I have yet to figure out why among all the Filipino pastries, there is none I associate more with Christmas than bibingka. Even though it has become pretty mainstream these days, I still cannot help but feel this way. I’ve told the story before– about how it became such a part of my Christmas childhood because my Mom always bought me one after mass– and even though it’s been so many years since we’ve done that, I still remember the warmth that the bibingka, with a square of toasted banana leaf underneath to give it that lovely earthy smell, gave my little heart. But aside from bibingka, you know what else…
When I was a kid, I had a fierce love for bibingka. My Mother used to take me to church a lot during the Christmas season, and the sellers of bibingka and puto bumbong would be lined up outside all day long. The smell wafting through the church doors was irresistible, and it would not be a rare sight for me to tug at my Mother’s skirt to signal that I wanted some bibingka. As a child, I knew Christmas was around the corner when a bazillion bibingka and puto-bumbong sellers suddenly pop up out of nowhere and line our usually empty school sidewalks.