Photo from jmateo

For many Filipinos, Christmas is the most important holiday. It is a time when generosity and love for one another are magnified. People look forward to celebrating Christmas with friends, families, partners, and even colleagues.

The Philippines might even hold the record for the longest Christmas celebration, which starts in September and extends to January the following year.

If you’re looking for attractions to visit on a day trip, here are some of the Christmas destinations near Manila.

San Fernando, Pampanga

The Giant Lantern Festival is an annual festival held in mid-December in the City of San Fernando in the Philippines. The festival features a competition of giant parol lanterns. Because of the popularity of the festival, the city has been nicknamed the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines” because of the lantern products and the annual event, displaying the creativity and craftsmanship of the Kapampangan.

Santa Rosa, Laguna

Some say that Christmas is for kids. Theme parks are especially exciting in Christmastime. The great part is, they can be entertaining to kids and adults alike. Enchanted Kingdom in Santa Rosa is about an hour away from Manila. As expected of the first and only world-class theme park in the Philippines, it is a perennial favorite during the holiday seasons.

Photo from explora.ph

Tagaytay City

We don’t get white Christmas here in the Philippines, but as far as temperature is concerned, the closest accessible destination is Tagaytay City.

Aside from the malls, the condominiums, restaurants, and hotels, Tagaytay has recreational parks like Sky Ranch. The amusement park is located along Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway, featuring fun rides, restaurants and shops. The most prominent structure is the Sky Eye Ferris Wheel. Towering at about 60 meters, it provides a scenic view of the Taal Volcano.

SM Mall of Asia, Pasay

Make your Christmas merrier by visiting SM Mall of Asia’s (MOA) Grand Festival of Lights Parade in Pasay, Metro Manila. It’s a mouthful, but it fits since it’s a big and bright event that is a feast for the eyes. This event is slowly rising to become one of the Philippines’ Christmas traditions, and one of the most anticipated one at that.

Tangub City, Misamis Occidental

Misamis Occidental’s Tangub City has a month-long Christmas display called the Christmas Symbol Festival, which features sparkly light installments that replicate famous world landmarks.

It’s like a Christmas trip around the world with installations in their city plaza like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral of France, the Garden Fountain at Isola Bella of Italy, and the Hwaseong Fortress of South Korea. 

Celebrating Christmas is definitely more fun (dare we say ‘merrier’) in the Philippines!

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