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Favorite Christmas Foods in the Philippines

Updated on May 24, 2011

Top 10 favorite Xmas food in the Philippines

Christmas is the time when we get to eat foods especially made for this season. Whether these are for Christmas parties or for Christmas reunions or for the Noche Buena (celebrated on Christmas Eve), we look forward to these times for the fun or for the simple joy of partaking a meal with people whom we love or are friendly with.

Christmas in the Philippines is no exception. In fact, Filipinos are people who are really known to love their food, especially during this special season. We love food so much that if we’re going to have a Christmas party in the house, we’ll literally spend days preparing the food. Despite the rising popularity of catered foods, we still prefer to make our own, from scratch.

Featured in this hub are some of the favorite foods we love to eat during the Christmas season.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Hamon ( de bola ( Bumbong ( steamer with bamboo tubes ( FlanKalamay ( fruits ( (
Hamon (
Hamon (
Queso de bola (
Queso de bola (
Puto Bumbong (
Puto Bumbong (
The steamer with bamboo tubes (
The steamer with bamboo tubes (
Leche Flan
Leche Flan
Kalamay (
Kalamay (
Christmas fruits (
Christmas fruits (
Castanas (
Castanas (

Ham – or Christmas ham or simply the hamon (from the Spanish Jamon). These are of various kinds, shapes and sizes. The most common is the Hamon de bola or a ball-shaped cured ham. You can also have the pear-shaped ham or the chicken ham. You can glaze it with pineapple juice / sauce, fry it or bake it.

Queso de Bola (Edam Cheese) – This goes well with ham. In fact, it is the ham’s partner-in-crime (bound to give you more calories and to increase your cholesterol, but what the heck). Ham plus this plus sliced bread (or Pan de Americano) are the formidable threesome during Christmas time.

Puto Bumbong – This is what we commonly eat after the early dawn mass called “Simbang Gabi”. It is made from ground rice (in purple color) and is cooked in bamboo tubes over special steamer-cookers. When they are removed from the bamboo tubes, they are then placed on banana leaves, where they are spread with butter and sprinkled with grated coconut and sugar.

Bibingka – A delicious partner for the Puto Bumbong, this one is made from glutinous (malagkit) rice. In appearance, it looks like the pancake, however this is where their similarity ends. This one is cooked on a special clay pot, wrapped with banana leaves and with live coals above and underneath it. White cheese (kesong puti) and salted duck eggs (itlog na maalat) complete this delicious native dessert.

Lechon – Otherwise called the roasted pig, this is a staple food for any kind of celebrations such as Christmas, birthdays, weddings and fiestas. If you want to know more, check out my hub on the Unique food from the Philippines.

Leche Flan – Or custard with caramel syrup on top, another favorite Filipino dessert (see how we love desserts). It has two main ingredients: egg and milk and is a favorite dessert for parties, no matter how big or small the party is. It is a great take home food too.

Kalamay – a sticky sweet dessert made from glutinous rice, grated coconut, margarine, brown sugar and even peanut butter. It is topped by fried coconut milk.

Christmas fruits – there is a tradition in the country wherein we try to have 12 kinds (or pieces) of round fruits on our table during New Year’s Eve. The belief is that having the round-shaped fruits will give you good luck for the next year (one round fruit represents one month). Whether this is true or not, Christmas is the time when we see an abundance of fruits in the country, such as grapes, oranges, apples, mangoes, banana, cherries, papaya, etc. If you can’t have them fresh, there’s always the fruit salad.

Castanas – Otherwise called roasted (Chinese) chestnuts, these are also found in other countries around the world. However, here in the Philippines, this is a staple and a favorite during Christmas. These are best served newly-roasted and hot. Of course, there’s the tedious process of trying to peel the chestnuts but it’s worth it just to get a taste of this delicious food.

So there you have it, some of the favorite Christmas food here in the country. If you’re a Filipino, feel free to add on to this list. If you’re not, feel free to leave me a note on the favorite Christmas food in your country. Until then, cheers and ciao!

What's Your Favorite Food during Christmas?

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    • profile image

      Neil S. 18 months ago

      I love waking up at around 3 - 5 am and making me hot chocolate drink and Hawaiian rolls with sweet ham and cheese as I slowly get drowsy and fall asleep with a warm belly, by the fireplace with a warm blanket. Then family would wake me up to open our Christmas gifts. I do the same thing during Thanksgiving, but instead of ham and cheese in my Hawaiian rolls I have leftover turkey and warm gravy. Oh I love the Holidays!

    • lowelashubby profile image

      John Beck 6 years ago from Pasig City, Metro Manila

      emievil, I plan on it! I've been really fascinated with Filipino culture, and I know that the Philippines has its own set of particular problems, but I've fallen for the country, it's people, the culture, and especially for my Fiancé!

      I personally believe that the Philippines is like a younger America, like America was in the 1950s only smarter and more technologically advanced. I sincerely hope that Pinoys never forget their culture because it is part of what makes Filipinos so awesome!

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 6 years ago from Philippines

      Lowelashubby, wow, you're moving here. Hope you will enjoy your stay here.

    • lowelashubby profile image

      John Beck 6 years ago from Pasig City, Metro Manila

      I truly enjoyed your article. I am moving to the Philippines in June, and this article helps me understand more about the wonderful Pinoy culture!

    • profile image

      moscatel 6 years ago

      Be the BEST ang PASKO(christmas)...


    • earthbound1974 profile image

      earthbound1974 6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      I love all the Christmas food dishes you've featured here.

      Thanks for sharing and have a blessed Christmas to you and your family.

    • profile image

      nikka marih caballo 6 years ago

      yummy !!!!


    • profile image

      ttttttttt 6 years ago

      go away

    • profile image

      Jasmine 6 years ago

      what i love about christmas is how we got all the new things lol and when we get to spend our time with our family i love that the most

    • profile image

      ramboruiz 6 years ago

      this is one nice hub =) Christmas is really coming. Let us all remember that Christmas is not Christmas without Christ =)

    • profile image

      Person 6 years ago

      Thanks for helping my on my project!

    • profile image

      Aleena pro girl... 6 years ago

      This web is so useful.... I love it!!!!!!!

      :) :D

      Love Aleenor

    • profile image

      Aleena 6 years ago

      Ilove this web

    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      I'm a Filipino and we really have these foods listed here on our table come Noche Buena. I LIKE all of them but my favorite is LECHE FLAN. It's heavenly yet sinful! :D

    • hameidinger profile image

      hameidinger 7 years ago

      I enjoyed reading.

    • profile image 7 years ago

      emievil! u are so brialliant! how about the maja blaca?

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      Thank you. I'm like everyone else and love to hear about other traditions (especially when it comes to food!) With our large family it's Turkey and Ham for Christmas (lots of mouths to feed)

      I hope you don't mind. I have linked your hub in mine. Here's the link and you can check it out.

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks Tony. Merry Christmas to you too! :)

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 8 years ago from san diego calif

      Thank you so much for sharing about your culture as I am always eager to learn about my friends on the other side of the globe. And if I may I would officially like to wish you a very Merry Christmas !

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 8 years ago from Philippines

      Christmas ham has always been my favorite. Don't want to miss puto bumbong as well. Yummy!

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks Eileen. Yup they are yummy all right. I can just hear my calories / fats / cholesterol rising as I contemplate eating these stuff LOL. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment :).

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      emievil, sounds like great yummy food. We love xmas too, but it takes lots of preparation that for sure.

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks keira. It's a one time thing only, good for the Halloween :).

    • keira7 profile image

      keira7 8 years ago

      Very good hub, thanks for sharing and I like you new avatar. See you soon my dear Emievil.:)

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks lancelonie, no puto bungbong where you are?

    • lancelonie profile image

      lancelonie 8 years ago

      Puto bungbong, the best! Yesssssssssss!!! :) I wonder when I can get to eat that... :(

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 8 years ago from Philippines

      Ham rules! LOL. It's the same here. I think supermarkets here have more ham sales in December than they have for the whole year! Oh, I forgot to mention, it is also a great office give-away. I always receive ham either from my ex-boss or my clients. Hmmmmm, your hub in glutinous rice, wasn't that the one that made it in the hubnugget? Gotta go and refresh my memory. Thanks for dropping by dohn. Nice avatar :)

      Thanks creativeone. It's always a pleasure sharing my country's culture :).

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you for the Christmas foods hub, thank you for sharing it. creativeone59

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Favorite food for Christmas? I gotta go with ham! And I swear, I think it tastes better the day after (I especially like it with Grey Poupon, yum) By the way, can I come over your house for X-Mas dinner?

      I'm not sure if you read it yet, but I wrote a hub on sticky (glutinous) rice. You making mention of it of course made me think about it. Cheers!

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 8 years ago from Philippines

      Myownworld, you're always welcome, Christmas or no Christmas. =)

    • myownworld profile image

      myownworld 8 years ago from uk

      it's always great to know about different I really enjoy reading your hubs! all the food looks lol mind if i join u this X mas? thank you for sharing...

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks Hello. I always appreciate you dropping by and reading my hub :).

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      I love hearing from other cultures and their way of celebrating. Thank you so much. Can't wait for the next one. The world is so interesting with all these different ways of life.


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