• Dan Albert S. de Padua


Is Cafe Mary Grace open early anywhere?

While we sing about sleigh bells ringing and Jack Frost nipping, these things aren’t really part of the Filipino Christmas experience. The quintessential Pinoy Christmas involves going to church very early in the morning, really still in the middle of the night, nine times in a row leading up to the big Christmas Mass. Back when we were still wondering how that fat man in fur-lined clothes would come down our chimney when we didn’t have a chimney in the first place,* we’d be roused by our parents and hauled off to church with our eyes still half closed. When we got a little older we might go to church with our barkada after staying up all night, uh, talking. Or maybe we believed that if we could complete the novena, we’d get three wishes granted. Whatever got us to go at that godly hour, the real highlight of the morning was the big breakfast after the Mass, topped off with bibingka and puto bumbong!

Years ago Via Mare had a branch that opened early for people coming from Simbang Gabi. There’s a computer store in its place now. If you know where we can get a great Christmas-y breakfast at, say, 5:00 a.m.—a restaurant, not your house please—let me know in the comments.

Maligayang Pasko!

*In tropical countries, Santa comes in through the open windows. Turn off your aircon.



© 2020 by Dan Albert S. de Padua

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