It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas

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THE HOLIDAY spirit can be found anywhere, because it dwells in the heart — or so TV specials would tell us. In any case, this list brings you options for either staying in (pre-packed goodies and party trays) or going out (staycation and dining options) for the holiday season.

Going Out

Over at the Marco Polo Ortigas, gaze at the hotel’s chocolate tinsel town as you listen to Christmas carols performed by the Sisters of Mary Boystown Choir, the Psalm of David Orchestra, and the Children’s Joy Foundation, on Fridays to Sundays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., throughout December. Meanwhile, the Cantonese restaurant Lung Hin has special Christmas and New Year menus. For Dec. 24 and 25, there are two set menus with dishes like Pan-fried foie gras and Crispy Hong Kong chicken, Baked lobster with cheese sauce and vermicelli, and Crispy suckling pig platter. Once can also celebrate at home with Lung Hin’s Roasted Chinese goose with stir-fried mixed vegetables and fried rice with special sauce, for takeaways, available for pre-order. For details, visit

ROASTED Chinese goose from Marco Polo’s Lung Hin

A carefully selected lineup of gourmet cuisine entices at the Manila Pavilion. At Season’s, the celebration begins with a Christmas Eve dinner on Dec. 24 for P950 net. To make the season truly memorable, Manila Pavilion Hotel & Casino is offering a 6 + 1 Promo for families and groups who wish to staycation in the city. Reserve and pay by Dec. 16 and get a 20% discount on room rates.

At the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino in Lahug, Uno offers Christmas meals on Dec. 24 and 25 for P1,588 net. All meals include free-flowing selected beverages. In the same region, at the Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino in Mactan, its Uno restaurant presents the traditional treats in a Christmas Eve dinner on Dec. 24 and Christmas Day lunch and dinner on Dec. 25 set at P999 net. Even further down south at the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao, Uno’s Christmas Eve dinner is available for P1,500 net. Christmas dinner will give guests a sneak preview of the Uno Filipino Food Festival in Davao, where they will feature some of chef Roland Laudico’s dishes in the Holiday buffet. For information and reservations, call the Central reservations number — 1-800-WFRONT8 (937-6688) or visit

At the City of Dreams luxury integrated resort, Santa will be available for photo ops during weekends of December, handing out Snickers bars at his log-cabin and sleigh next to a 32-foot Christmas tree. Outdoors, beside the Nobu Hotel pool deck, a 22-foot teddy bear covered in 16,000 LED lights illuminates the garden at night, while at The Shops boulevard, a cluster of golden trees with a troupe of fairies in flight evoke enchantment and fantasy. The lobbies of Nobu, Crown and Hyatt also sport distinct holiday showpieces that invite photo ops. Meanwhile, at DreamPlay, a Christmas-themed family celebration is in store in DreamPlay with the Shrek the Halls holiday adventure activity at P1,588 net per person, which is ongoing until Jan. 2. The Christmas experience with Shrek includes an all-day pass, a Gingy apron, a Baked Christmas Apple and Gingerbread smoothie, a meet-and-greet with Shrek and Princess Fiona, and a viewing of the Shrek the Halls Holiday Special Short film at the Dream Theater. Meanwhile, Café Society highlights gift ideas at a one-stop-shop until Jan. 1, with holiday cakes, breads, stolen, English fruit cake, traditional mince pies, cookies, and chocolates. Over at Nobu Manila, a seven-course Omakase dinner menu is being served until Dec. 1 28. The menu includes Aburi Tachiuo salad, Roasted King Prawn with scampi gratin, and Nobu-style puto bumbong. The promotion is set at P5,400++ per person. At Crystal Dragon, one has a choice between two five-course Christmas set menus priced at P1,988++ and P2,388++ offered for the whole month of December. Finally, a barbecue buffet spread featuring grilled dishes and a variety of Eastern and Western dishes are served by the poolside during the weekly Sunday barbecue dinner at Wave restaurant. Available on all Sundays of December. For inquiries and reservations, call 800-8080, e-mail, or visit

Celebrate the season at Diamond Hotel’s Corniche Buffet Restaurant where a Christmas Eve lunch can be had for P2,680 net per person and Christmas Eve dinner for P2,980 net per person with a glass of cava. On Christmas Day, traditional holiday favorites will be served at a lunch buffet with a glass of cava (P2,980 net per person) and dinner (P2,680 net per person). For authentic Japanese cuisine, Yurakuen Japanese Restaurant will offer Christmas set menus for lunch and dinner on Dec. 24 and 25 for P2,580 net per person (with a glass of Cava), accompanied by featured entertainment. For inquiries and reservations, call 528-3000 ext. 1121.

Staying In

Share a feast with your family and friends with the holiday food-to-go from Ilustrado at Intramuros, Manila. House specialties take center stage like Adobong bagnet with taba ng talangka, Callos Madrileña, Twice cooked Angus beef shortplate, Paella Ilustrado, Palabok Negra with crispy calamares, Christmas turkey, Pineapple glazed leg of ham, Cochinillo, and a lot more. For dessert there are Baked cheesecake, Christmas eggnog cake, and Chocolate fudge cake along with different flavored brownies, cookies, and breads. There are also homemade dips, deli items, and dressings like Boursin cheese spread, Spicy cheeseball, Chimichurri, Malunggay pesto and the traditional atsara and bagoong. For details, visit Ilustrado branches in Intramuros, SM Makati, and Alabang Town Center, or e-mail

CHRISTMAS goodies from City of Dream’s Café Society

Epilogue makes it easy to prepare a feast for the heart as its resident chef Hiroyuki Meno has arranged a holiday package — a selection of artisan chocolates, classic stollen, and traditional fruit cake, paired with Epilogue’s roasted KRO Coffee Beans. The gift baskets are available at Epilogue, S Maison, Conrad Manila, Ocean Drive, Mall of Asia, Pasay City or go to to order.

Hop on to The Lounge’s Christmas Gingerbread Train at the Eastwood Richmonde for chocolate goodies and savory treats like chocolate chip banana bread (P255), oversized double chocolate chip cookie (P135), and chocolate rum balls (P165/6 pcs), Belgian chocolate medallion (P635/8 pcs), green tea tiramisu (P225/slice), Christmas velvet cupcake (P225), gingerbread snowflake cookies (P225/6 pcs), Christmas cake Pops (P255/6pcs), and a gingerbread train (P495), among many others. All goodies may be ordered with holiday packaging at a minimal cost. Place an order by calling 570-7777, or sending an e-mail to Visit for details.

Who knew the holiday spirit can be found in a convenience store shelf? FamilyMart carries finger food to bring to potluck parties: a tray of lumpiang Shanghai for P150 or lumpiang gulay for P230 are both great for sharing. Add some fried pork siomai or fried sharksfin for P290. Complete a festive table with fried chicken trays for P550. Pair that up with trays of lasagna, carbonara with bacon bits, or spaghetti and meatballs for P650 per tray. Mindful of the holiday rush, order the Party Trays at least two days in advance at the nearest FamilyMart store.

A RUM butter cake from Flourpot

Home baker Rhea Castro-Sycip — the mind behind Flourpot — is taking orders for her cakes, including her signature rum butter cake. The cake is made with free-range eggs and artisan butter from Bukidnon then soaked in rum sauce using local and premium small batch rum. Packed in a pine wood craft gift box, it is available in two variants — plain original and nut crumble — in two sizes, seven and nine inches. Other items on the menu are the Hummingbird Cake (a spiced cake made from bananas and Tagaytay pineapples in light buttercream frosting), Strawberry shortcake, Tres Leches Cake (a yellow pound cake soaked in rich milk mixture), Malacañang Roll (sponge cake with dark chocolate ganache filling covered in boiled icing frosting), and On the Fence Brownies. For orders and inquiries, e-mail or call 0917-789-2352. For more information, visit her Facebook page and Instagram account, @flourpotmanila.