Thursday, November 29, 2007
Bibingka is one of the filipino delicacies that my family enjoys and our all time favorite.
We had it recently and it was warm,moist,tasty and just perfect with some either hot cocoa, hazelnut flavored coffee or some green tea.
Eating it made us remember the different delicacies consumed after the "simbang gabi" by the church goers.
Well first "simbang gabi" is one of the famous filipino tradition during christmas season. It starts on December 16th and ends during the midnightmass, night before christmas. We call the midnightmass "Misa de Gallo". I remember as a child we, meaning my cousins,friends and I believed that completing the nine days "simbang gabi" mass means all of our whishes will come true. We then, would all try very hard to complete the 9 days mass. (Ofcourse, later on we've learned the deeper meaning of "simbang gabi")
We would all help each other in completing it and we would have an understanding that we need to take turns to wake up each other. And our meeting place would be either at our house or at a friend's house.
So heres how we did it, a friend/cousin or friends/cousins of mine will start knocking on our door if its her or their turn to wake up everyone or vice versa if it is our turn ,we'll go knocking on our friends/cousins door so we could all go together to mass. And most of the time we were at the church early but then again there were times that we were a bit late. Why?
Well, as we all know getting up during Christmass season was hard to do because of the cold weather. Cold weather only means it is the best time to curl up and stay in a warm bed. And back then, I would be covered with my soft cartoon printed blanket and would stay like that until the shy sun starts to rise again. But then my alarm clock would start blaring so loudly that I would need to drag myself to get up and to turn it off. And it only means its time to get ready for the "simbang gabi".
And before getting ready, I would always have an inkling to go back to my warm bed and why it have to look so enticing to do so....but but but but ....lol I know that in just few minutes some of my friends or cousins would be knocking on our door, so the temptation of giving in was not an option. So even half-awake I would try very hard to get ready.
Thank God, by then my mother would be up and some hot drink was ready for us to drink before we leave for mass. And on the dot, most of the time here comes my friends and cousins, loudly laughing or talking outside our
door. I would then join them and we would all go to mass. Walking side by side wearing our warm sweaters or jackets, we would be still shivering to the cold wind. But when laughters and stories were shared on our way to church, the cold wind was forgotten. And at the church even it was early dawn, it is filled with church goers.
Lots of people were praying which made the church a very warm place to be. When I said, a very warm place, its not just about feeling warm but the warmth and the humility that you would feel during that moment. And the songs of praises and songs of the season would fill the air that makes everything seems so magical and so spiritual. I, then would have this overwhelming feelings deep in my heart that I actually cannot explain. Or lets just say, it truly touched my heart. And maybe that is why "simbang gabi" is the most famous and most loved traditon of the filipinos.
And not just that, after the mass, outsite we would see different vendors selling different delicacies such us.."puto bumbong", bibingka, puto or kutsinta, hot chocolate, hot tea, hot sopas or hot pandesal. And most of the time we would have some bibingka with freshly grated coconut or some times we'll have sopas and hot pandesal.
Well those were the good 'ol days when we were back home (home meaning Philippines). And now that we are here in the west, our new adopted home we try our very best to continue on the traditions we grew up with. There may not be "simbang gabi" in every church here but we always make sure that we go to the midnightmass or "misa de gallo" to welcome in remembrance the birth of Jesus Christ.
Well,this is getting so long its just remembering or reminiscing the good old days make me wish that now as a young mother that my son ( or children, with God's Blessing) will experience same tradition. And that is why we make sure that "misa de gallo", the noche buena, media noche, constant family get together and celebrations are important traditions that he will never forget and he then can pass on to his children.
Few more things though..lol..back then, I remember that at one point one of my cousin had a place where she sells bibingka, where she cooked bibingka per order. So it was warm,moist and very tasty. It was topped with butter, itlog na maalat or cheese and freshly grated cheese.
And when we moved here in the west, my Dad ( he loves bibingka) brought back here after his vacation from the Philippines some of the cooking equipment needed for it together with the clay plate. The ingredients to make it and the banana leaves and the grated coconut can be bought in the asian grocery store. We used to make them every time my Dad would have some cravings for it. My aunties, 2-3 of them will then start making it and all of our family will happily enjoy it together. This was when I was still single.
And now married and all, just recently we had some "bibingka" And since all the equipment that were used before were all gone and thrown away,we've learned a different way to make it...oven and foil plate. The taste remind us of the good 'ol days but nothing could compare to if you'll make it and cook it the good 'ol ways I guess... lol.
itlong na pula
sweet rice flour
Sliced of Cheese cheddar/ kesong puti (goat cheese)
fresh grated coconut
banana leaves to line your foil plate
Mixed all ingredients. Oven can be used. Baked for 30 minutes or till brown on top in 325 degree oven. When almost done, add the cheese or itlog na pula, put back. And when done spread some butter, sugar and top it with grated coconut.