While the Museums of Paris contain a huge treasure trove of classical works by the masters, going to them is just like going to any other museum. It pays to know as much information about the hours, the admission fees and the major exhibitions housed in each one. Like the museums in New York, there are certain days or hours when admission is reduced, when admission is free (!), when the museum has extended hours of operation (the Louvre is open until 9:30PM on Fridays), and the most important information you should seek out is when they are closed. (Most museums are closed Monday.)
“Noche Buena” is the traditional Filipino Christmas and New Year’s eve feast. While each family has its own tradition in terms of dishes to prepare, there are certain staples that you are sure to find on the dinner table. For me and my family, our holiday feasts were always anchored on Queso de bola, Spanish Chocolate, good old Majestic ham, some noodle (spaghetti or pancit canton) and a smorgasbord of desserts beginning with my Mom’s traditional leche flan which is lethally sweet, macapuno and Pinoy style fruit or buko salad.
I went to and from the office and home via limo service yesterday, as father and son were out doing errands. Alan had taken the day off and was kind enough to spare me the commute, so at the end of the day, I acceded to a request for sizzling steak and kare-kare from the Ihawan in Woodside. I also made a trip to the Filipino Store to pick up our monthly mini-sack of rice and some staples, and I made sure to get my Queso de bolas.. one for Christmas and one for New Year. Alan asked me if there was no more edam cheese at home — to which I replied we don’t get edam regularly, so no, there was none. And then Mom asked why I bought two — because we will open one for Christmas, and have one on New Year’s eve. Besides, it’s the smalll one, but imported from Manila, so it’s the real thing. The edam sold here is actually of a milder flavor so not quite as good as the ones I grew up with.
My mother-in-law and my Mom are plotting on what to cook for the big feast. It’s going to be a smaller party, with half of what used to be the whole family now celebrating on their own. It doesn’t mean it will be any less special — in fact, I believe, we should all the more make it a more meaningful Christmas this year.
Our new-found cousins who I didn’t get to meet until earlier this year have invited us for a Christmas eve luncheon — that would be a great time to exchange gifts. There will be more kids with Angel’s two “Ates” (older female cousins) joining in.
I’ve been thinking puto bumbong and bibingka lately.. I can only imagine how festive things are back in Manila. Meanwhile, I’ve decided to transfer my blinking parol to my living room this year — I bought it in 2002, and while one of the blinkers has already gone pfffft, it’s still a pretty colorful sight.
I’m getting ready, I’m getting there…