September is almost at an end, so you may have noticed it already: Christmas carols have started playing, Christmas decorations are already being put up in a few homes and establishments, people have started making their Christmas wish list (and making their wishes known to those whom they want gifts from), malls and department stores have started holding Christmas sales, and plans are already being made for Christmas break.
As always, Filipinos are starting to celebrate the Christmas season even before Halloween draws near. And when we start celebrating Christmas, it naturally follows that the things that have become part of the Pinoy Christmas tradition also start becoming more and more prominent as the month of December approaches.
One of the Christmas traditions most Filipino families make sure not to pass up is the Noche Buena, where the family gathers for a special late-night dinner on Christmas Eve. For this special feast, there are certain dishes and food items that have become must-haves over the years, and one such food is the Christmas ham. In fact, many Filipinos only ever think of the ham during Christmas, and one is likely to see TV ads and hear radio commercials for ham only during this time.
It’s easy to see and understand how the sales of ham in the Philippines would skyrocket during the Christmas season. It isn’t just the Pinoy families who purchase this meaty treat for their Noche Buena. Companies also buy them in bulk either to give away as presents for their employees along with the year-end cash bonus or as special prizes during games and raffle draws at Christmas parties. Even malls and department stores usually give away several pieces of ham as prizes during their Christmas promos.
SLERS: The Ham Expert of Cagayan de Oro
Did you know that the Christmas ham we know and love today traces its origins back to Northern Mindanao? It was in 1969 when schoolteacher Fely Pelaez perfected her recipe for the country-style ham and started selling them to family and friends from Camp Phillips, Bukidnon (where she resided with her family at the time, her husband being an employee of Del Monte Philippines) and Cagayan de Oro. Soon enough, orders came from other regions and she was shipping her ham all over the country.
Today, almost 50 years since she turned her passion into a thriving business, SLERS has become a multi-product enterprise that continues to offer quality ham to loyal customers year in and year out. So if you plan to make SLERS ham part of your Noche Buena menu this Christmas, you may want to check out their selection as early as now.
Jamon Cagayan de Oro
The SLERS flagship product is still cured the old-fashioned way and smoked in the traditional manner, using Philippine hardwood. It is then cooked using fresh pineapples, so it’s ready to eat when you buy it!
This is a mildly-cured ham that is not only smoked naturally, but also glazed to perfection. It is also fully cooked and ready to eat.
Filipinos love the flavor of sweetness, even in their main course. So SLERS also set out to make the kind of ham with just the right kind of sweetness. This is also lightly spiced so that the sweetness you love will truly stand out. And yes, it is also ready to eat!
This is similar to the Jamon Cagayan de Oro, only smaller, as it is trimmed from pork shoulder with the skin on and bone in. Of course, since it is a SLERS ham, you know that it is fully cooked and ready to enjoy!
Christmas Brick Ham
This is the perfect ham for smaller and simpler gatherings. A humble-looking but amazingly flavorful loaf of ham you can slice up and enjoy in a variety of ways—in a sandwich, paired with rice, with cheese and wine, etc.
Ham is indeed a delicious treat to have during the Christmas season, whether for Noche Buena, Christmas lunch, or even Media Noche. But if you’re in Cagayan de Oro, then you’re in for a treat because you can easily enjoy the country’s original Christmas ham at any time of the year. After all, why should you wait until Christmas each year to savor such a mouthwatering treat?
Take your pick from the SLERS ham selection and have a wonderful get-together with your loved ones this Christmas and all year-round. Better yet, try them all. Have a very merry Christmas, everyone!