MANILA, Philippines - With Christmas just a few hours away, Filipinos are now all busy preparing for the traditional Noche Buena feast with the family at midnight tonight.
Specialty ham (jamon) and the traditional rice cake bibingka remain popular Christmas items this year.
On the day before Christmas, at a shop selling specialty ham in Quiapo, Manila, there is a queue of customers waiting for their turn to get their hands on jamon, which is more expensive than the ham sold in supermarkets.
"Hayaan mo na at minsan lang naman ito. Ito na pinaka-reward sa isang taong pagtatrabaho," said one of those customers in line.
As for bibingka, chefs at one hotel at the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) in Angeles, Pampanga decided to offer giant bibingka to satisfy many hungry stomachs.
Each 10-inch bibingka is equivalent to 6 or 7 ordinary-sized bibingka, enough to fill a hungry family.
Made of glutinous rice (galapong), and with salted egg and grated coconut, the giant bibingka is given a special treatment with ham and cheese.
Christmas time in the Philippines is not complete without bibingka and puto bumbong, traditionally eaten for breakfast after Simbang Gabi, the 9-day dawn Masses in the country. -- Reports by Alvin Elchico, Gracie Rutao and JV Dizon, ABS-CBN News