These Yuletide-decked spots in Metro Manila are sure to lift your Christmas spirit this year.
If there’s one thing about Filipinos you can count on, it’s their passion for celebrating all things Christmas. In fact, our nation’s said to have the world’s longest Yuletide season, which for us begins as soon as the “ber” months start rolling in. And the fact that events like Halloween and All Souls’ Day stand between September and December doesn’t stop people from getting a headstart on the decorating.
Now that the day itself is only a few weeks away, our favorite local Christmas spots are once again alive with everything that makes the season merry. If you and your family will be in Metro Manila during the holidays, don’t forget to schedule a trip to these areas.
Ayala Triangle Gardens Lights & Sounds Show
Now on its fifth year, the “Festival of Lights” show at the Ayala Triangle Gardens was launched on November 9 with the theme “Beats and Hues.” Running until January 3, 2016, from 6 to 10 p.m., the show will feature three light shows set to three different musical styles.
Plus: Light installations designed by Zenas Pineda to represent some of the country’s oldest churches are also on display. And if you find yourself getting hungry while waiting 30 minutes between light shows, you can fill your grumbling tummy at any of the restaurants located within the gardens.
“Hometown Christmas: A Moving Mannequin Show,” Greenhills Shopping Center
Every night from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m., shoppers at Greenhills Shopping Center can marvel at this year’s “Christmas on Display” (COD) show, which will run until January 3, 2016, at GSC Parking 1-B. Dubbed “Hometown Christmas: A Moving Mannequin Show,” this year’s display features a family that comes home to the Philippines for the holidays and enjoys the local traditions only practiced in the country.
Plus: After the show, those looking for a last-minute gift can also check out the Christmas Night Market, which will be open until January 3 as well. For a truly budget-friendly experience, drop by the Christmas Bangketa Fair from now until December 31.
Giant Christmas Tree, Araneta Center
Standing at the Gateway Food Park, the giant, 100-foot-tall Christmas tree has been illuminating Cubao’s Araneta Center area every Christmas for over 30 years. Araneta Group president and CEO Jorge L. Araneta said of the giant tree: “It’s an annual tradition that shoppers and residents in the area look forward to because it signals the start of the season. It’s a colorful reminder of love, joy and hope that the season brings. For Araneta Center, we want to make it better than last year so we constantly challenge ourselves to make this annual tradition more joyous, festive and entertaining than the last.”
Plus: Various events will also take place in the different shopping centers within the area, including the Disney On Ice Magical Ice Festival at the Big Dome from December 25 to January 3 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum; Christmas caroling at Gateway Mall, New Frontier Plaza, and Ali Mall starting December 2; and the Santa Meet and Greet every weekend of December.
Policarpio Street in Brgy. Zuniga, Mandaluyong City
What was once a tradition started by three households in Mandaluyong’s Policarpio Street is now a much-visited attraction for families not just within the area but also tourists traveling to the city see the display for themselves. According to an article published in Inquirer.net, the spectacle was started in 1996 by three families who wanted to help create community harmony. Because of the yearly display’s ability to pull in sightseers, the Mandaluyong City government eventually recognized it as a tourist attraction.
Plus: If you want something to nibble on as you visit house after Christmas house along Policarpio, food stalls offering various gastronomic delights line both sides of the street.
Giant Christmas Tree and Lanterns, CCP Complex
The Cultural Center of the Philippines partnered with Omni Electrical & LED Lighting Products and the city of San Fernando Pampanga to brighten up the CCP Complex this Christmas. From now until January 3, 2016, visitors will be able to enjoy the sight of a 50-foot-tall Christmas tree, as well as various lanterns each eight feet in diameter. According the CCP, what makes their display different, aside from the sheer magnitude of each element, is the fact that they use LED technology to minimize their environmental impact without decreasing the aesthetic appeal of their display.
Plus: Once you’re done ogling the lights and are ready for something a bit more fun-filled, Star City is only a few minutes away if you’re up for a bit of walking.
Sources: rappler.com, gmanetwork.com, aranetacenter.net, inquirer.net, culturalcenter.gov.ph
Photo by Cess Padilla