The Gift Guide for the Tricky People on your Christmas List

December 22, 2016

Human relationships are a complex, complex thing; some are bound to be less harmonious than others. But the holidays is a time for setting aside differences, making peace, forgiving and forgetting—or putting up with each other’s sh*t a bit harder than usual, at least.

Christmas is a time for giving and sharing—for all its intents and purposes. The good, the bad, and if you play your cards right, the downright sneaky. Sometimes you want to win them over. Other times you want to get a message across.

So why not be extra generous this year? Share your blessings (and much, much more) with some of our favourite products from Manila’s always-evolving purveyor scene.

As a disclaimer: we won’t be responsible for any awkward silences that may ensue. But we digress. Here are our gift choices for all your favorite people:

FI Belly

The tita who simply must comment on your weight

There’s always that one tita who goes “uy, tumaba ka!” before any actual greetings. Chances are they’ve got their own issues, but have heart. Show her that fat is beautiful. The next time she pokes fun at your belly, give her one of her own to keep: Manila Belly’s unctous take on Porchetta, which she’ll probably frown upon initially but not be able to resist in the end. And if they pack on the pounds in the process… well, now it’s your turn to pull out their signature line.


The soon-to-be mother-in-law who misses your partner’s ex

Now this can be a challenge. You want to impress and win her over. But you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard—especially when she’s still rooting for the S.O.’s previous lover. The answer: Baba’s Spoon’s smoked mussels. It’s definitely unique and doesn’t try to bank on any trends, but carries a familiarity sure to warm her heart. And it’s one of those few that hits the right spot between modest and unpretentious, yet effortlessly elegant. Just like you are.


The best frenemy

Ah, the frenemy. The one who gets all chummy with you one minute and double-crosses you the next. But it’s Christmas and you want to be the better person out of your oh-so-generous heart. For this we suggest surprising them with a lobster or two from Lobster House Manila, who delivers the crustaceans fresh—that is, literally alive and kicking. But I was only trying to help!, you will say, as they shriek in fear opening the box unwittingly. And if they don’t accept it for whatever reason, hey, that just means more lobster sandwiches for you.

Chorizo Pie

The hard-to-please boss

So you’ve spent the year pouring your heart and soul into every project and presentation, only to be met with squinted eyes, palm on their forehead, and ultimately, disapproval. It’s frustrating. But if you’re pressured to level up your gift-giving game, look no further than Caviar Pie Manila’s eponymous offerings. The regular caviar pie pretty much exudes luxury in one neat little package. But if it’s meat that makes their hearts beat, go for their chorizo pie, which trades in the jet black eggs for smoky Spanish chorizong hubad. We can’t guarantee it’ll score you a promotion, but it will let them know that you absolutely mean business.


the person you once dumped and kind of want to win back

…or, you know, at least be friends with again. But things between the two of you at this point are just plain awk-ward. You’re looking to spark up your current relationship (or lack thereof) and you don’t want to stick to something boring. Enter Chili Asylum’s line of condiments. These range from sauces to pickled goods and even alternative-fruit ketchups—all given a fiery, chili-induced kick. Even if it doesn’t work out between you two, these still make for one scorching-hot icebreaker.


the cousin who’s better than you at everything

“Galing talaga niya oh, Summa cum laude,” “Oh buti pa siya, may asawa na!”—yeah, Tito, we get it. That cousin just excels at pretty much everything and we’re just bound to be second-best (at most). But you are your own person, and this is something you’d really want to make clear. Say it in gift form with one of Artisan Emporium‘s playful takes on classic baked goods. Ube paints their bread loaves and custard mamon a vibrant purple hue, while parmesan cheese and cranberries add a pop of flavor to their polvoron. See, you may not be perfect, but you’re different. And that’s what makes you special.


That friend who’s always cracking horrible puns

We get it: you love your friend, but hearing all their lame jokes is starting to feel like a pun….ishment. (Horrible example. Surely you get what we mean.) Nudge at this subtly with a gift that’s equally cheesy: that is, Kim’s Pastry Heaven‘s seriously good cheesecakes. But really, it’s hard to go wrong with something this smooth and creamy—even if it means you’ve gouda sit through more of their legen-dairy quips.

Patricia Baes SEE AUTHOR Patricia Baes

Trish thinks too much about everything—truth, existence.....and what’s on her plate. Her ongoing quest for a better relationship with food has led to a passion for cooking, gastronomy, and a newfound interest in its politics. She dreams of perfecting the art of making soufflé with her crappy toaster oven.

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