Metro Manila: 6 Christmas Displays You Shouldn’t Miss
Lately my niece keeps on nagging me to go to one of the Christmas displays that she saw on TV. Anyway, let us admit that we, even myself, sometimes did the same thing when we’re still very young. Back in those days we never fail to visit the COD in Cubao to watch its annual Christmas display. My father allow us to go there because it’s both accessible and free. I will just sit on his shoulders, look up, and that’s it, Christmas is complete.
As Christmas season is already here, we tried to visit some of the Chrismas displays which we can accessibly go.
At the middle of the concrete urban jungle of Makati’s Central Business district is a small green park called the Ayala Triangle. It is surrounded by Paseo de Roxas, Makati and Ayala Avenues and it is where workers and businessmen often stay to rest after a hectic day’s work.
During Christmas season, visitors to this park is also greeted with another spectacle: the Festival of Lights which is already in their sixth year. The park is decorated with numerous dazzling lights mostly hanging from the trees. It’s no ordinary lighting display, but it also dances with the music. Currently, there are three different light shows set to three different kinds of music.
The Ayala Triangle Festival of Lights opened last November 15 and is set to run until January 8 next year. The shows every 30 minutes from 6 pm to 10 pm. Admission is free.
This street in Mandaluyong attracts many visitors and it’s almost always featured on television. Some houses along this street are almost fully covered with different kinds of Christmas displays.
Some featured a large Belen (nativity scene) and are adorned with different kinds of Christmas ornaments. Others go futuristic by installing LED lights that resemble those in the Tron movie. One house was “surrounded” with lots of Santa Claus; even the “chimney” has one. For those who are hungry, there are tiangge that sell different kinds of foods, from light snacks to heavy meals. You may also try the homemade barbecue for PhP25 apiece that is being sold near the Belen.
What I can say is, this place is a little bit overrated because, in reality, only a handful of houses has these lavish displays. But I have no right to complain because this is free and most importantly, one of the things my little kids can enjoy. The street is open anytime.
GREENHILLS SHOPPING CENTER
Initially known for computer parts and gadgets in the early 2000s, this place was redeveloped to become a shopping destination. At the same time, C.O.D. is finally shutting down (and its building will be taken over by Puregold and eventually by SaveMore) and its annual Christmas display, which the department store is known for, has to end– or it will?
The annual Christmas Display that used to be in C.O.D. has found its new home in Greenhills. At the Ortigas Avenue beneath the large “Greenhills Shopping Center” sign, an animated Christmas display has been set up with varying themes yearly.
This year’s theme is Fairy Christmas. The animating mannequins are given life with lights and sounds. There are also artificial snows being sprinkled that give a winter-like ambiance.
Because it’s located in front of the tiangge and food stalls, the show almost always attracted many people whether young or old. Those who either just went here to shop or to dine will also be enjoyed with this spectacle. A word of caution – avoid staying beside the food stall because of the smoke that comes from it and often obstructing the show, or you will end up smelling like barbecue.
The show is open during evenings every 30 minutes.
MARIKINA BARANGAY CHRISTMAS DISPLAY
Marikina River Park is perhaps well known for being one of the few nature-based parks in the metro, developed from what is otherwise neglected and filthy river. During Christmas season, it is more famous for having a riverside tiangge (bazaar) at the east bank near the A. Bonifacio Bridge, and a carnival on the opposite side.
Aside from that, the Marikina government used to have Christmas displays, with varying themes per year, along the River Park just behind the Provident Village walls. But it was stopped after the devastation brought to the city by Tropical Storm Ondoy.
Seven years later, the City government decided to revive the Christmas displays. Each of the sixteen barangays forming Marikina competes for the best design. This year’s theme is to showcase tourist attractions from various regions in the Philippines. Visitors can also take photos of themselves with the displays. Admission is free.
CAINTA CHRISTMAS HOUSE
Located in an exclusive subdivision in Cainta, this Christmas House is owned by Alexander Cruz, a businessman. When he was young he was often envied by other houses adorned with Christmas lights. When he became successful in life he started to decorate his house with Christmas lights and other ornaments. The house is almost unrecognizable at night because it’s almost entirely covered by LED lights. At its corner is a large Belen surrounded by animal statues, garden gnomes and atop the house is a large butterfly.
What’s more appealing with this house is, you can enter to its garage and gardens. The attention to details is awesome, especially on how each line of light is installed in the ceiling. Different kinds of Santa Claus can be seen. And it is never complete without the Christmas Village that children (and adults) are very eager to see. One part of the house is also adorned with blossom vines that compliment the lighting display.
The house is so frequently visited that Fil-invest Subdivision has already implemented a fifty-vehicle quota per day, and has required booking a schedule in advance. Or it may be better to take a tricycle to avoid the inconvenience of parking.
Of all the placed that we visited, it is here that I and especially my kid enjoyed the most. I hope that this tradition will continue in the coming years to continuously give joy to the people.
Opening Hours:6:30-10:00 pm; Subdivision entrance is up to 9:30 pm only
Bonus: At the rotunda of the same subdivision, there is another house that is similarly adorned and is slowly attracting visitors.
PASIG CHRISTMAS DISPLAY
Aside from Greenhills, there are also other places in Metro which also offers a similar Christmas display. Some of them are set up by the local government, rather than private entities, as part of their annual Christmas program.
Take a look at Pasig City, where we found out that they have a similarly colorful Christmas programs every year. And they also have their own animated Christmas display as part of their Christmas exhibition. It is very similar to C.O.D./Greenhills display, with animating marionettes and music (but of a different theme).
While the presentation is often placed at the Pasig City Hall, it has been placed this year at Market Avenue beside the Pasig Public Market and the recently renovated and opened Pasig Revolving (aka Caruncho) Tower. The concept for this year is a fable, that is, animals as characters acting and speaking almost like humans. The performance also starts at nightfall every thirty minutes.