The Philippines is known for having the world's longest Christmas season. It starts at the first day of September and ends on the feast of the Epiphany. Definitely, Filipinos go all out and love to celebrate the Yuletide season in fun and merriment. This is the time where families and friends unite and and enjoy the season in the most "Christmassy way". So if you're living in or visiting the Metro, here are some of my recommended must-see Christmas destinations, attractions and activities in (and near) Metro Manila.
READ ALSO: 10 Christmas Destinations AROUND THE PHILIPPINES
Where to Spend Christmas in (and near) Metro Manila?
1. Theme Parks (Star City, Sky Ranch, Enchanted Kingdom, SM Mall of Asia)
Theme parks are just some of the attractions that will surely add to the enjoyment of the holiday season. Bring the kids to the nearest theme park in your area, they will surely love the rides and attractions. Theme and amusement parks are not just for kids, it's for adults too! Check out Star City and SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, Sky Ranch in Tagaytay and in San Fernando Pampanga as well as Enchanted Kingdom in Sta. Rosa Laguna.
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2. Giant Lantern Festival, San Fernando City Pampanga
Giant Lantern Festival or "Ligligan Parul" is an annual Christmas event in San Fernando City, Pampanga. It is a grand display of huge lanterns showcasing spectacular lights, interplay of colors and kaleidoscopic patterns accompanied with lively Christmas music. The Giant Lantern Festival competition is held every 2nd week of December where several barangays showcases their giant lanterns to compete for the top prize. READ MORE HERE: Giant Lantern Festival in San Fernando Pampanga.
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3. Ayala Triangle Lights and Sounds Show, Ayala Avenue, Makati City
The Ayala Triangle Gardens showcases a spectacular display of dancing lights and lively Christmas music with the annual lights and sounds show. Watch the lights at the Ayala Triangle Gardens come to life every 30 minutes from 6:00 to 9:00 PM daily. The show is frequented by families and by the yuppies working in Makati. It usually starts late November or early December and run until the first week of January.
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4. Maytinis Festival, Kawit Cavite
Every year, residents from Kawit, other towns and visitors from nearby provinces, flock to Kawit Cavite to witness Maytinis Festival. It is an old Caviteño tradition held annually during December 24th (Christmas Eve) showcasing a dramatic recapping of St. Joseph and Virgin Mary's search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. It also features ancient biblical scenes from the Old to the New Testaments depicted in floats with characters portrayed by Kawiteños. READ MORE HERE: Maytinis Festival 2013.
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5. Shopping Malls and Christmas Bazaars
Go to the shopping malls and enjoy the lavish Christmas decorations. Go on shopping at the bazaars for gifts with their Christmas sale and dine at the restaurants. Surely, shopping malls and bazaars will be jam-packed this Christmas season.
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6. UP Lantern Parade, Diliman Quezon CityAnnual Christmas event in the University of the Philippine in Diliman, it showcases a grand parade of lanterns and colorful floats by various colleges and organizations in the university. It is usually held on the 3rd week of December before the university's Christmas break.
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7. UST Paskuhan Festivities, España ManilaEvery year, Thomasians revel in Christmas joy during UST Paskuhan Festivities. The Paskuhan Festivities marks the start of the students' Christmas break, thus several activities were lined up to the delight of the students. Paskuhan Mass and the Paskuhan Festivities usually start on the 3rd week of December.
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8. Policario Street, Mandaluyong CityPolicarpio Street in Madaluyong City comes alive during Christmas season. This is one of the popular places to visit in Metro Manila for free during the holidays. Take a walk along the streets and be amazed by the houses intricately decorated with fabulous Christmas decorations and lights. A perfect place to bond with your family and friends!
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9. Roxas Boulevard, Manila and Ayala Avenue, MakatiWalk along Roxas Boulevard or Ayala Avenue in Makati Central Business District and savor the beautifully decorated buildings. Everyone will definitely love the millions of flickering and shimmering Christmas lights and decorations.
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10. COD Christmas Show in Greenhills Shopping CenterA well-loved Filipino Christmas tradition, it is an annual Christmas display of automated figures with interesting movements accompanied with colorful lights and music featuring Christmas stories to the delight the public. Shows usually starts mid or late November and lasts until early January. Also, catch the Christmas Night Market and Christmas Bangketa Fair held in conjunction of the Christmas Shows.
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11. Explore the Santa Claus House in AntipoloLocated east of Metro Manila or just 30 minutes away from Ortigas Pasig, Casa Santa inside Jardin de Marimar is a museum of more than 3,700 items with Christmas and Santa Claus themes and motifs from different countries around the world. Open all year round, it is the best place to educate the kids about Christmas traditions and cultures. Casa Santa tours starts at P180.00 per person, booking can be done by reservation or by walk-ins!
Jardin de Marimar
276 San Jose Ext., San Isidro Antipolo City
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12. Staycation in Metro ManilaSpend the holidays in the many luxurious Hotels in Metro Manila. During Christmas, hotels offer different holiday packages that will surely delight the family, especially the kids. Enjoy the lovely Christmas decors, avail hotel packages that includes Noche Buena feast or a New Year countdown package.
Looking for hotels in Metro Manila? CLICK HERE.
Nothing beats the Christmas season in the Philippines! Merry Christmas to all!!!
RECOMMENDED READ: 10 Must-see Christmas Destinations AROUND THE PHILIPPINES
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