Is P500 enough for Noche Buena?: Netizens shake heads after reports on budget guide

December 15, 2022 - 6:57 PM
Christmas Dinner
Stock photo of a Christmas dinner. (Pixabay/Dan Wirdefalk)

A P500 budget is not enough to prepare a Noche Buena celebration for a family of five.

Several social media users pointed this out after a reporter tried to purchase food items for Noche Buena with a P500budget. This was the budget that the government suggested for Filipinos amid the worsening inflation in the country.

In a report on December 14, GMA News reporter Nico Waje took up the challenge to only use the suggested budget to buy ingredients and products for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner.

Waje scoured the Blumentritt Market in Sta. Cruz, Manila, one of the largest public markets in the nation’s capital, for it.

He later posted a photo and a breakdown of his purchase on social media.

For P496, the reporter bought the following items supposedly for Noche Buena:

  • Pasta/sauce bundle: P110
  • Giniling (1/4): P70
  • Fruit cocktail: P102
  • Condensed milk: P47
  • Keso (200g): P46
  • Ham (500g): P66
  • Loaf bread: P55

The Department of Trade Industry’s Consumer Care page previously posted the P500 consumer guide for Noche Buena to help consumers cope with the rising prices of basic commodities in the market.

The infographic, however, were disapproved by Filipinos online. The price list was criticized as “unrealistic” compared to the prices in the markets. Others also noticed that several essential ingredients were missing.

READ: Pinoys cast doubt on DTI’s P500 Noche Buena budget

The post had since been removed. Prior to deletion, however, several social media users managed to take a screenshot of it and shared it across online platforms.

Proof it’s not enough

Meanwhile, the GMA report was seen as proof that the P500 allocation that the DTI suggested to the public is not enough for a Christmas celebration.

Filipinos online said that essential ingredients such as onion, rice and cooking oil were

Other Filipinos also said that the food items are for one meal only and not for a festive gathering.

“Girl that used to be a 3 p.m. merienda ngayon noche buena na? How far have we fallen?” one user said.

“Ano ‘to almusal with dessert,” another user tweeted.

Some of them told the DTI and the government to stop “gaslighting,” justifying and romanticizing the country’s economic crisis.

RELATED: Calls to stop romanticizing resiliency mount amid rising commodity prices

“The PH Gov’t gaslighting the Filipinos yet again. Diskarte lang yan? Filipinos are resilient naman? One can’t solve/fix a problem w/o first recognizing the prob. The PH econ is bad, it’s time that the gov’t recognizes it, otherwise, they’ll continue to think that it’s not that serious,” one Twitter user said.

“Meanwhile, the Philippines is romanticizing poverty instead of fighting against it,” another Facebook user commented.

“And their point is that we could always settle for less? They are making it seem like we are doing okay but it’s the total opposite,” another user tweeted.

Others expressed dismay over how the government seemed to belittle its constituents.

“So sad. Ganyan ba dapat ang mind set na dapat ishare ng government to its people. So para nilang sinasabi na hanggang dyan lang kayo dapat. Ok na yan dapat. Kaya walang pag asenso bayan eh,” a Facebook user said.

DTI’s response to the criticisms

In an interview with, DTI Assistant Secretary Ann Cabochan stood by the infographics that showed the agency’s guide for a supposed affordable Noche Buena.

“It is not a recommendation. Those social cards that were uploaded on our social media accounts were just our advocacy campaign. We were actually just telling consumers that if you use the Noche Buena price guide, that you can come out with different configurations of what you may want to prepare for Noche Buena,” she said. 

Cabochan said that the agency will not revise the information in it despite the ensuing criticisms against it.

“There’s no intention to revise it. Those social cards were circulated, were uploaded because we wanted to give consumers an idea that they can use the price guide to make a decision on what to buy,” she said.

READ: DTI: P500 price guide meant to be ‘advocacy’ to show goods still ‘in reach’ |

The Philippine Statistics Authority last week reported that the inflation rate rose to 8% this December, thus reflecting the surge in costs of goods and services in the country amid the holiday season.

READ: Philippine inflation leaps to 14-year high in November