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WHILE Metro Manila begins to mimic the colors of Christmas with cars stuck in traffic lighting up the streets, various school and government parks, commercial areas, and business districts have set up attractions galore to distract from the holiday season chaos.
Whether you are on your way home, letting the rush hour traffic pass, or seeking a new place to bond with family or friends, there are many Christmas light shows and decorations to choose from and visit around and near the metro.
Here is a list of picture-worthy attractions, from north to south.
UP DILIMAN’S TATSULOKUYAN ART INSTALLATION
For those living near the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP) in Quezon City, they can drop by the famed Oblation statue to see it lit up nightly and surrounded by Toym Imao’s bicycle- and triangle-themed art installation Tatsulokuyan. His art puts a joyful spin on revolutions, symbolizing an overturning of today’s systems in the form of multiple colorful shapes.
A great time to visit will be on Dec. 20 at 5:30 p.m., when the annual UP Lantern Parade sets forth a procession of mesmerizing giant lanterns around campus.
ARANETA CITY’S GIANT BELEN AND GATEWAY’S GIANT CHRISTMAS TREE
All roads lead to Cubao, commuters of Metro Manila often joke, and those who find themselves here might want to skip rush hour and instead take in the many sights in store. One is Araneta City’s giant belen or nativity scene, located at the center aisle of Gen. MacArthur Ave. between Farmers Market and Farmers Garden. On its own it is already a welcome, homey sight amid the hustle and bustle of the area, but its beauty doubles when lit up at night.
Meanwhile, those passing to and from the LRT and MRT stations via Gateway Mall 2 can visit the Quantum Skyview on the upper ground level to see a bright and colorful giant indoor Christmas tree.
EASTWOOD CITY’S HOLIDAY LIGHTSCAPADE LIGHT SHOW
The open park of Eastwood City welcomes visitors to a luminous wonderland at night. Until Dec. 30, the mall’s open area turns into a kaleidoscope of lights every hour from 6 to 10 p.m., set to rhythms that families and friends can relax or even dance to.
For an awesome experience, come on Dec. 15 or Dec. 24 to catch Eastwood City’s grand fireworks displays illuminating the skies.
SHANGRI-LA PLAZA’S CHRISTMAS TREE AND GIANT BELLS DISPLAY
The Shangri-La Plaza mall’s holiday celebration this year is inspired by the “Carol of the Bells,” an enduring Christmas song beloved for its angelic melody. At the Grand Atrium, a display of massive hanging bells can be seen, its lighting inspired by the dazzling colors of the aurora borealis and shooting stars. As the hanging bells gracefully move up and down, making the lights flicker and dance, spectators are treated to a magical light show. Visit on Dec. 10 or 17 as the mall brings in carolers to fill the halls with Christmas hymns.
AYALA TRIANGLE’S FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS LIGHT SHOW
A popular annual tradition, this year’s Festival of Lights at the Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati has expanded. The traditional light show, named Kaleidoscope of Sight, Sound, and Light and directed by Ohm David, features mappable LED lights as well as interactive floor projections. It is divided into three medleys: “Paskong Pinoy,” “Cosmic K-Pop Christmas,” and “Big Band Holiday.”
The entire, captivating show plays every hour, with the first at 6 p.m. and last at 10 p.m., until Jan. 14.
Groups of friends and families can also check out brand new attractions like the “Wish Upon a Light” wishing pond-slash-interactive screen and Arte House, Leeroy New, and Illac Diaz’s colorful art installation Liter of Light, made of recycled water bottles.
SM MALL OF ASIA’S ILLUMINATION PARK AND FIREWORKS
The Mall of Asia (MoA) in Pasay City is holding multiple displays to ring in the holiday season. Its “Night of Lights” illumination park located in the South Entertainment Mall is open every night from 5:30 p.m. onwards. At the MoA rooftop, there is a programmable Tunnel of Lights, filled with vibrant hues and twinkling synchronized lights. Both attractions are up until Jan. 7.
For fireworks displays, go to MoA’s Central Park on any Friday until Dec. 29 to see dazzling sights in the skies set to music from 7 p.m. onwards.
NUVALI’S FOUNTAIN OF LIGHTS WATER SHOW
On the weekend, visit the Fountain of Lights, an immersive experience on the grounds of Nuvali in Laguna. As a leveled-up water show, its visual spectacle this year is titled Seaside Serenade: Muses and Creatures, put up for the benefit of the Priceless Planet Coalition, a global environmental organization committed to restoring 100 million trees by 2025. Around the lakeside view, there is also a LED Swing. The water-and-light show runs from 6 to 9 p.m., Fridays to Sundays, until Jan. 14. — Brontë H. Lacsamana