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Lola's Birthday Punch

Why I Serve as Board President of the Chicago Cultural Alliance:

I believe that cultural heritage matters and should be valued, shared, celebrated, and preserved. If you do not know where you come from, you will never know where you are headed. My cultural heritage is my personal compass. My parents and grandparents emigrated from the Philippines so our family could have opportunities that were not possible in the Philippines. I am proud to serve as the Board President of the Chicago Cultural Alliance because our work helping to connect, promote and support centers of heritage is so critical. I enjoy sharing stories about my heritage and traditions. I also love to learn about other cultures which we are so fortunate to have in our dynamic city.

Who Taught Me This Recipe/How did I learn it?

I learned this recipe by watching my Lola (grandmother in Tagalog) and Mom make it ever since I was a child. I experienced this recipe by taste, enjoying many wonderful servings of Lola’s birthday punch. So, I know how to make it by taste, not so much by precise measurements.

What culture/country is this dish from?

This recipe is a product of the Filipino-American culture. My Lola invented it!

In the process of working on my Taste From Home essay, I learned that this punch is not actually a recipe from the Philippines as I had originally thought. I found out from my Mom that my Lola invented this recipe herself. My Lola wanted to come up with something special for my first birthday party and created this masterful birthday refreshment. Lola’s Birthday Punch was such a hit that my Mom and Lola had to refill the punch bowl twice during my 1st birthday party.

When Do you Normally eat this Dish? Is it for a Holiday or Celebration?

Normally, you would serve this punch at a birthday party. This recipe is also associated with any large family celebration, such as holidays like Christmas or New Year’s. Anytime we have a large family gathering, you can guarantee, you will find Lola’s Birthday Punch served.

Why is it important to you?

This recipe is important to me because it symbolizes joy, family, and love. Growing up in a large, boisterous Filipino American family, some of my fondest childhood memories revolved around birthday celebrations. Without fail, just about every birthday party I can remember would always include Lola’s classic Birthday Punch!

I remember my Lola proudly placing our family’s modest crystal punch bowl on our dining table. The chiseled bowl was always filled to the brim with the most refreshing and delicious punch I have ever had.

Fast forward several years later to now, when I have a 12 year-old daughter of my own. One of my proudest “Filipino Mom” moments was making Lola’s Birthday Punch for my own daughter’s birthday party. My daughter, of course, has had this remarkable birthday treat before, but this was the first time I had ever shared this secret treasure with anyone outside of our family. I asked my Mom for her “pro tips” for making Lola’s Birthday Punch. I was about to embark on a milestone myself – making my Lola’s Birthday Punch for a group of kids who had never experienced the delight of Lola’s special birthday libation. My daughter and her friends guzzled down several servings of my Lola’s treasured punch. Remarkably, Lola’s Birthday Punch had transcended generations and cultures. My daughter and her friends had just gotten a glimpse into my childhood and were eager to try to make my Lola’s Birthday Punch at their own homes, too. I love sharing my culture with others: you learn by sharing and you grow by trying new things.


  • Hawaiian Punch – Original flavor
  • 7 Up
  • Fresh pineapple juice
  • Orange Sherbet
  • Large oranges for garnish
ABOUT Taste from Home

Taste From Home is brought to you by the Chicago Cultural Alliance. Our mission is to connect, promote, and support centers of cultural heritage for a more inclusive Chicago. 

Taste from Home is collection of recipes and stories inspired by the food that defines who we are and where we come from. As we are all home exploring new recipes and cuisines, we encourage you to share a recipe and story with us that connects you to your family and cultural heritage. 

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today, if you are able. If you are unable to donate, you can still participate by sharing a recipe by using hashtags #tastefromhome, #tastefromhomerecipe, & #chicagocultural on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

Name Date Amount Comments
Joseph Seliga 08/13/2020 $515.24  
Victorina Salvador 07/28/2020 $103.30  
Vanessa Vergara 07/01/2020 $1,030.18 I am proud to make this donation to the Chicago Cultural Alliance in loving memory of my late grandmother, Lydia T. Magno.
Patrick J. J. Murphy 07/01/2020 $515.24 Keep up the amazing work, Chicago Cultural Alliance!
  Total $2,163.96  
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