I vividly remember that one Christmas Eve. Unlike all other Christmas Eves when the house is filled with the jubilant air of a family celebrating the holidays in torn gift wrappers, a sumptuous feast, and the warmth of contented hearts, on that year, December2011, the house seemed empty and cold.
I stared out the window with all the lights out; it was festive outside our house. The streets had parols and there was the occasional firecracker followed by a yell and the scampering of feet – we live three hours away from Davao so the banning of fireworks was unheard of. The scene outside was quite a contrast compared to the lifeless house that forgot about Christmas.
As a family tradition, my mother would prepare our Noche Buena feast on the day itself. Typically, it is a tiresome day of making sure that the ox tongue is boiling away over firewood. This would be the star of mother’s lengua in white sauce; her delicacy known all over Nabunturan. On top of that, there is also the carbonara, karekare, and baby backribs to take care of. Mother also prides herself with making the best no-bake blueberry cheesecakes in town. A recipe she has perfected over the years.