It certainly was not the best Christmas. The dinner table was set and the stereo was playing carols, and on that night, I felt Mom and Pap's absence even more. Leaving us with the string of "Parent less" Yuletide. Well, Papa's always in a missing-in-action mode for all seasons and it was in a sense the start of an entirely different tradition for us.
We were used to celebrating Christmas with practically the whole clan... with our gra'ma of course, uncle, aunt and cousins for an eve dinner. And would troop over to the living room and start opening our gifts. It's just essentially a family affair. Clannish as we may be... but unfortunately some of us who simply have to trade the comfort of home for the confines of the workplace.
On the other hand now, Christmas won't be the same without our table occupied by Excellente Cooked Ham (Excelente Cooked Ham is usually mobbed during the holidays in Echague Street. One kilo of sweet ham retails at P680.00). With the anticipated dishes made for Noche Buena and usually made by one of our family members. Aunt made her Beef Shank Sotanghon, and uncle with his Crispy-Pata (Deep-Fried Pork Hock) sliced with special condiments and some spices. I just showed off my Spaghetti mixed with mushroom and pineapple and Pao made his special velvety "Halayang Ube" (Candied yam) as our dessert. And so the Aristocrat Restaurant in Roxas Boulevard gave us their anticipated gift Chicken Barbeque (more than enough for us) and their special Cake, (forgot the name) several layers of thin torte made of egg whites mixed with nuts and interspersed with marshmallow icing of butter and chocolate spiked with rum.
Patrick and my cousins just set off the Videokê and just within minutes applauding at the wonder of it all.