2013 Christmas Must-Sees in Metro Manila
Isang magandang araw! We’ve been using that greeting for weeks now and some folks we greet giggle at our accents but we know they like to hear us say it. Lately, the araws are also malamig, almost like the Spring in Europe; although we are missing the sun a bit for a few days now.
But anyway, after our malls series a few weeks ago, we decided not to spend another second shopping. Good thing that in this season of abundance there are many ways to enjoy Christmas without focusing too much on shopping.
In Metro Manila, shows and attractions are available in many pockets in the cities, giving audiences a feast for the eyes and an unforgettable memory to bring home.
We have been to some of them, and we’d like to share them with you in case you wanna spend your holidays here in Manila. So, without further ado, here are just some of these entertaining places and events to look out for this season:
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella – Pasay City
Where: Newport Theatre, Resorts World Manila, Pasay City
When: 13 December – 28 December 2013
What: Catch Rodgers and Hammerstein’s rendition of ‘Cinderella’, a tale about a girl whose dream came true when she married a prince, at the Resorts World Manila. The famous story will feature some of the Philippines’ favourite singer-actors, including Karylle Tatlonghari as Cinderella and Christian Bautista as the Prince. The dazzling story of love against all odds will be fun for both kids and adults. Tickets and show dates are available here.
We actually watched this during its first days of screening back in October. When I heard they were running it again this month, I thought it would be a good experience for the family because Cinderella is a timeless story. I was always a fan of Cinderella ever since I watched that cartoon by Disney. Sure, in my 20s I’ve pretty much outgrown it, but the kids with us in the audience really loved the show, especially the young girls in our row. Resorts World is lush casino resort. If you’re taking your family, don’t forget to dress smartly for the occasion.
Ayala Lights Show – Makati City
Where: Ayala Triangle Gardens, Ayala Avenue, Makati City
When: 20 November – 5 January 2014
What: Hope is Makati’s theme this year, and once again they are literally brightening up the city’s Christmas with the Ayala Triangle Gardens Lights and Sounds Show. Catch this free, unique visual feast featuring around 800,000 LED lights as they dance with Christmas and other themed music. The sets are shown every 30 minutes from 6pm to 9pm. Donation boxes for typhoon Yolanda victims will also be set up in the area for those who want to extend the Christmas spirit of sharing to those in the Visayas.
Do you love dancing? Do you like the night life? We thought this was as wholesome as it could get! Our experience at the Lights Show at Ayala Triangle was perhaps the cheapest but the awesome-est. At our first show we just sat back and let the lights dazzle us. It was actually top-class because not only were they synchronised, they managed to do something different every second of the show. At our second show we just stood up and danced! Kids were laughing and clapping their hands, dancing to the beat. Every one of the family will definitely love this! There aren’t many chairs in the area, so be prepared to sit on the floor or stand up for the whole 30-minute show. There are also lots of nearby restos to choose from.
‘Christmas Street’ – Mandaluyong City
Where: R Policarpio Street, Barangay New Zaniga, Mandaluyong City
When: Until the first week of January 2014
What: These rows of houses along R Policarpio street in Mandaluyong City turn into a festive, street of lights every December thanks to neighbours who have vowed to celebrate the season in their own unique way. Some of the houses not to be missed are the ‘House of Lights,’ a house decorated all over with Christmas lights, and the ‘House of Santa’ which features a vast collection of Santa Clauses in all shapes and sizes. Stroll along this quiet street with other spectators while viewing the flamboyant houses at your leisure.
In all fairness, we have never seen anything so grand as this street of private homes in a relatively quiet neighbourhood. We visited Policarpio Street one night because we heard the residents there have the most extravagant Christmas decorations in all of Manila. We thought it was just an exaggeration at first. But no! Considering that Filipinos really prepare big time for Christmas, the folks in Policarpio St. must be the kings and queens of decoration. Why, they could even rival the malls we went to!
Pag-iilaw and UP Lantern Parade – Quezon City
Where: Academic Oval, University of the Philippines – Diliman, Quezon City
When: 18 December 2013
What: Catch the Pag-iilaw featuring giant lighted stars and the university’s iconic Oblation Statue at the Quezon Hall starting 2 December. Later in the month, a Lantern Parade showcasing mobile lighted lanterns by different colleges will be displayed in the campus for holiday goers. The 2013 parade will be a subdued occasion dedicated to typhoon Yolanda victims in Visayas.
The school’s pailaw was quite a solemn occasion when we visited, as there were performers there who were survivors of the typhoon. There were no fireworks and no special effects, but we could it was a very special event because of the performances and the wave of joy that fell over the crowd when the giant stars were finally lighted.
Days from now, we will also be attending the Lantern Parade. Cousin Mario is a consistent attendee of this parade that also feels like a fiesta. In the parade, students will be walking around the campus with giant lighted floats. The arts students are the ones to look out for because their floats and costumes are very creative and they follow a new theme every year. Cousin reminded us to take the usual ‘walking essentials’ like water. He’s also preparing his camera for the occasion as there will be costumed people joining the parade. We’re planning to buy little foldable chairs soon; we were told it would be difficult to find a place to sit during the parade.