Noche Buena for procrastinators | Inquirer Business
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Noche Buena for procrastinators

/ 05:10 AM December 23, 2018

Before anything else … happy birthday, Jesus!

I hope that Advent has prepared you for the coming of Christ and that your bonuses and the decrease in world oil prices have prepared you for the coming Noche Buena.


In case you are still cramming preparations for the festivities, here are my in-case-of-emergency numbers:

China Mommy
@chinamommyph on Instagram


I featured China Mommy earlier this year after discovering them through Instagram. They deliver the best homemade Chinese food. My absolute favorite is their do-it-yourself Chinese lumpia that comes with all the condiments needed to make the dish authentic Chinese lumpia.

You also cannot go wrong with their Tanghun Tsim or sotanghon crabs and their Fortune Bags, which are “bags” of tofu with steamed minced meat, seafood, veggies and mushrooms inside.

They do not deliver but you can arrange for your own Lalamove delivery. Also note their holiday pickup schedule: Dec. 24, up to 6 p.m. only; Dec. 25, up to 12:30 p.m. only; closed on Dec. 26; Dec. 31, up to 3 p.m. only; and closed on Jan. 1.


For Spanish food, there’s Ilonggo-Spanish daddy Manny Torrejon. He has a private dining space called Manolo’s but he now also accepts orders for pickup.

Manny makes a really good paella, whether Valenciana, Marinara or Negra.

He also makes a really mean Iberian chicken and fabada. Other items you can order include callos, bacalao, lengua, turkey and porchetta.


Bai’s Pungko-Pungko Set

Bai’s Boneless Lechon Cebu
Bai’s Boneless Lechon Cebu on Facebook

I’ve featured Bai’s in past Christmases and they have become my go-to when I need lechon but don’t want to buy an entire pig. They offer a porchetta with the following sizes: family (4-6 pax) P720; barkada (10-15 pax) P1,800; party (20-25 pax) P2,850. As you can see, they are very reasonably priced, too.

Bai’s now also offers something called a Pungko-Pungko set which is a bilao (tray) of chicken wings, Chinese ngohiong (I just call it lumpia), chorizo de Cebu, ginabok (chicharon bulaklak) and meatballs.

Another thing I love about Bai’s is that they have made the ordering process very convenient for customers: You can pay via credit card at They also happily deliver for a minimal fee. And now they even deliver as far as Cavite, Antipolo, Marikina, Malabon and the Camanava area (0966-4658348).

Mum’s Lasagna
0966-9306748 on Instagram and Facebook

Caveat: Mum’s Lasagna is no longer accepting orders for December. It is probably because of the flood of orders after being featured by @masarapba. I still do not know who the person behind this handle is but @masarapba is a great force in today’s food world because of his/her honesty, candor, wit and the relationship fostered with followers.

I found out about Mum’s Lasagna through @masarapba. The lasagna comes in a gigantic tray and is so packed that it is very heavy (feels like 15 kilos). While it is not a fancy gourmet lasagna, it is hearty, creamy, rich … and feels like a hug from mom.

Aling Flor’s Lechon Baka

My kababayan in Sta. Maria, Bulacan, Aling Flor, is my secret weapon for big events when lechon baboy (pig) just won’t cut it and we need to bring out the baka (cow). They bring the entire calf and roast it as you party so make sure you have a garden or other big space. Prices will depend on the weight of the calf (a small calf would be around P40,000) but nothing, not even the best Wagyu steak, can beat the experience of meat fresh from the spit.


Chef Sau del Rosario has started bottling Pampanga delicacies such as atsara and balo-balo under the brand Sau-sawan. If you are still cramming Christmas gifts, you can have your bottles delivered via Grab. If you are from Pampanga, you can also pick up bottles at Sau’s restaurants, the lovely Cafe Fleur and 25 Seeds.

Jonas Ng’s Kakanin

Chef Jonas Ng is one of my favorite chefs this year. He is the chef of James & Daughters, which sadly has closed because the landlord of the space the resto was leasing is converting the place into something else.

Ng entered the scene several years ago cooking French food until he realized it was best to go back to his roots. So at James & Daughters, he served a mix of Filipino, Chinese and even continental comfort food and I must tell you, it was really comforting. The kind of food you need on a rainy day, figuratively and literally. His execution of his mom’s 5 Treasure Soup is excellent.

My surprise favorite on his menu is his interpretation of our kakanin (rice cakes). He has a dessert that is one extra large suman with an ube halaya filling and a slither of leche flan with latik on top.

Don Revy

Don Revy is a wine and spirits distributor. The company carries an extensive selection of drinks but specifically for last minute giveaways. Here are the recommendations of Jojo Vega, founder and owner of Don Revy:

For white wines worth around P500, Vega recommends Genesis Reserva Sauvignon Blanc from Chile or the Chateau Routas from Provence. For red wine in the price range of P600 to P1,000, Vega recommends Pebble Lane Merlot or Pebble Lane Pinot Noir (a favorite of restaurants); or Whitebox Yarra Valley Shiraz or Whitebox Pinot Noir. For around P1,200, Vega recommends Maison Jessiaume Pinot Noir or Chard Farm River Run Pinot Noir.

For a gift to impress the man who has everything, Vega recommends the German brandy Asbach Uralt, specifically its Goethe Vintage Reserve 1952. They have only two bottles of this left. This is a rare vintage and goes for P120,000!

Caritas Manila
Landline 562-0020 to 25

Since a wonderful way to celebrate Christ is by giving to those who need it the most, why not match what you spend on material gifts to friends with a gift to yourself, for your own heart and soul: a donation to Caritas Manila in the amount corresponding to your gifts.

You can deposit your donation to the following accounts under Caritas Manila: BPI S/A 3063-5357-01, BDO S/A 5600-45905, Metrobank S/A 175-3-17506954-3 or for US dollar accounts: BPI$ 3064-0033-55 (Swift BOPIPHMM) or PNB$ 10-856-660002-5 (Swift PNBMPHMM).

Best of all, your donation may be tax deductible. Just make sure to fax Caritas Manila a copy of your deposit slip via fax no. (02) 563-9306 or e-mail a scanned copy of the deposit slip to or, indicating your name and complete address.

Alternatively, you can also give the gift of preloved apparel, footwear, accessories, appliances, cameras, phones, etc. to Caritas Manila’s Segunda Mana project. For donations, call Caritas Manila at (02) 5640205 or (02) 5639311 or mobile 0905-428 5001 or 0929-8343857 or 0999- 7943455.

Sustainable Gifts

Finally, don’t forget what Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle calls “sustainable gifts”: prayers and love.

In this light, may I offer a special prayer for the eternal repose of the soul of Mrs. Nolie Flores Garcia, who now makes her journey home to Heaven. In this season of God’s love, we also remember all those whom we have lost but continue to love, especially Inquirer’s own Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, whose death anniversary is Dec. 24. You are always in our hearts and in our prayers, Tita Letty, and you are still my first thought every time I come across a good bottle of wine.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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