The Philippines boasts the longest Christmas season in the world, and there are a hundred and one holiday-themed things to do once September hits. With a population that’s over ninety percent Christian, with Catholics alone comprising eighty-six percent of the country, it’s safe to say that Christmas is one of the biggest holidays in the country. Since almost the entire country is focused on preparing for this one day of the year, there are tons of different events and activities that help build the anticipation.
One of the most popular things to do during the height of the holiday season is going around the Metro and looking at Christmas lights displays. The biggest, brightest displays always draw in the crowds, and if you want to get into the holiday spirit then check out the list below for some of the best illuminations in Metro Manila.
Ayala Land’s Festival of Lights
Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati City is home to one of the most hotly anticipated Christmas lights shows in the country. The Festival of Lights is currently on its tenth year, and in celebration of that and Ayala Land’s thirtieth year of establishment they’ve partnered up with none other than Disney for this year’s show. This year’s Festival of Lights is called Reimagine the Magic: A Festival of Lights, and runs every thirty minutes in the evening from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm until January 8, 2019.
Policarpio Street, Mandaluyong City
Another must-see during the Christmas season is Policarpio Street in Barangay New Zuniga, Mandaluyong City. This sleepy little street turns into a veritable village of lights during the Christmas season, and has been doing so for over twenty years now. The 150-meter stretch of residential road becomes a sparkling, glittering paradise at night, and visitors can enjoy the light show— as well as some snacks sold by street food vendors— every night until the first week of January.
Cainta Christmas House
You wouldn’t think a single house in a subdivision in Cainta could turn itself into a spectacle, but homeowner Andrew Cruz has been enthusiastically transforming his home into an illumination display since 2010. Located in Filinvest Homes East, this house boasts over five thousand individual lights, and at one point welcomed up to over a thousand visitors a day. The subdivision has slowed down the number of visitors in recent years, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go over there and enjoy it yourself. Schedule your visit at least two days in advance and get ready to be wowed.
Sweet Illusions, Estancia Mall
Those who aren’t satisfied with just standing and watching can go to Sweet Illusions in Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Pasig City. This Christmas lights show stands out from all the rest by allowing visitors to come in and be part of the fun themselves. This interactive exhibit boasts four different rooms with four different themes, such as the Special Dark Light Room with graffiti-inspired art, and a Tutti Frutti prism room. Visitors can walk around and “play” in the lights, and picture-taking is allowed for those who want to show off the fun on social media. These installations are open during mall hours, and will continue to run until January 6, 2019.
Window Displays, Rustan’s Makati
While not technically a light show, the Christmas-themed displays at Rustan’s Makati, along Ayala Drive, Makati City, are still an unmissable sight. Their theme this year is “Enchant the Holidays,” and the high-end department store has gone all-out with its displays inside and outside the store. In particular, the windows on the first floor are once again decked out in holiday finery, with lifelike polar bears, animatronic penguins, and other fantastical creatures turning the displays into a holiday wonderland. Stop by to watch and observe the displays, or just drive by for a little taste of that Christmas spirit.
For more sights to see in and around the Metro, check out our other articles on Daydreaming in Paradise.
James Gonzales is a Filipino-American travel enthusiast and writer currently based in the Philippines. After living and working in New York for 10 years, James decided he wanted to see more of the world and leave the city behind. In the course of saving up for what would become an epic trip across Asia, he wrote about previous traveling experiences for various travel websites and publications based in the Lower East Side.
James focused on journeying through the Philippines in the hopes of understanding his roots, and began Daydreaming in Paradise to share his thoughts and experiences. He’s always looking for like-minded travelers to trade stories and swap tips with, and he hopes you’ll join him on his journey.