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Ho Ho Holidays: Enjoying the Best of the Yuletide Season in the Philippines

by Culture Team
31 Jul 2017 | 2:10 PM

From September until January, Filipinos hold festivals, masses, and lavish light displays to celebrate the Yuletide season. The nine pre-dawn masses or Simbang Gabi, the colorful and stunning parols, the delectable rice cakes, and the much-awaited Noche Buena are just some of the things that keep the Christmas spirit alive throughout the country. Of course, who could forget the presents and the aguinaldo to share with friends and families?

While some people still celebrate Christmas the traditional way, there are those who look forward to a more modern way of enjoying the Yuletide season. Here are some things that make Christmas a little different in the Philippines:

Ayala Triangle Light Show

The stunning light displays at Ayala Triangle Gardens make Makati one of the go-to places for the holiday season. Featuring a spectacular play of Christmas lights, the Ayala Triangle Light Show gives the people something to marvel at the heart of the bustling city. The spectacle is set to Christmas medleys, making trees sparkle with over 800,000 colored LED bulbs. The best part is, you don't need to pay a single peso to watch the show. You can simply head over to the park after work, or bring your family over the weekend to enjoy the spectacle.

Greenhills Christmas on Display

If there's one thing that Filipinos love to do during Christmas, it's shopping. Many people flock to shopping malls to buy gifts and new items for the holidays. While some malls put up sale to attract a huge number of shoppers, Greenhills Shopping Center thought of a different way to give life to the Christmas spirit. The shopping center marks the Yuletide season with its Christmas on Display (COD). The presentation delights audiences with its stunning lights and mannequins featuring a different theme every year. COD aims to inspire audiences of all ages with a unique Christmas message in the form of a narrative. Along with the Christmas Night Market and Bangketa Fair, COD has become a signature event that most people in the country look forward to during the holidays.

Metro Manila Film Festival

While some people are waiting to open presents and indulge in feasts, Filipino movie buffs await the Metro Manila Film Festival. This annual film festival runs from December 25 until the first week of January, featuring locally produced films of varying genres. The festival opens with a parade of floats that represent the movie entries. Stars from the films are present during the parade to promote their movies.

Giant Lantern Festival

The city of San Fernando, Pampanga has a more lavish yet traditional way of celebrating Christmas. The city takes pride in its annual Giant Lantern Festival to keep the spirit of the holiday season alive. The festival displays the best designed parols in the city, featuring 20-feet lanterns with over 3,000 light bulbs to create a spectacle. The Giant Lantern Festival brings out the best of the city's tradition, creativity, and ingenuity during Christmas.

Christmas isn't all about having new clothes or buying the best gifts. What truly matters are the moments you share with loved ones in this season of giving.