December 16 is the start of the Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo, a nightly novena (for 9nights) preceding Christmas day. It's a Catholic tradition here in the Philippines. People would troop to the churches at dawn or late in the evening to attend the daily novena. It is believed that if you complete the novena, your wish would come true.
With the onset of the Simbang Gabi, it is synonymous with Bibingka, a type of local cake made with glutenous rice flour, eggs, topped with kesong puti or itlog na maalat (salted eggs). The cake itself is cooked over hot coals and generously spread with butter, sugar and topped with niyog. Yum!
Another staple is the Puto Bumbong, a sweet dessert made with pirurutong, a purple colored glutenous rice. The puto bumbong is placed in specially designed tubes and steamed until cooked. The strands are then placed on banana leaves, spread with butter and generously sprinkled with muscovado sugar and niyog, grated mature coconuts. This is what hubby and I bought when we had our Sunday mass.