Christmas in Manila

BODY IMAGE: Hotel Jen Manila : Christmas in Manila
BODY IMAGE: Hotel Jen Manila : Christmas in Manila

The festive season is upon us and you can feel the magic all around in Manila. It’s impossible to walk anywhere without seeing Christmas trees lit up in all their splendour but the most breathtaking has to be at the Araneta Center in Quezon City. As Christmas shoppers tick items from their lists, the 100-foot tree beams and dazzles. There’s also a meet and greet station with Santa every weekend in December.

Elsewhere, stop by Roxas Boulevard where the buildings are impressively dressed in festive decorations, and join the Ayala Triangle Gardens Lights & Sounds Show in the Makati Central Business District. Shows run every 30 minutes between 6-9 pm, and the gardens have some great places to stop for dinner.

Over 100,000 Christmas lights and lanterns are on display at the Meralco Liwanag Park in Ortigas, along with a Christmas village, where you can tour the site on a free ride by electric train. To really feel the chill head to the Cultural Center of the Philippines, where snow-covered trees, ice sculptures and frosted slides await at the Star City Snow World. Finish off the night with a turn on the funfair and nightly fireworks at 7pm at SM Mall of Asia’s bay side location in Pasay City.

If you are in town to shop then you are in luck. Christmas is the season of bazaars in Manila. These events, known by locals as Tiangges, are a bargain hunter’s dream. I found some of the best are at Greenhill’s Shopping Center in San Juan and around Divisoria. Here a whole district of streets and shopping malls is devoted to the art of selling from stalls. Prepare for haggling crowds and buy in bulk for the best deals. No wonder this place is known as the mother of all bazaars!

In town just for the New Year and looking for sightseeing ideas? Take a look at my Manila One Day City Guide!