05 Jan2008


A wood-burning fireplace in your apartment in the middle of Manhattan is a definite luxury. I have always loved the concept of a hot crackling fire on a cold winter’s night. Oddly, our home in Quezon City had a fireplace when I was a wee bitty tyke, built ostensibly as an indoor barbecue, but bad engineering of the chimney made it impractical to use. But that didn’t stop my mom from insisting that Santa slid down the chimney there (forget the inconsistency that no one else on the street had a fireplace, and duh, how did they get any Santa presents?). So I am a sucker for a good fire. Hand me a single use implement copper chestnut roasting pan (sorry, no photo) and I am in seventh heaven. So the setting at Christmas Eve was anchored around a fire that was fed with logs until almost midnight…


A towering 9 foot (to the ceiling almost) blue spruce so fresh it was sticky, decorated with beautiful ornaments and surrounded by presents…


Deep red amaryllis in nearly a dozen cachepots scattered around the living and dining areas, along with pots and pots of red poinsettias and a few phaleanopsis orchids and bunting over the fireplace…


Lots of tapered candles letting off a gentle glow, drawing attention to a dessert and goodies table filled with crystal and silver and treats such as homemade fruicake, brownies, baklava, toffees, and fruit, etc…


And carefully wrapped gifts (I have to say, wrapping paper in the states is really quite nice!) was the setting we comfortably settled into for drinks and munchies before dinner…



  1. Em Dy says:

    I can almost hear Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…

    Jan 5, 2008 | 10:35 pm


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  3. Anne:-) says:

    Wow! Those pictures are nice! Happy Holidays!

    Jan 5, 2008 | 11:24 pm

  4. eej says:

    Your family tend to spend most of your time in the East coast whenever you visit. Any plans on indulging your senses with California delights? You may end up softly crooning ” I left my heart in San Francisco…”

    Jan 5, 2008 | 11:54 pm

  5. Maria Clara says:

    Christmas is well defined and spelled out at Sister’s pad at its highest pitch. I love the mantel of her fireplace. Looking at your pictures I can tell she is a woman of refined taste! Way to go Sister!

    Jan 6, 2008 | 4:27 am

  6. Marketman says:

    MC, I learned a great deal from sister on the food and entertaining front. eej, I have TWO sisters on the East Coast, and I went to school there and lived there myself, so we do have a bias for the East Coast. But we do also love the San Francisco area, though have not been there for several years. SF, Napa, etc. are all fantastic… Em Dy, yup, my favorite Christmas carol…

    Jan 6, 2008 | 6:30 am

  7. cwid says:

    That’s a beautiful fireplace and such a nice big fire. That blue spruce must have filled the room with the scent of christmas. This scene is something out of a dream book. Must have taken your sister a lot of thought and effort to set up but it was well worth it. Our Christmas Eve is so hectic trying to get everything perfect for this one special night but I don’t think I can ever come close to what your sister did. We can only dream about your Christmas Eve.

    Jan 6, 2008 | 6:31 am

  8. Marketman says:

    cwid, sister was down and completely out with a very bad cold/flu virus for three weeks in December! When we asked if we could do a snap visit, she rose from her sickbed literally and managed this in a few days! Imagine what it’s like when she hasn’t been ill??!

    Jan 6, 2008 | 6:34 am

  9. sister says:

    The secret to Christmas in NYC is that every store or vendor DELIVERS promptly! Fraser fir came from Union Square and was set up same day; the blue spruce is now 30 feet tall on Long Island; orders made at groceries, liquor store, drugstore, flower market, and anything else from Gracious Home can be had within the hour with a phone call or on line. Makes it very efficient to pull a holiday together without a large staff or a lot of driving around in traffic. Happy New Year to all Marketmanila readers.

    Jan 6, 2008 | 7:15 am

  10. sister says:

    FYI firewood came from the “Plant Specialist”, 16 inch dried hardwood half logs, again delivered to my door.

    Jan 6, 2008 | 7:17 am

  11. Madeline says:

    Here in the Philippines, we usually buy the Christmas tree in the department stores. My friend says that she buys her fresh Christmas tree yearly and the scent is very different.
    My cousin’s house in Concord California has fireplace but I never experienced them using it during my stay there on the Christmas season of 2005. Your arrangements are simple but exudes elegance!

    Jan 6, 2008 | 7:40 am

  12. cwid says:

    Thanks for the tip, sister and MM.

    I wish we had that kind of service where I live. We have always had a fresh tree for Christmas but it involved a lot of work to put up. First, we have to go to the store to pick up the tree, then bring this home. Then we have to cut off the bottom trunk, let it sit in the garage for a couple of days soaking in a pail of water and then we hose it down before bringing it in. It’s a lot of work but Christmas eve is not the same without it.

    Sister, I must say, you truly are the best hostess and the best sister, to get up from your sickbed to prepare such a magnificent spread on Christmas eve.

    Can’t wait to see the presents under the tree. Is that next, MM?

    Jan 6, 2008 | 9:16 am

  13. elaine says:

    I would love to see a single-use implement of a copper chestnut roasting pan…:) The setting is very elegant perfect in a location such as Manhattan. I could almost taste your sister’s famous fruitcake….yum!

    Jan 6, 2008 | 10:12 am

  14. Trish says:

    Breathtaking setting! I love your sister’s taste, Mr MM, wish she can be my sister too! ROFL!!!

    Jan 6, 2008 | 11:36 am

  15. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    MM…Please thank the sister for allowing us into her abode. Again, you all make us feel welcome into your homes.

    Jan 6, 2008 | 12:48 pm

  16. ej says:

    wow, everything looks so nice…

    Jan 6, 2008 | 3:59 pm

  17. Tricia says:

    Marketman, is that california persimmon I see on your sister’s dessert spread?????

    I miss california persimmon!!!! I bought a suitcase of that at Whole Foods Market on 4th St. in San Francisco when I was there in October. Crunchy and juicy at the same time.

    Persimmon from Taiwan is not as good. “Woody” taste to it. Found california persimmon here, but not as fresh & crunchy.

    Jan 6, 2008 | 9:02 pm

  18. sister says:

    No, they are just clementines but they do look like the flat persimmons.

    Jan 6, 2008 | 10:25 pm

  19. dhayL says:

    What an enormous tree, with overflowing-nicely-wrapped presents, and the smell of the wood burning, what a way to start the evening!

    Jan 7, 2008 | 2:21 am

  20. Madeline says:

    Sis, your set up is almost perfect. What do you miss about Christmas season in the Philippines? Do you also crave for puto bumbong? suman? I have friends there in the eastcoast who prepare them but they still definitely miss Christmas here in the Philippines.

    Jan 7, 2008 | 9:45 am

  21. Faye says:

    The fireplace looks so romantic…

    Jan 7, 2008 | 3:11 pm

  22. sister says:

    Madeline, I don’t miss Christmas in the Phil. just the family. Marketman gets me all the bibingka, mangoes, budbud kabog, etc. I can eat whenever I visit at other times of the year.

    Jan 7, 2008 | 10:45 pm

  23. The Steak Lady says:

    Hats off to Sister for such impeccable taste!! :D Simply beautiful! MM, i agree with the wrappers in the US. i got some from costco and my cousins thought i was crazy. but when they all saw my gift wrap on christmas eve, they all wished they made the extra effort. so worth the excess baggage, haha =)

    Jan 8, 2008 | 12:13 am

  24. gemma says:

    that looks like a lovely pre-war apartment.

    thanks marketman for your nyc posts. i live in the upper west side and yet i thoroughly enjoyed reading about your jaunts in the city. it must be the filipino in me.

    Jan 8, 2008 | 7:12 am

  25. Epi says:

    Oh how I wish I am related to you…..:)

    Jan 9, 2008 | 6:53 pm


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