Travel and Tourism

LIST: Must-see Christmas 2019 destinations in and near Metro Manila

Jan Milo Severo - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — The merriest season of the year has definitely arrived! 

Christmas lights are now sparkling bright in every corner. People have been taking photos left and right in front of towering Christmas trees, and carolers have been singing their hearts out to the tune of classic Yuletide hits. For those wanting to feel Christmas a bit more, check out these holiday hubs.

A ‘Frozen’ magical Christmas

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach (center). Philstar.com/Jan Milo Severo

Families and friends can now explore a winter wonderland with a 45-foot Snowflake Christmas Tree illuminated with sparkling lights at SM City North EDSA’s Frozen Magical Holiday at The Block Atrium.

Mallgoers can also wander through the birch tree lighted enchanted forest, go deep North into an icecapade, and blaze through an ice trail of light changing snowflakes at the mood room until January 5.

This is a joint collaboration between SM and Disney highlighting the well-loved Oscar-winning animated musical film “Frozen,” which was released in 2013, and will have a sequel that will be featured in November in cinemas nationwide.

Kids and kids at heart had a magical experience during the recent launch as the queenly 2015 Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach made a royal entrance surrounded by ballerinas. She was later joined by Prima Ballerina Liza Macuja-Elizalde and SM Supermalls Chief Operating Officer Steven Tan.

Everything was merry and bright as performances from singer Marynor Madamesila and Ballet Manila captivated families. SM Little Star 2019 3rd Runner-up Patrice Michaela Asuncion and other kids Gabrielle Chadon, Ethan Suyo, Gavin Chadon, and Jericho Kuzmicki also joined in the fun during the celebration.

There’s more wintry fun ahead at the Frozen 2 Friends Meet and Greet on November 29, 30 and December 1 at The Block Atrium. “Frozen 2” fans and collectors can also find a wide range of plush, unique, educational and popular souvenirs, collectibles, toys, apparel, and much more at the Find your Magic Pop-Up Store by The SM Store and Toy Kingdom.

Kids can check out A Magical Science Show by Nutty Scientist on December 14; and get a chance to share their wishes as they Meet and Greet with Santa on December 8, 15, 22 and 25. The music of Christmas fills the air performances by National University Chorale on December 15, all at The Block Atrium.

Outside the mall, the Skygarden glows with a 75-foot Giant Firefly Christmas tree, as well as neon lights snowflakes and a magnificent Christmas countdown arch. Northern skies will light up the holidays with the Grand Firework Show on December 6, 13, 20, and 27 at the Sky Garden leading to Christmas Day.

Handpicked Christmas décors galore

Bazaars are one of the things that we see during the Holiday season cropping up like flowers all over the metro. These bazaars are a great place to find cheap but good quality and unique goods perfect for gifting.

This Holiday season, Ayala Land brings Dapitan Arcade to Cloverleaf Balintawak in Little Dapitan. Until December, different local artisans will be at Cloverleaf Balintawak to give the best of Dapitan Arcade handpicked for buyers; no need to go all the way to Dapitan Arcade. 

The Christmas season wouldn’t be complete without Christmas decorations and since Dapitan Arcade is all about accentuating local artisans, all these are made local to support the local market. You may also find Capiz light fixtures and other ornaments that can be used to decorate the home.

For those looking for wooden handicrafts and furniture, Little Dapitan also has a wide selection of skilled artisans who are present and will be selling their local handicrafts as well as flower arrangements, vases, and centerpieces.

"Right now, this is what we call 'the best of the best of Dapitan.' If you've been to Dapitan, these are the best finds here. It has been rated by several magazines, surveys to be the best purchases from the heritage shopping district in Manila. We've gathered them all here for you," said Catherine Ann Reganit, Manager for Corporate Brand Marketing, Ayala Land.

These products are not only for personal home decor but they make very nice gifts this holiday season. Cloverleaf Balintawak makes it easier to shop for these local artisan products by bringing them closer to the metro and making them more accessible to those who don’t have the luxury of time to travel long distances to get their hands on these local products.

Chinese-inspired holidays

The display’s centerpiece is a 33-foot Christmas tree adorned with golden eventails, opulent feathers and a giant phoenix. The mall welcomed guests and customers via a festive circus performance featuring an international and local array of acrobats, jugglers and aerialists. Philstar.com/File

SM Aura Premier officially began the Christmas season with a Chinoiserie-inspired display and two interactive art and lights exhibits that will run until January 7.

Taking inspiration from the phoenix, by the Christmas tree stands “Flight of Lights,” which features two interactive light displays. 

The first display is a golden bird cage with an interactive light show. As participants form their hands into a particular shape, a phoenix will emerge and fly above their heads. 

The second is in the Skypark at the fifth floor, where swings glow in vivid colors. Surrounding the swings are moving lights reminiscent of fireflies. 

From November 22 to 24, there will be a harp exhibit by HarpRoom at the mall’s main entrance. At the main atrium, guests can enjoy choral performances from December 1 to 8, Letters to Santa Workshop from December 6 to 7 and Santa’s Meet and Greet from December 24 to 25.

Christmas around the world right in Makati

Century City Mall tree lighting ceremony and festivities. Philstar.com/Deni Bernardo

At Century City Mall, a line-up of activities is in store with the theme “Christmas Around the World.” 

A Christmas tree lighting kicked off the festivities at the mall’s Skyloft. Expression Music Philippines and Children’s Joy Foundation serenaded guests with Christmas songs. Red and gold trees lit up the mall’s fourth level as guests dined on food and drinks by the Skyloft’s new tenants. 

Johnson Go, Century Properties Group (CPG) President for Retail and Leasing; Marco Antonio, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer and Ambassador Jose Antonio, CPG Executive Chairman, were present to lead the tree lighting.

The mall’s north and south entrances have been spruced up with Christmas lights and hot air balloon and gift decors. 

Every pay day Friday and Saturday, from 6 to 9 p.m., there will be Christmas carols by different groups and organizations until December 25.

In partnership with Scout’s Honor, the mall will have 25 Days of Cookie Giveaway and A Christmas Boop Treat from December 1 to 25 for pet owners and their furry friends who will dress up in cute holiday costumes. For shoppers, there will be a 10 percent rebate alongside other prizes to win.

To celebrate the season’s true meaning, there will also be Simbang Gabi and a Christmas Mass at the Padre Pio Da Pietrelcina Chapel at the mall’s fifth level. Mass is at 8 p.m. for December 8, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and for Simbang Gabi from December 15 to 23.

Awaken the season 

Newly re-opened Glorietta Activity Center. Photo release

It’s time to go all out for Christmas at Ayala Malls, as it gets ready to awaken the season with a mix of exciting events that will happen all throughout the holidays. To ring in that merry feeling, the malls have a line-up of activities that aim to appeal to the kids and kids-at-heart, with the sights and sounds of the season adding to the joy and excitement that only Christmas can bring.

The Ayala Malls are decking their halls with a fresh look that combines the traditional Christmas colors with a tropical, floral vibe. Each mall will have its towering Christmas tree, together with beautiful carols playing to serenade shoppers.

Feel the magic of the season with festive spectacles and visual feasts such as fireworks displays at Alabang Town Center, Cloverleaf, Fairview Terraces, and TriNoma; 3D Projection Mapping at Alabang Town Center and Ayala Malls Manila Bay; Festival of Lights at Ayala Center Cebu; and dazzling Christmas presentations lighting up on the towering LED screen of the newly re-opened Glorietta Activity Center.

“Frozen” fans will get a special treat at Ayala Cinemas, with special viewings on November 22 and 24 that come with a Snackbar bundle of popcorn and drinks. What’s more, kids 12 and below can participate in a princess party inspired by Anna and Elsa. 

Sounds of the season

Arkansas-based group Joan, Alan Thomas and Steven Rutherford, serenaded the attendees at the newly re-opened Glorietta Activity Center with their hit song “Love Somebody Like You." Photo release

Be enchanted by wondrous performances at the Halu-Halong Pasko programs at different Ayala Malls all over the country. The vibrant, free-flowing show celebrates the beauty and diversity of Filipino music in different forms with performances featuring local artists, headlined by the Steps Dance Project, Joey Ayala, Gian Magdangal, and The Company, with guest performances by Darren Espanto, Sam Concepcion, Aicelle Santos, and Yeng Constantino.

English singer-songwriter James Arthur is also set to bring in his brand of ear candy as a treat to mallgoers on November 22 at the Alabang Town Center, November 23 at Ayala Malls Vertis North, and November 24 at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay.

Global music app Spotify will set up shop at Greenbelt 5 from December 13 to 15 and at TriNoma from December 20 to 22, to gift its subscribers with a tote bag that is as personalized as their taste in music.

Lighting up Makati

Ayala Avenue and Ayala Triangle Gardens. Photo release; Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.

For decades, switching on the Christmas lights along Ayala Avenue in Makati has signaled the beginning of the festive holiday season. The entire stretch, illuminated by beautiful ornaments and installations, often highlighting Filipino craftsmanship and tradition, has captivated both local residents and visitors.

“This event has always been one of the things many Filipino families look forward to every year. Ayala Land is honored to be part of this tradition. It’s our way of bringing cheer to the community, and sending a positive message to everyone,” said Cathy Bengzon.

“This year’s design features Christmas trees and angel wings—elements that are more than just pretty displays that mark the holiday merriment and festive celebrations. The trees have always been a symbol of life and light, and we wanted to use these elements to impart a message of hope and strength to everyone. It’s always a joy to be able to share a meaningful Christmas with every Filipino family through our installations,” Cathy added.

Paying homage to earlier Christmas decors in Ayala Avenue which highlighted Filipino artistry, this year’s theme, designed by premier event stylist and interior designer Zenas Pineda, features bronze-colored, cone-shaped Christmas trees with intricate patterns reminiscent of the decors that lined and lit up the city’s lamp posts decades ago. Local materials and products will also be promoted through details and decors that showcase abanico-shaped installations and Capiz chandeliers, as well as solihiya and adarna feather patterns, which all signify the rich heritage of Filipinos.

Ayala Land also recently unveiled its "Gallery of Lights" at the Ayala Triangle Gardens. The laser light show can be enjoyed from 6 to 10 p.m. every night until January 12.

Lights, music and sharing

It was lights, music, and sharing as The SM Mall of Asia recently welcomed the holidays with an amazing performance by the UST Choir accompanied by Manila Philharmonic Orchestra, the lighting of the 60-foot giant Christmas tree, and a gift-giving activity for kids.

The University of Santo Tomas Singers, who were recently named the Choir of the World Champion during the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in Wales, United Kingdom, serenaded the audience with their own renditions of Christmas classic songs like “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Jingle Bells,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Kumukutikutitap.” The choir was accompanied by the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the leading orchestras in the country through over a decade of well-applauded live performances, records, tours and innovative programs of bringing the orchestra closer to the communities.

As is the mall’s tradition, the event included a tree lighting ceremony of the 60-foot Christmas tree is designed with over 120,000 LED lights and red ornaments of red Christmas balls in different sizes. The cute MOA magical friends: Leo the lion, Ellie, the elephant, Cyril, the squirrel, Benny, the Bunny, Hannah, the Panda, Hailey the hippo, Macky, the monkey, Gerry, the giraffe and Sebi, the Zebra, the newest addition to the family, also joined in the festivities.

During the event, SM also launched its Christmas Bears of Joy for the benefit of its chosen beneficiary, Bahay Tuluyan. Every P200 purchase at any SM branch, entitles one to a pair of SM Bears of Joy, one of those goes to the foundation.

Musical light tunnel and street food night market

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto recently led the opening of the Christmas Street Musical Light Tunnel (inset). Photo release

Ortigas & Company welcomes the holidays by lighting up the Ortigas East Christmas Street Musical Light Tunnel with an enchanting light display playing alongside well-loved Christmas songs. With this show, families and friends can come together to celebrate the joy of the holiday season within the bustling estate.

To light up this holiday spectacle, famed musical troupe Buganda Drumbeaters, students from Meridian International Business, Arts and Technology (MINT) College, the Rosario Zooombrgy of Pasig City, CCF Saints Dance Ministry, and employees from Ortigas & Company unveiled the lights and musical display through a series of festive musical numbers during the launch.   

There will also be a StrEAT Food night market open every night from 6 to 10 p.m. until January 5, where foodies in the Metro can gather to enjoy their favorite Filipino street eats. Foodies are also encouraged to bring their own utensils to the night market in support of the estate’s focus on eco-friendly and sustainable standards. 

The Ortigas East Christmas Street Musical Light Tunnel will be open to the public every night from 6 to 10 p.m. until January 5.

Christmas tree lighting with ‘Asia’s Songbird’

COD Manila's tree lighting ceremonies featuring a mini concert by Regine Velasquez. Philstar.com/Jan Milo Severo

City of Dreams Manila commenced the holiday festivities with a spectacular lighting ceremony of its towering 32-foot Christmas tree positioned at the luxury resort’s main entrance. Replete with 10,000 glistening LED lights and ornaments that draw child-like wonder, the tree is the resort’s centerpiece this holiday season.

Dubbed as “Christmas of Dreams,” the event featured a mesmerizing performance by “Asia’s Songbird” Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, who warmed the audience’s hearts with Philippine pop songs “Araw, Gabi” and “Ako’y Iyong Iyo,” and holiday melodies like “Joyful, Joyful” and “Christmas All Over the World.”

The ceremonial tree lighting was officiated by Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez and his spouse Janet, Parañaque First District Congressman Eric Olivarez, Belle Corporation Chairman of the Executive Committee Willy Ocier, and City of Dreams Manila Chief Operating Officer Kevin Benning and spouse Angel.

The Christmas tree sets the tone for the holiday decor around the property including the three luxury hotel brands Nuwa, Nobu and Hyatt Regency. Danish designer Creation Group conceptualized and designed the decor, which was executed by Tema Design Philippines. Creation Group is one of the world’s leading companies in the field of animated figures and mechanical display solutions and is renowned for designing amusement parks, malls, family entertainment spaces and hotels and restaurants.

As part of its commitment to sustainability, Kevin Benning says that the Christmas tree lights and the other decors will be powered by renewable energy harnessed from the sun, upon the installation of a solar rooftop at the parking building, a first among integrated resorts in the country.

To make the season more festive for families, City of Dreams Manila is also staging a grand holiday parade on all weekends of December, including December 24, 25 and January 1 every 5 p.m. The parade features the well-loved DreamWorks characters joined by a magical retinue of animated Christmas ornaments. The Electro Groovers, who are DreamPlay’s King Julien Dance Off Year 4 Grand Champion and who recently won gold at the World Supremacy Battle-Junior Division in Australia, will also take part in the festive parade.

Laser dancers

It’s going to be an exciting holiday season as Greenhills launches its first Laser Light Symphony. Touted to be the first of its kind in the Philippines, this show features two expert laser dancers showcasing their talents with the play of laser lights. 

The laser show will run every half hour from 6 to 10 p.m. from November 15 through January 5, at the G-Strip Parking area. The inaugural show on November 15 will also feature fireworks. The laser show is a unique accompaniment to the Christmas Night Market that will rise at the same spot.

Celebrity bazaar

There’s nothing quite like Christmas in the Philippines. Here, the holidays ring synonymous to meticulous gift shopping, the sound of spirited music, movie marathons, and lots of celebrating with the family.

Welcoming the upcoming holiday season in true Filipino fashion, Circuit Makati brings all these and more together at the 2019 run of the Circuit Holiday Night Market. Happening from November 15 to 17 from 5 p.m. to midnight, the Globe Circuit Events Grounds will transform into a wonderland of local love and merrymaking just before Christmas preparations kick into full swing.

Kick-off the holiday season and get started on your Christmas shopping at Makati's biggest outdoor bazaar. This year’s night market fixes its lens on all things homegrown and unapologetically Filipino.

The Regional District spotlights the craftsmanship and creativity of the Philippines. Featuring unique, locally-produced products and delicacies from across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, this is the ultimate place to get your pasalubong fix.

If it’s celebrity-owned items and goods produced by the stars themselves that you’re looking for, Celebrity District is just the place. Organized in partnership with children’s book author and celebrity mom Tin Tin Babao, guests can shop from up to 30 merchants including Diana Zubiri, Miriam Quiambao, Tippy Dos Santos, Nene Tamayo, and Yana Asistio, among others. 

Circuit Makati serves up festive accompaniment to keep guests entertained through all three nights of the Holiday Night Market. Every evening from 5:30 to 11 p.m., the Globe Circuit Events Grounds will set the stage for CineCircuit outdoor movie screenings, contemporary arts and dance performances, live chorale performances, and sets by some of OPM’s finest.

A taste of Japan for the holidays

Photo release

Japanese retail store Daiso, known for its wide variety of products priced from P88, has recently launched its latest look and logo, an initative that covers its thousand-plus stores worldwide.

The new look is now in place in some stores in the Philippines, notably at its 92th branch at the recently-opened Robinsons Galleria South in San Pedro, Laguna. It is located at Level 3 of this sprawling mall that has been complimented by many for its artsy and playful designs. More branches in the country will soon carry the new interiors and logo.

The store at Robinsons Galleria South has a modern, Zen-like look with hints of the Sakura vibe of Japan. Clean lines are apparent in the way the interiors were designed, with aisles that are spacious and easier to navigate. Products per category are displayed more efficiently making it easier for customers to find what they are looking for. There are new products such as a wider range of make-up, facial care products, hair and beauty accessories on the cosmetic table. Customers can touch and feel what’s on display for a full customer experience.

Filipino artists at the forefront

UT Me is the store's equivalent of Santa's workshop where one can design one's own shirts and bags. One can choose from designs of Filipino artists. Photo release; Philstar.com/Deni Bernardo

After the successful launch of its first roadside store in the country, Japanese global apparel retailer Uniqlo marks another milestone as it celebrates the first anniversary of the largest store in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia.

“The first anniversary of the Manila Global Flagship Store signifies the brand’s success in the Philippines and in the region, thanks to our customers. We are grateful for the strong support we have been receiving since we opened our first flagship store in the country almost a year ago,” said Geraldine Sia, Co-Chief Operating Officer, Uniqlo Philippines. 

“To share this momentous event to all Filipinos, we are excited to announce the release of new contents, collections, and the LifeWear magazine.”

A celebration of Manila’s flourishing and forward-thinking culture, “Our Future Is Here” campaign continues as the brand draws a parallel between the brand’s products, its brand values, and the character of Manila. 

For the Manila Global Flagship Store’s first anniversary, the brand collaborated with 10 Filipino designers for its new do-it-yourself station and with multi-awarded and world renowned furniture designer and manufacturer, Kenneth Cobonpue and one-stop, homegrown outdoor brand, Celeste Cycles. Products of these local brands are showcased in-store to provide customers the complete LifeWear experience.

Season of giving and recycling

From left: TV host Marc Nelson at the Nespresso Farm; products made of recycled coffee capsules sold for a cause by Negrense Volunteers for Change (NVC) Foundation, Inc. Photo release

Have you ever wondered where those aluminum capsules in espresso went after drinking your favorite coffee?

Nespresso recently launched a recycling program as they put the aluminum capsules in the spotlight. In collaboration with organizations that share the same commitment to sustainability, the brand collaborated with Katipunan Metal Corp, where recycled capsules are sent and the aluminum turned into its raw form to be used in the manufacturing of aluminum products such as car parts, computer parts, and other products.

The used capsules were also upcycled into decorative items by artisans at the Negrense Volunteers for Change Foundation. The proceeds of the sold artworks provide a livelihood for the local artisans, and fund the organization’s social and livelihood programs.

In a farm tour held in Laguna recently, Nespresso shift their focus on another aspect of its coffee products – the coffee grounds. When separated from the aluminum capsule, the coffee grounds can be reused as fertilizer to improve the soil and provide nutrients to the plants. They add organic material to the soil, which helps in creating better structure by improving the drainage, water retention, and aeration in the soil.

They are also beneficial as fillers, improving the soil’s texture and porosity. The coffee grounds also help improve the soil’s acidity level. They also happen to be excellent natural pest repellent so farms don’t have to use pesticides and other chemicals. This is why the company partners with several organic farms where used coffee grounds are sent to be utilized as natural compost.

Negrense Volunteers for Change (NVC) Foundation, Inc. recently exhibited mosaic art pieces which combine a skillful use of discarded Nespresso capsules, glass chips, eggshells and ceramic tiles in various themes along with table top items which range from Christmas birds, napkin rings, statuettes and religious items all showcasing the artisans’ mastery of the mosaic craft in its most intricate form.  A recent hit from their workshop, which will also be available in the show, will be earrings fashioned from coffee capsules.

While the products are an output of its livelihood project, the show’s proceeds benefit entirely NVC’s nutrition program which is a daily, six-month feeding protocol, mostly for infants and toddlers using Mingo, an instant nutritious and natural complementary food. NVC manufactures Mingo in their government certified production plant which sources its ingredients from local farmers. 

Holiday cheers along Manila Bay

Ayala Land’s biggest Ayala Mall to date and the newest retail destination in Metro Manila opens up to the world through an ensemble of home-grown retail concepts, mixed with popular global brands. It features specialty multicultural hubs, offering a wide range of new and exciting selections merging a distinctly local design with art, fashion and food.

With a gross floor area of almost 400,000 square meters, the mall has five levels of retail and dining. It also boasts of a multi-modal transportation hub for the commuting public’s convenience, 5 levels of BPO offices and a 350-room Seda Hotel that are soon to open.

The mall will hold exhibits and entertainment programs that cover a wide range of genres and interests. This month’s activities include back-to-back mall shows featuring popular personalities in the Filipino movie industry. 

Flavors of the world

Gourmet Fest. Photo release

Indulge in the flavors of the world at Shangri-La Plaza’s annual Gourmet Fest until November 17.

Breathe in the mingling aromas of Persian spices and Vietnamese barbeque. Listen to the sharp sizzle of seasoned beef as it’s pressed to the grill. And experience the many textures and flavors of Shang’s well-curated gastronomic selections.

The annual Gourmet Fest celebrates all the mouthwatering food and drinks Shang has to offer, as each restaurant or cafe sets up a creative exhibit featuring sampler portions of their best offerings at discounted rates.

Discover hearty European dishes like a classic Italian meal—from pastas to risottos—at Balboa. Or go to Pezzo for a satisfying serving of pizza. Savor the rich flavors of Spanish food at Wobbly Pan, or indulge your sweet tooth with cookies from La Mère Poulard and enjoy some rosti from Spatzle.

Enjoy tried-and-tested American comfort food and order a crispy plate of Southern fried chicken at Kettle or a burger at Tender Bob’s. Head on over to Yellow Cab for some New York-inspired pizza, or grab a Cuban sandwich at Pepi Cubano for a quick bite.

Explore Asian favorites by trying the best dishes of Japanese shabu-shabu joint Ganso Shabuway, sinking into a tender cutlet of deep-fried meat at Kimukatsu. Savor the flavors of Japan at SumoSam or enjoy succulent maki and rice bowls from Akira. For a modern spin on Vietnamese delicacies, Zao is the place to go. Slurp up some viscous Thai noodles at Thai BBQ, or devour satay at Lemongrass. Relish inauthentic Persian spices and kebab selections at Arya Persian Restaurant.

Craving for flavors that are closer to home? At Via Mare, every diner can enjoy delicious Filipino dishes. Find fusions of Filipino and Tex-Mex dishes like bagnet served with Cajun potato fries at Fiesta Alamexo. Or delight in Filipino-Spanish cuisine as it reaches its flavorful apex at Corazon. Find comfort and taste all-time favorites at Bread, Broth and Beyond.

Feel the light, silky smoothness of a freshly-made crepe at La Creperie. Then, grab a helping of milk tea at Yi Fang or savor a rich cup of coffee at Figaro. Sample the best breads from EDSA Shangri-La Hotel Bakeshop and find your favorite cup of joe at Bo’s Coffee Primo.

Christmas at the theme park

As part of its 24th anniversary celebration and to kick-start the holiday season, Enchanted Kingdom presents a new animated and immersive trip, “Happy Family: The Ride” movie at the Rialto Theater, Brooklyn Zone.

Find out how an ordinary day for the Wunschmann Family turned into an extraordinary adventure. Follow their spooky quest as they find a solution to get back to their normal selves after being transformed into monsters. Can they find a way out of the ghost train that’s under the spell of the evil witch Babayaga?

Happy Family: The Ride is produced by MackMedia and will be shown at the Park’s Rialto 4D Theater.

Christmas in the east

The township was the first in the country to kick off Christmas this year when it lit up its 40-foot Christmas tree adorned with toys and trinkets as early as September. Photo release

Eastwood City, Megaworld’s premier township in Quezon City, spreads the spirit of Christmas by bringing smiles to the faces of families and kicking off a season of gift-giving and merriment.

The township was the first in the country to kick off Christmas this year when it lit up its 40-foot Christmas tree adorned with toys and trinkets as early as September.
Today, the mall complex dazzled further as it launched and lit up the entire township with its Christmas toy town display, which includes life-sized Christmas toy decorations, to add more color to the longest Christmas celebration in the Philippines.

The lighting ceremony held at the Eastwood Mall Open Park was led by Kevin Tan, chief strategy officer of Megaworld Corporation, and Graham Coates, head of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, together with the evening’s special guest performers Aicelle Santos and Christian Bautista.

Christmas in Boracay

Another way of celebrating the Yuletide season with the family is a beach getaway with no other than Boracay island.

For families, the holiday season presents an ideal opportunity to celebrate ties that bind over the Christmas break – that wonderful time of the year.

This year, parents can give their children the “gift of a lifetime” by bringing them to the world’s number one island, and spending quality time with them in a safe, secure and fun location. The Auhana Boracay provides leisurely escape where families can find the best recreational activities at a comfortable distance from the island’s usual crowds.

Auhana is a seven-hectare luxury resort with a plethora of dipping pools, modern amenities, dining areas, and, more impressively, a 330-meter long stretch of white beach. Inspired by the Polynesian word for family, the resort is a place where parents and their children can bond with each other over a number of fun and enjoyable activities. 

And because families love to bond over good food, the resort also came up with its own line-up of dining options spread across three different restaurants. These are All-Day Dining, an open-air restaurant with a breath-taking view of the sea; Asian Eats, which offers classic and contemporary, as well as Asian fusion dishes; and The Porch, where families can enjoy, not just an excellent meal, but a priceless view of Boracay’s fabled sunset.

Christmas by the bay

Firefly LED makes Christmas even better and brighter for 2019 as it lit up the 75-foot giant Christmas tree at SM By the Bay Mall led by Filipino holiday icon singer and songwriter Jose Mari Chan.

The tree lighting event also served as the first public introduction of Jose Mari Chan as Firefly LED Brand ambassador.

According to Chan, Firefly LED is not the only brand that offered him an endorsement. The reason he accepted it is because the company manufactures products that he believes in. “It makes Christmas even better because a safe Christmas is indeed a happy Christmas,” said Chan.

At the Chan home, their Christmas tree is lit up with LED Christmas lights.

The Christmas tree at SM By the Bay has a “Home for the Holidays” theme with red and gold colors. The tree is adorned with gift boxes, candy canes, Christmas balls with angels and snowmen.

Celebrating pre-war heritage 

Performing on the Palacio grounds as night falls is the Kulturang Kayumanggi Dance Troupe. Photo release

Palacio de Memoria celebrates its first holiday event inspired by the festivities of a genteel era and history of a glorious past. Pasko sa Palacio, to be held on December 7, is an evening of history and yuletide festivities of a bygone era. Together with the Paranaque City Tourism Division, the Palacio will be a setting for music and dance that come with the longest Christmas in the world.

Performing on the Palacio grounds as night falls is the Kulturang Kayumanggi Dance Troupe under the tutelage of Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. For over 25 years the Kulturang Kayumanggi created a niche in the world of dance performed closest to its original form. The Dance Troupe under the directorship of Ms. Christine Barrios has served to preserve the dance heritage of the Philippines.

“As our first Christmas here right on Roxas Boulevard, we are opening our home to all off you to feel the joy of the Filipino Christmas – there is no place more appropriate than at the estate, lit with parols, and the cool breeze. We are supporting the community of Paranaque City, and your visit will be of great help as we ‘revive’ our own heritage that is being overtaken by Western traditions,” noted Camille Lhuillier, General Manager.

The Pasko sa Palacio is highlighted by Los Pastores -- folk dances and songs practiced in many parts of the country during the novenario, or through the Simbang Gabi.

Feel the wonders of the holidays

Tiendesitas starts the Christmas season right with festive activities and surprises for everyone. Until January 5, 2020, friends and families can visit the Gift of Wonders, a bigger-than-life installation that will awaken your Christmas and gift-giving spirit, located at the Food and Pet Village.

Reminiscent of borderless worlds, enchanting interactive visuals and marvelous discoveries, the Gift of Wonders highlights everything there is to love about Christmas and this planet we call home. The House of Stars is an immersive installation with vibrant colors and dancing lights that encapsulate the light and warmth of a Filipino Christmas. While the Pets Unleashed is an animated installation that highlights the grandeur of the planet through the eyes of various animals inhabiting this shared home, reminding us this Christmas season to stop and appreciate the world we live in and to enjoy life with our families and pets by our side.

As Tiendesitas continues to showcase the best that the Philippines has to offer and provide guests with a strong connection to our culture, there will be a Parol Making Contest from November 22 to 23 from 3 p.m to 6 p.m at the 1st level of the Food Village. Participants will then showcase their handmade parols and parade them on November 24.

Pilipinas Got Talent finalist, Bughaw Folkloric Dance Group, will entertain shoppers and guests with inspiring Filipino folk dances from all Sundays of November to December from 6 p.m to 7 p.m at the 2nd level of the Food Village while on November 11, everyone has the chance to bring out their inner child with a chance to play iconic Filipino games like patintero, piko and sungka in Larong Pambata, Lalaban Ka Ba?

Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit with Himig Pasko Caroling Competition for both adults and children. On November 16, it’s the kids turn to spread Christmas cheer with their best local Christmas piece.

Dazzling window displays

Kids enjoying the holidays. Photo release

The season of sharing, good cheer, and gift-giving is here, and it’s time to rekindle that age-old Christmas time magic with traditions such as trimming the tree and finding the perfect presents for loved ones and friends.

And while everyone is busy completing Christmas checklists, Rustan’s was brewing up their own list of everything nice that would surely give instant magical feelings of bliss, love, and warmth. As the ultimate destination in these merry times, create the sweetest memories in specially-curated store activities, indulge in the sweetest gifts for your loved ones—and yourself.

The metro always lights up at Christmas time, and Rustan’s spreads holiday cheer every year with its dazzling holiday window displays. This holiday season is no different, as it lights up its latest tastefully arranged menagerie of Christmas delights that embody the joy and warmth of the festivities.

Interactive water show

Nuvali teamLab Water. Photo release

The first ever interactive water show in the Philippines is claimed to be set up at the Globe Lakeside in Nuvali in November 22. Organized by Ayala Land in partnership with world-renowned art collective teamLab, the show will feature artworks projected on larger-than-life waterscreen displays that spans 100-meters wide and 15-meters high. 

Nuvali teamLab Water will feature four different artworks. Some of the artworks will be interactive, making the show completely unique as it is co-created in real time by visitors through the teamLab smartphone application. As guests participate in the artworks, working with one another to create a new world together, an interactive relationship between the viewers and the artwork are formed and each become an integral part of the art.  — Video by Erwin Cagadas Jr.



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