12 Days of Christmas – Isabel Roxas

And to start 2016 we are welcoming Isabel Roxas, Philippino born, New York Resident, and just a super person. I catch up with Isabel often when I make it to New York and we have fun – and we always find good eating places too! Isabel also makes great Philippine cookies that are all too rapidly consumed!

Here is her very beautiful sensitive reflection. See you soon again Isabel.



Tsokolate and Puto Bumbong

My friends and I volunteered one Christmas to prepare a Filipino hot chocolate for the attendees of Misa de Gallo (4am Mass 9 days leading up to Christmas).

I remember the mornings being very brisk and slightly misty. It was 3.30 am and we worked in a fluorescent-lit kitchen that we had all to ourselves. Everything had a dream-like quality.

We boiled hot water, threw in some bittersweet dark chocolate called Tablea, and slowly stirred it until the mixture thickened into a luxurious cup of warmth to be tempered with a little milk and sugar.

We took it down to the garden beside the vendor selling puto-bumbong (a purple yam and glutinous rice treat), and waited for the sleep-deprived parishioners stream out of Church. Then we served them cups of chocolate and welcomed the dawn.


Isabel Roxas was born in Manila, the cacophonous, idiosyncratic capital of the Philippine Islands. She was raised on luscious mangoes, old wives’ tales, Sesame Street, and Japanese animation. She has a taste for the slightly odd and uncommon (as her picture shows), and for tales that go awry.

Isabel now works in a studio in Brooklyn, in a former Pencil Factory and co-manages a contemporary art gallery that is a showcase for the interweaving histories of America, Asia and Europe, with a special focus on Southeast Asia. You can find Isabel at www.studioroxas.com and do discover her latest books Boo-la-la Witch Spa by Samantha Berger (whose 12 Days appeared in 2011) and Let Me Finish! by Minh Le.


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