaantok na sa pagod at alas dos na ng umaga! Yan ang aming scenario.

Naiintindihan nga ba nila kung bakit sila gumigisng ng madaling araw? At kakain ng crepe at 12:30am! Anong meron at may regalo galing ke santa? At sino nga ba itong santa na tinatawag nila..lolo ko ba yan para bigyan ako ng cheap na plastic na bowling set, ka-share ko pa si kulot????

Para sa mga batang 22 months old at 5 years old..ano nga ba ito? (Oh I know…ganti gantihan lang kasi ganyan din ang ginagawa ng mga magulang namin noon! Pasusulatin pa nila kami – charing! ke santa kung anong gusto namin, pero ending hindi rin naman iyon ang natatanggap mo kasi either mahal o kakailanganin talaga ng matinding divine intervention ang mga hinihingi mo.)


So, ang ibig ba nilang sabihin… ang Pasko ay para sa mga batang hindi nakakaintindi kung ano ang ”Pasko”?? E paano naman ang sa mga katulad nating bumibili ng regalo, nagpapakapagod sa pagluluto at nagpupumilit na magcelebrate dahil akala natin naiintindihan natin kung ano ito?

Ang sagot sa tanong ko.. pinakita ng mga anak ko. Hindi man nila alam, pero binigyan nila ako ng isang napaka importanteng leksyon. Na OO dapat nga pala paminsan minsan bumalik tayo sa pagkabata, sa pagka inosente. To those times when we still don’t know how to judge people, we don’t expect much (and get frustrated), to those times we are contented with the basic things we need and that there is such a thing as “nice and cheap”. For an innocent child, it doesn’t matter if its 28 March or 16 September…basta may makakain…Pasko!

Sa mata ng mga anak ko pinakamasarap ang crepe na ginawa ko kahit alanganing hilaw alanganing sunog. Yummy ang meatloaf, ang ilang pirasong ham at tsokolate Eh. Pinaglaruan nila ng husto ang murang murang bowling set – na habang si ate e nagco-concentrate sa paghihilera ng mga pins, si kulot naman e nageenjoy sa pagtutumba nito..hanggang umiyak tuloy si ate..wawa.

At sa gitna ng maingay nilang tawanan at iyakan, tinuturuan naman nila si mommy ng leksyon….not to judge, not to complain. Life is fine, take it easy. Kahit mahirap ang buhay, if we know how to be simple innocent children, we will enjoy it.



My apologies for this late round-up . . . When I took on the responsibility to host LP’s 16th Edition, I was already infancipating . . . A healthy baby Andrea joined my family in late February. I am now back to work in Brunei . . .

As the holiday season made its way into our homes again, whether we lovingly welcome it in or we protect ourselves from its infectious effects, we will end up giving or receiving a gift or two! There is just no excuse! Whatever amount it is, big or small, for the well heeled or not, giving is just what Christmas is all about.

For most Filipinos, who for 500 years have been Christianized, and grew up with Catholicism in their blood stream, the celebration of the birth of Christ will always be a joyous occasion. There is the much-awaited Noche Buena – midnight feast done on the eve of Christmas day, after we come back from Misa de Gallo (or Midnight Mass). The following day we continue the celebration with our best dresses on, for our traditional Christmas lunch – also the reunion lunch which normally would extend till dinner, with a lot of karaoke sessions in between. (Yes, karaoke! you are not a full blooded Pinoy if you don’t enjoy it or haven’t tried it at least! It is like a San Miguel Beer or our famous balut! Believe me, I have been away from the Philippines for quite some time now, but from where we stay – you will definitely know which houses belonged to Filipinos because Nonoy Zuniga wannabes will try very hard to give it their best shot for “I’ll never say goodbye”, and that would be like 7:30 in the morning! Love it or hate, its just so Pinoy!

Anyway, enough of the sidetrack and lets get down to the wonderful recipes & gift ideas you have shared for this round of Lasang Pinoy! It was a wonderful journey into their kitchen and a sneak peak into the lives of our dear friends from all over the world for last year’s Christmas celebration!

Here they are . . .

Ces Anciano’s Choco Crinkles

Choco Crinkles from essenCes.

Dhey’s Refrigerator Cake

Dhey’s Refrigerated Cake.

Chicken Feed

Erwin’s Fil-Canadian Lechon Manok at Iskandals.

Fried Chicken at Iskandals

Iska’s Crispy Fried Chicken at Iskandals.

Mango Jam

Mango Jam from Joey’s 80Breakfasts.

KinittyMommy’s Butter Tarts

KnittyMommy’s Butter Tarts.

Tangerine Ginger Cookies

Tangerine Ginger Cookies from Little Bites Of Nutrition.

Marketman’s Pinoy Food Gifts - 01

Marketman’s Pinoy Food Gifts | Part 1.

Marketman’s Pinoy Food Gifts - 02

Marketman’s Pinoy Food Gifts | Part 2.

Marketman’s Pinoy Food Gifts - 03

Marketman’s Pinoy Food Gifts | Part 3.

Mel’s Tamales

Tamales from Mel’s Kitchen and Garden.

Pinoy Cook’s Chocolate Polvoron

Chocolate Polvoron from Sassy, the Pinoy Cook.

Puto, Bibingka, Ensaymada and Yule Log Cake from Simply Anne’s.

Bibingka, Ensaymada, Yule Log Cake and Puto from Simply Anne’s.

Rellenong Manok and Biscotti from Stefoodie.

Rellenong Manok and Biscotti from Stefoodie.

Veronica’s Fruit Cake

Veronica’s Fruit Cake.

Haleyang Ube

and Ala Eh’s Haleyang Ube.

And since this round-up is kinda late, I hope that this would help our fellow foodies around and give them enough ideas on food gift giving for the coming holidays!

Thank you very much for joining Lasang Pinoy 16!


Lasang Pinoy 16: Pinoy Holiday Food Gifts | HALEYANG UBE


During the festive holidays, no matter how early we prepare for our gifts, for the food that we would like on our Noche Buena Table for the celebration, we will still end up cramming for things to buy on Christmas Eve itself. And I suppose like everywhere else, you have to battle your way through long queues at the supermarket (…for that 1 can of tomato sauce you forgot to buy, argh!), haggle and bargain in wet markets for the fresh veggies and fruits you need that day. Or get that last gift for a friend – because you were having second thoughts on whether to buy it earlier on, hoping she doesn’t show up so you can save a few bucks, but you thought “what-d-heck it is Christmas, just buy it anyway.”

Food gifts are just the right solution if you don’t really want to drag yourself into the malls during the very busy period. You can cook it yourself or just place an order from your favorite restaurant or bakeshop – ready to be picked up when you have the time. (Of course it is always a good idea to make your orders in advance). They are perfect to bring to Christmas gathering and family reunions, or give to relatives and friend. In my younger years, I remember my family buys loads of “Haleyang ube” for this reason. We don’t really cook it :) but my mama would order a few trays or “llaneras” as we call it, to be given away.

Im not sure if some of you can even recall, some “haleyas” being sold in Manila in the early 80’s in a shape of a fish – a very purple fish! (don’t ask me why or what the fish would symbolize, but it sure was the mould used at that time. Trend maybe?) It will be delivered around the 23rd or the morning of the 24th, and we kids would start giving it to our favorite neighbors soon after. It was a very pleasing experience knocking on their doors, giving it to the “misis” upstairs, and remembering the happy look on her face.

Nowadays, I don’t really know what my family would give away for Christmas, not being there for a few years – it could be the pasta carbonnara or crema de fruita, but I’m sure the spirit of giving food is still very much in tradition in our family. I though it will be difficult for me to come up with a photo to put for this round of Lasang Pinoy, luckily, our favorite Pinoy restaurant here in Brunei – Renyi’s had this sweet delicacy served during the holiday season! And to my surprise, when we had a visit on the 24th you can see a lot of “llaneras” lined up along side pancit and leche flans ready to be delivered to Pinoy homes in time for Noche Buena.

haleyang ube


1 kilo ube
¼ kg sugar
3 cups coconut milk
1 cup condensed milk


According to “Manang”, cook of Renyi’s – as we all call her, you boil your ube till it is tender, (but make sure you don’t over cook it, otherwise would be too soggy). Drain then mash ube and mix well with sugar and coconut milk.

In a low heat pan, put in your ube mixture, add the butter and condensed milk, while you continuously stir and the whole mixture is well blended and smooth. Transfer into your favorite mould, (if you happen to have the fish, by all means us it! :), let it cool and serve.

Happy Holidays!

Lasang Pinoy 16

Lasang Pinoy, which could mean ‘tastes of something Filipino’ or short for ‘the Filipino taste’ is a monthly food blogging event to promote Filipino food. It is a product of e-mail brainstorming sessions of several Filipino food bloggers who thought it was time for a Filipino event in the tradition of Is My Blog Burning. The blogger organisers of Lasang Pinoy and participants strive to make the events reflective of Filipino culture.



“It’s that time of year, when good friends are dear, and you wish you could give more than just presents from a store . . .”

Lasang Pinoy 16Another year, another Christmas will soon pass our way. For those of us who have celebrated this – year after year after year, for soooo many years…aren’t we tired of it?

HECK NO! This is the month that most of us look forward to – the whole year! The magic that comes with Christmas, somehow washes off our negative vibes, rejuvenates our “happy” hormones, and pushes us to tirelessly prepare for the numerous celebrations. And like everywhere else in the world, this is the time to bond, the time to give, the time to share.

For the 16th Edition of Lasang Pinoy Food Blogging Event that ALA EH! is proud to host, we tackle the challenges of gift-giving – PINOY HOLIDAY FOOD GIFTS in particular. The challenge of gift giving turns holiday cheer into holiday fear for many. Gift etiquette and choosing the perfect HOLIDAY FOOD GIFT stumps even the savviest of shoppers. What you should give and whom you should give to are two questions sure to cause hours of deliberation and, finally, preparation and cooking – if you have to do it yourself!

Filipinos are natural gift-givers. For example, when someone cooks pansit, lumpia or turon, they are usually shared with neighbors or relatives. In a Filipino party, the host customarily prepares abundant food so that guests could take some of the delicious food home. Filipino hospitality and generosity always show up during Christmas; special cakes, fruits and other food items would be sent by those who could afford them. Such gifts would be sent a few days before Christmas, in time for the receiving family’s Noche Buena or on Christmas day. []

Christmas, the longest festival in the Philippines, has always been a special time for Filipinos. It is a season of togetherness with all the members of the family — grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and even neighbors and close friends whom we come to regard as family. Christmas won’t be Pinoy without a lot of people gathered around the dining table during noche buena, or by the sala during gift-giving time. Pinoys don’t really care much for Santa Claus and his reindeers. As long as friends and family are there, with lots of FOOD, then, Christmas will always be Pinoy.

Therefore, FOOD GIFTS are some of the most welcome and appreciated tokens of sharing during the Christmas season.

And for this round, tell us about all your wonderful food gift ideas! It could be something you cook to take to family reunions, gatherings at friends’ places, potluck Christmas parties, etc.

Or tell us a story about that particular dish you love to cook and give away during the holidays – about its origin or tradition. Or say, your family is known to cook a special dish for generations, and during family reunions or other holiday gatherings, you are expected to bring it along. Or dishes you grew up cooking with your lola, mom, sister, brother, or kids during the season.

You don’t cook? Tell us then about food gifts you love to buy from supermarkets, restaurants, pastry shops, and even from enterprising Pinoys around the metropolis.

For those outside the Philippines, dishes that are popular in your area and how you make it as something your own – Pinoy style!

Who may participate?

All Filipino food bloggers are highly-encouraged to join the event, be they in the country or abroad.

Non-food bloggers of Filipino ancestry are also invited; no matter how many generations they have been out of the country or who have never been to the Philippines but still identify themselves as Filipino [or part Filipino, married or related to Filipinos].

Entries from other Filipino food and culture enthusiasts are very much welcome.

Non-bloggers may also join as long as their entries are hosted in any blog.

How to participate?

All entries must be submitted by 30th December 2006 at 7:30 pm, Manila time. A round-up will be published after the New Year celebs.

For entries [or further queries], you may send an email to or to with your name, address, the name of your blog, and the permalink to your entry.

You may also post it via the comment section of this post. For non-bloggers, you can email your article and photo, if you have, with the same particulars. We would be more than happy to host it in one of the sites.

Please indicate in the subject field Lasang Pinoy 16 [ ’Entry’ or ‘Query’ ] for all correspondence to facilitate identification.

Please also include this tag Lasang Pinoy 16 at the end of your post, to ping Technocrati.

By the way, I’d like to mention/remind the important fact that Lasang Pinoy was created to promote Filipino food. Therefore, as a challenge to everyone, I would love for those of you who have never tried Pinoy food before, to maybe try one of the recipes that have already been posted in any of the Filipino food bloggers site listed here, find a recipe you like, play around and have a ball with it and share your creations this holiday season with friends and loved ones.

Happy cooking and happy holidays!

Lasang Pinoy 16


Lasang Pinoy 15: Recycled, Reloaded! [CHEESY PAN DE MENUDO]


Ok, now that I’m finally over my morning sickness stage, dreaming of tasty food is back in my repertoire of things to do when my mind is not preoccupied with office work. I’m back to looking forward to lunch and dinner, or what’s good to eat for merienda, not to mention, I’ve attempted cooking again! A task I normally let my husband lovingly do if he’s not tired, or my daughter’s yaya who after nearly two years learned a few edible tricks.

This time around, too, I kinda promised myself to document my experiments in the kitchen and continue this blog I started last year after joininmg two LP rounds . . . Well, hopefully . . .

When Mang Mike told me about Lasang Pinoy 15’s theme, I got excited because I have a few ideas flashing in my head. However to those who are not familiar with Filipino food, I hope you will not think, we are being un-hygienic or anything because they are called “leftovers”, these are simply untouched, unspoiled, properly stored food that we did not manage to finish during a feast or dinner. These are Filipino dishes like menudo, or embutido, or adobo that just tastes so much better the day after that, re-inventing them is such a good idea!

Filipinos are known to be hospitable people who love to serve excessive food even for small gatherings. Whether from a wealthy or a modest household, when we are expecting guests, we serve as much food as we can, hence the left-over!

My entry for LP 15 is something really simple. It is best for menudo, adobo or chicken pastel. Served in our famous pan de sal, this makes a good idea for breakfast or merienda (snack)!

Cheesy Pan De Menudo

To make this delish treat, you will need some leftover ulam (viand) from a dinner or lunch. In this case, it’s leftover menudo we had the other night! Then take some pan de sal (salt bread), carve out the top, put a scoop of menudo on the carved top and put a blob of spreadable cheese on top. Put in an oven oven toater for about two minutes or until pan de sal is crispy golden brown and cheese has melted.

Lasang Pinoy, which could mean ‘tastes of something Filipino’ or short for ‘the Filipino taste’ is a monthly food blogging event to promote Filipino food. It is a product of e-mail brainstorming sessions of several Filipino food bloggers who thought it was time for a Filipino event in the tradition of Is My Blog Burning. The blogger organisers of Lasang Pinoy and participants strive to make the events reflective of Filipino culture.


Lasang Pinoy 5: PINOY CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD [ Chocolate EH! Chocolate AH! ]


My hosted-entry to Lasang Pinoy 5, originally posted at Mang Mike’s Lafang . . .

Ewan ko kung natatatandaan nyo pa ang tungkol sa chocolate eh at chocolate ah sa Noli Me Tangere. Actually, sa hinaba-haba ng nobela, yun lang yata ang detalyeng natatandaan ko.

Isa itong insulto ng mga prayle noon. Kung pupunta ka daw sa kumbento at aalokin ka ng chocolate, pakikingan mo ng mabuti ang paraan ng pag-utos ng prayle. Kapag sinabi daw na “ipaghanda mo sya ng chocolate eh” – ibig sabihin maganda ang pagtanggap nila sa iyo. Pero kapag sinabing “chocolate ah” – ay! Umalis ka na at hindi ka welcome!

Kasi ang “EH” daw means thick and rich! Pag “AH” watered and thin ang consistency ng hot chocolate mo. Chocolate EH or Chocolate AH – depende kung sino ka at kung gusto ka nila. Very discriminating di ba? Anyway, yan ay ayon kay Rizal, at dahil wala naman akong alam na kami ay galing sa mga prayle (joke!) . . . we don’t practice that!

There are only two special occasions every year that our family make sure to serve home-made hot chocolate drink. That is every Noche Buena (on Christmas Eve) and Media Noche (on New Year’s Eve).

For us, it is like a Christmas tree, a parol, an exchange gift, a nativity scene. It is like hamon or queso de bola. When it starts to boil and you can smell it . . . ah! You know it is Christmas! Up to this day, ang tablea namin ay ginagawa pa ng tatay ko, galing sa puno namin ng kakao sa Batangas — binilad, sinangag, giniling at hinulma nya mismo!

So we might have pancit, ham, pasta or salad on our table, but goodness! There will always be hot chocolate! And it ain’t just another hot chocolate, it is Chocolate EH!

A couple of months ago, my mom, sister and tita came to visit us here again in Brunei and they brought along with them some tablea my father made for us. So for our Noche Buena this year, we had this rich chocolate drink along with traditional Pinoy Christmas fare like pancit guisado, puto, lumpia and more.

The photos I took of the Chocolate EH that night didn’t look presentable enough so, off went a jar of tableas to Mang Mike’s.

Here’s how it came out . . .

Chocolate Eh

Rich Chocolate EH. The round tableas (sweetened) are from hubby Tune’s family in Batangas while the flat, oval tableas (unsweetened) are from my dad.

A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

By Joji Languido-Castillo



This was my hosted-entry to Lasang Pinoy 4 food blogging event which was originally posted at Mang Mike’s Lafang. I was inspired while monitoring the events surrounding the “Yemagate” photo-napping incident at Karen and Marketman’s blogs . . . as well as Mang Mike’s prodding for me to join . . .

“What is your comfort food?” Mang Mike once asked me. Gosh, I don’t think I have any comfort food. If I need some comforting, just give me a “comfort” pillow where I can scream to the top of my lungs without bothering anybody and get back to my composure.

But thinking about it, yup, there are food that make me smile [and in fact, cry] and wished I’m at home with my Mama . . . isn’t that what’s really comforting? Kahit paminsan-minsan en nauuwi sa away ang maigsi ninyong pagkikita . . .

Anyway, one comfort food I could think of is our own version of Binagoongan, one that is almost dry. I remember how my siblings and I would scrape the bottom with fresh steamed rice, hide the last chunk of meat so they can’t steal it while you are so engrossed watching the TV. We all love this dish. Actually, anything with bagoong [shrimp paste] is a hit for me. I don’t know, but I think it is very versatile, gaya nating mga Pinoy — adaptable everywhere we go. Ihalo mo sa gulay, pwede, i-partner mo sa mangga o singkamas, pwede, iluto mo sa pork pwede din! Or as it is with tomatoes and fried fish! Yum!

I guess my comfort food will always be related with home cooking. There is nothing more comforting to me than eating what is being experimented in our small kitchen, and I would say experiment because my mother is not a well versed cook herself, but nonetheless it is the best that she can offer.

“Ayan na nga ba sinasabi ko eh, naiyak at na-homesick naman akong bigla. Kaya nga ba ayaw kong sumali sa ganito, nagiging emotional ako eh.”

Binagoongan Sa Gata



1 kilo pork liempo
1/4 cup atsuete [annato seeds]
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup onions, finely sliced
2 pieces tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup bagoong na alamang
1/2 cup vinegar
400 ml coconut milk
1 teaspoon black pepper
some pork lard or cooking oil
some sili [green, used for sinigang]
some sliced eggplant or okra as extender


Boil pork pieces until tender or when broth has almost evaporated. set aside and let cool.

In a saucepan, heat pork lard or cooking oil and add atsuete, stirring constantly for one minute or until oil has absorbed the colouring of atsuete.

Remove atsuete seeds and keep oil in the saucepan. Saute garlic, onions, tomatoes and bagoong.

Add pork, vinegar, pepper, eggplant or okra, and sili. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Turn heat to medium and pour in coconut cream. Continue to simmer, stirring continuously until coconut cream thickens.

Serve with hot steamed rice.

By Joji Languido-Castillo

Lasang Pinoy 4