Mahalin ang Ating Kultura: Sen. Loren Legarda, Kultura and Filipino Christmas traditions

December 21, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Loren Legarda has fond childhood memories of her family’s Christmases in Malabon: Simbang gabi in the nearby chapel; the simple Noche Buena with ham, keso de bola, pandesal; her Lola Mameng’s spaghetti salad, hot chocolate and sometimes fruit salad; the exchange of gifts and stories after Noche Buena; and the family reunion on Christmas day.

During the holidays, she recalls that her mother, the late Bessie Legarda, “used to decorate our home with a Christmas tree made of recycled strings and balls, a wreath and a small belen.

“By her example, I learned the importance of keeping the family spirit alive, which also means giving importance to the family,” Legarda says wistfully. “My family also taught me the spirit of generosity and compassion — sharing our blessings with our household help, our extended family, our neighbors, and even those we do not know but who are in need.”

Today, Legarda says that celebrating Christmas “must reflect our own Filipino traditions and values.” Like her mother, she uses recycled materials for her holiday decor and accessories, a throwback to the many years she has worked to help save the environment.

She also fills her house with lots of fresh poinsettia. “The colors bring out the warmth and festive spirit of the season,” she says, “and it is a very natural and environment-friendly way of decorating one’s home.”

Legarda also adds personal touches to another Filipino tradition: gift giving. “In our family, gifts are very personal,” she shares. “We usually send it with personalized cards or letters. This Christmas, I will give potted basil and mint from my own garden or Philippine-made products of indigenous people.

“We need to patronize Philippine-made products like the banig so more people will be aware of their beauty and uniqueness,” she adds, which she sees as perfect presents for balikbayans and foreigners.

During a visit to Kultura at SM Aura Premier, Legarda was fascinated by the store’s uniquely Filipino home decor and tableware, especially with the poinsettia candleholder, serving spoon made of kamagong wood, donut cracked shell combined with diamond glass wood table napkin holder, and the handpainted capiz tray.

Kultura’s other home decor for the holidays includes the capiz trays, handpained tableware, handmade Christmas boxes, and tree ornaments that celebrate beauty and nature.

Discover more unique Filipino holiday finds at Kultura Filipino stores located at SM Aura Premier, SM Makati, SM Megamall, The Annex at SM City North EDSA, the SM Mall of Asia, SM Lanang Premier, SM City Cebu, and at selected SM Stores.