pasko sa pilipinas

The Philippines has the longest celebration of Christmas in the whole wide world and I love it! As soon as the 1st of SeptemBER hits, everyone’s calling out Christmas greetings to each other. Of course, some kinda control themselves until the Day of the Dead in November comes and goes, but after that, kaboom! Christmas lights are up, Christmas songs are getting major radio airtime, everyone starts wearing jackets (as if winter will ever hit our tropical islands, noh) and traffic slows down to a crawl with all the parties and reunions happening all over the city, not to mention the shopping!

Last year, I had a sudden nostalgic craving for the good old puto bumbong. I have to double check my spelling of that coz I made the mistake of calling it putoboomboom to Andrew’s amazed disbelief.

Puto bumbong derives from the words “puto” (steamed glutinous rice) and “bumbong” (bamboo canon or cylinder). It is considered a delicacy that has a unique preparation. It makes use of a “lansungan,” a heat steamer mounted on a pot of boiling water. It is kettle shaped with (ordinarily) two tubes that protrude and hold the “bumbong” or bamboo tubes filled with the needed ingredients and steamed through.It takes only seconds for the puto bumbong to cook and the speed at which it is done is almost as fascinating as the taste.
– Taken from

Not a Catholic, I never did the simbang gabi and the wonderful early morning snacking that happens after the mass during the Christmas season. I only knew of the puto bumbong served at the Manila Garden (now Dusit Thani Hotel). They used to have a kubo kiosk serving all these wonderful delicacies that Filipinos enjoy during the holidays, but now that it’s being run by a Thai company, I guess they didn’t keep the tradition. And so, last year, I asked Andrew to join me to look for the yummiest puto bumbong in town!

When I asked everyone, they all told me: VIA MARE! So Via Mare we went, but I was disappointed. Something was wrong and I couldn’t put a finger to it. Then they told me I went to the wrong branch. I should have gone to the original branch in Greenbelt. So the obedient siopao that I am, I did. But it was the same. 😦

Two tries of the Via Mare Puto Bumbong

My second tip was to go to the now defunct Banchetto. Now that was a cool experience. Banchetto was an outdoor evening market that had a young, festive vibe. The puto bumbong there had lots of butter and was surprisingly better than Via Mare, but it still didn’t match up to the taste I remembered from Manila Garden.

Festive atmosphere in Banchetto, buttery puto bumbong

I was about ready to give up when we stumbled on a kiosk at Rustan’s Supermarket in Glorietta, of all places. It was hands down the WINNER! They serve it all-year round and it’s amazing!! Good butter, mascovado sugar, fresh coconut meat. Yummeh!

The puto bumbong of my dreams

Maligayang Pasko sa lahat! Let the comatose-inducing food festival begin! Ayay! My blog is turning out to be a food blog with this many photos of food posted!!