44 DAYS TO GO. Regine Velasquez-Alcasid’s Christmas spirit is not to be dampened by the tragedy that the country witnessed, when typhoon Yolanda devastated Eastern Visayas almost a month ago.
A fan of the holidays, Regine says, “We don’t have to have a lavish Christmas. But we need to celebrate it now more than ever.”
We need uplifting, the 43-year-old singer-actress urges.
“Kasi parang noong nangyari ito sa Visayas, part ng Mindanao, pero ang apektado, buong Pilipinas, e.
“So, obviously, sila, it’s really hard for them to celebrate Christmas.
“So, sa atin, tayo na medyo pinalad na nandito sa Luzon, at hindi masyadong naapektuhan, tayo iyong mag-uplift ng spirit nila.”
Christmas, after all, is the birth of Jesus Christ, adds the Asia’s Songbird.
And in spite of the calamity that has befallen the Filipinos, we need to give thanks for whatever is left of us, she points out.
NOCHE BUENA. Regine’s memory of Christmas is mainly of food that her mother serves on Christmas Eve dinner or Noche Buena.
“Noong bata ako, lagi kaming may ham. Kahit mahirap lang, kasi mahirap lang kami no’n, e.
“But my Mom would always have ham. Parang hindi Pasko pag walang ham!”
Apart from ham, her family would always feast on fried chicken, pansit, and apples.
She happily muses, “I don’t know why, but we would always have apples... and, ano, iyong kulay green, dalandan!
"Those things, iyon ang parang natatandaan ko.”
Now that she has built a home with her husband, OPM singer-songwriter Ogie Alcasid, and their two-year-old son Nathaniel, Regine makes sure that they have Noche Buena staples of their own.
Regine, who also possess good culinary skills, says she "attempts" to give her best at preparing a Christmas feast.
“Minsan hindi ko alam kung anong niluluto ko. Minsan nagro-roast ako ng chicken.”
What she really wants is to come up with a traditional dish that her son Nate would grow up having each Christmas.
She has not quite worked it out, Regine coyly reveals.
Until then, she and her husband Ogie would not mind getting roast beef, which they have gotten used to buying each Christmas eve at Säntis Delicatessen.
“I want something kasi that I would make. Obviously I can’t do the freaking roast beef!” Regine remarks in spite of herself.
“I don’t know how to do that! But ilang Christmas na, lagi kaming may roast beef.”
This Christmas, Säntis Delicatessen is the perfect place to grab Noche Buena items.
Among the deli’s holiday offerings is their Christmas Honey Ham sold at P529 per kilogram.