Sunday, December 18, 2011

Celebrate Christmas in the Philippines

A few more days and it's kids' (and kids at heart) most awaited time of the year - Christmas Day! I am truly happy this season to be able to celebrate this special day with my family. Earlier this week we've been busy preparing for Christmas parties and holiday walks around Manila. Oh, the kids just love seeing the holiday designs featuring stars, Santa Claus and the Polar Express, to name a few.

My kids pretty much associate Christmas as a time for getting lots of gifts. Even during mid-year, my six-year-old would ask whether he's good enough to get a toy or two from Santa. They turn a good leaf when reminded and, thus, are pretty much looking forward to surprises when Christmas comes. In the end, we have to keep telling them that they have to be good all throughout the year.

We wanted to make it different and more meaningful this year. So, we let them be the little Santa to their friends.  We also joined a couple of charity drives to show them and make them feel the joy of giving.

But to cap it off, we took them to local landmarks that make the holidays extra bright and cheerful. Here are some of our favorite places to visit during the Christmas season. We not only like them for the visual extravagance. They're free for everyone to enjoy, too!

Liwanag Park at Meralco Compound

My last visit to the compound was some years ago before my dad passed away. He worked at Meralco so he made sure to bring us there during the holidays to see the innovative designs they've created using recycled materials.

Policarpio St, Mandaluyong City

I grew up in Mandaluyong way before it became a city. We've gone around its streets and churches for parades and festivities. So I miss going back makes me reminisce of the good ol' times. We came a bit late so some of the lights display were already turned off. The street association has since implemented policies, one of which is to regulate public viewing. So participating households now light up their holiday displays between 7pm until 10pm. At 10, they automatically turn the lights off. Some even  earlier so try to come before 9pm.

Too bad, we missed the other houses as we came after 930pm. Expect the street to be filled with visitors taking photos and cars parked on both sides of Policarpio Street. By commute, one can take the train to EDSA-Boni and then walk a bit to Boni Avenue. At Boni Avenue, take the jeepney to Stop N Shop. Ask the driver to drop you off at Policarpio Street as there are two possible routes. Via Shaw Blvd, one must take two jeepney rides from Starmall going to JRU-Kalentong and then another to Boni Ave.


This year, SM features a fun-filled display of Santa's magic.

Will post more photos and update this post later.  But lest you want to know more about SM City's North Pole theme, I can only tell you that we've gone back and forth to have photos of the kids in Santa's Mail Room, Toy Shop, and the Raindeer's Stable. And then we also checked out what Mrs Claus was cooking :) The kids had fun and took their time looking around when we returned in less busy mall hours - that'd be between 10am to 2pm. Oh, but don't take my word for it. The North Pole display will last until January 10, 2012.

Ayala Triangle Garden

This holiday attraction features an awesome lights and sound show.

Photo taken from Yahoo News
In the meantime, it has been a tragic weekend especially for people in Southern Philippines (Cagayan De Oro and Iligan). We've kept in touch with friends who would be able to send the little help we can offer. Aside from friends, we found a lot of channels to tap so it wasn't difficult to reach out and be a light for a fellow Filipino's Christmas. May we all unite to support and give a hand to those who have lost so much.



Naka visit na din kami sa Policarpio, I was with ate Yan and Hannah that time. Super ganda, kaya lang once lang kami nakapunta. Enjoy your Samar trip with the kids! :)

Thanks for dropping by, May :)

We're definitely making the most of our visit :) Santa's House is one of my favorites. They keep adding more Santas every year :) May isa pa ko fave, but the lights were already turned off when we went there.

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