WAKING UP to the warm weather, struggling through heavy traffic for three hours (or more) daily, finishing pending tasks at work, stressing over ≈≈ shopping, or being away from your family are not exactly conducive to entering into the upcoming holiday’s festive mood. Still, this season’s trend towards light shows and flamboyant Christmas decorations in commercial areas and business districts make up for the usual gloomy sights of the city. Whether you are avoiding rush hour traffic before going home or looking for a place to hang out with friends and family over the weekend, head over to these places for a bit of the holiday vibe. The listing takes one from the north to the south of the metro.
• The 45-foot-tall Christmas tree at Centris
For those who opt to commute to Quezon City rather than drive through EDSA’s near standstill traffic, get off at the MRT’s Quezon Ave. station to view Centris’ giant Christmas tree, illuminated with red and gold accents, and take a breather from the rush hour insanity before hopping on a UV Express or jeepney to your destination. Centris has also lined up a series of activities under the heading “Magnifique Noel” — to catch renowned chorales and choirs perform on Friday nights while the night sky on Saturdays light up with a fireworks display. For a good reminder of the reason for the season, Misa de Gallo will be held at the Centris Walk at 6 p.m. daily beginning Dec. 15.
• Shangri-la Plaza’s The Great Yuletide Escapade
The mall’s snow-covered gates welcome visitors to what seems to be Santa’s cozy stable for his reindeers, many of which seem to fly from the ground to the sixth floor. Shoppers can meet Santa’s reindeers and come across snow-covered gingerbread houses in selected areas of the mall.
• Ayala Triangle Gardens’ Festival of Lights
Nothing relieves one’s stress and worries like the spectacular Festival of Lights which has captivated Makati’s denizens for the past eight years at the Ayala Triangle Gardens. The light show — more than 1.6 million LED lights are used — is expertly choreographed by award-winning director Voltaire de Jesus and Luther Gumia. The musical medleys include three distinct themes: “Pinoy Fiesta” by Roy del Valle, “Traditional Christmas” by Von de Guzman, and “Techno” by Tris Sunguitan. One medley is staged every 30 minutes nightly. Catch the musical lights show until Jan. 7, 2018.
• Megaworld’s Beary Merry Christmas
Stuck in traffic? Taking a moment to look up at the Alliance Global Tower in Uptown Bonifacio for a glimpse of the country’s largest lighted Christmas bear. Megaworld’s 50-foot-tall and 70-foot-wide white Santa teddy bear can be seen from Makati City, C5, and areas in Ortigas.
• BGC’s Sights and Sounds show
Visiting the restaurants and shops of Bonifacio High Street becomes a festive activity as the entire stretch is now surrounded with colorful lights, with a gift box made of crystal light bulbs as the centerpiece. A lights show designed by award-winning lighting director Voltaire de Jesus is accompanied by a three-part musical arrangement by acclaimed musician-composers Von De Guzman, Roy del Valle, and Tris Sunguitan featuring Filipino Christmas songs, followed by a mix of traditional and popular foreign holiday tunes, and ending with a chorus singing “Joy to the World.” Visitors may catch the BGC Sights and Sounds show every 30 minutes from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. until Jan. 7, 2018.
• CCP’s Habi ng Pagkakaisa
Motorists passing down Roxas Blvd. this holiday season will not miss the eye-catching 50-foot-tall Christmas tree standing at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Liwasang ASEAN Park, which was inspired by traditional Filipino weaves. Those who opt for a breather from the holiday traffic by taking a walk along nearby Harbor Square should make their way to the Christmas tree, enter its base, and look up to see the hidden star in the interior.
• Lumina: Walkway of Lights
After fetching your balikbayan relative at the airport’s Terminal 3, share stories with them while walking around the 110-meter pedestrian Walkway of Lights at the second floor of Newport mall, Resorts World Manila. Take photos with the 100,000 multi-colored LED bulbs as a background for a hip and sparkling new Facebook profile pic.
• Sparkle of Christmas at Filinvest City
This year, Filinvest city showcases a 3D-mapped giant Christmas tree and a dazzling light show called the Sparkle of Christmas that transforms the newly opened Spectrum Linear Park into a Christmas wonderland. The Sparkle of Christmas at Filinvest City runs every weekend until Dec. 31.
• Nuvali’s Magical Field of Lights
In Southern Luzon, the football field of Ayala Land’s Nuvali eco-community estate is currently covered in 5,000 LED bulbs shaped like tulips. The Magical Field of Lights is a lights and sounds show featuring colorful light spheres scattered all over the field, a 50-meter-long light tunnel, festive LED Christmas trees, and dandelion light installations. The night show can be viewed at the Nuvali football field from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. until Jan. 8, 2018. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman