Yuletide ‘starts’ early in the Philippines

One begins hearing Christmas carols blared over the radio, malls, and department stores during the first “ber” month — September. “Only in the Philippines,” we Filipinos would say. Perhaps, starting early could both a cultural phenomenon and a marketing opportunity. But, the first Misa de Aguinaldo at dawn of December 16 signals Christmas is nine days away. Then we begin thinking more about where do we want to spend Christmas.

Of course, most Filipinos would want to spend Christmas with the family preferably at home where ever that is. Still, like the growing number of foreign tourists anticipating more Christmas fun in the Philippines, more are flocking to several vacation destinations. We listed six great places in central and southern Philippines and want to ask you your preferences. If you have comments or other places in mind, please do tell us what you think below. Cheers!

White Christmas

White Christmas in the Tropics. Photo by Monica Araceli of Gorgeous Globe.

Boracay

“Descriptions of translucent sea and talcum white sand had me salivating for Christmas to come quickly; I was sold on the idea of relaxing on those beaches,” said a post in the blog “Gorgeous Globe.” One might want to check out the whole article. But this photo from Gorgeous Globe should give us an idea.

Ourawesomeplanet.com, on the other hand, shows why Christmas in Boracay is great for the family especially the kids.

Lovers and party animals, nevertheless, heed this. Commenters in tripadvisor.com.ph advise that one can’t get a better New Year’s Eve  celebration in the Philippines than the one you get in Boracay.

But then, book your flight and hotel early.

lechon

Among Cebu’s lechon, the best comes from Talisay City.

 

Cebu

Cebuanos have learned their lesson when Supertyphoon Yolanda toppled its giant Christmas tree at Fuente Osmeña last year.

Thus, a “typhoon-resilient” design of steel and wood now dominates the park in uptown Cebu City.

But Cebu has more delights to offer. You can enjoy world class resorts in Mactan or explore the more adventurous hideaways in Bantayan and Malapascua.  Or you can go uptown and swing on a zipline on top of two skyscrapers.

tastier than lechon

Tastier than lechon.

Then, don’t miss the Cebu’s delicacy. The island’s roasted pig is known in the Philippines as “Lechon Cebu.” For many in the Philippines, the Noche Buena is not complete without the lechon. Lechon after all is the “best pork ever,” according to Time Magazine.

Then there’s something guaranteed that’s tastier than lechon.

Iloilo

A lot of new developments in the City of Love like the pulsating night life, the romantic ambiance of River Esplanade, or the wide bike lanes  should make Christmas celebrations doubly fun.

One can also hop on a brief boat ride to the nearby Guimaras province and spend Christmas exploring the raw, un-manicured white beaches, islets, and caves.

Meanwhile, the Tanza public cemetery has become a Yuletide hub with its tombs and trees brightened with Christmas lights and the parol (lanterns), the Belen (three-dimensional art depiction of the nativity scene of Jesus Christ., and other decorations.

 

Bacolod

Bacolod1

Christmas Village built through the years.

Lighting of the giant Christmas Tree that illuminated the People’s House signaled the start of Yuletide in Bacolod City.

However, a unique yearly attraction is the house of Bamboo Tonogbanua where a miniature Christmas village had been built the past 20 years. The public awaits its annual opening for public viewing every December 1. Among others, the village features miniatures of the White House,  Statue of Liberty and   Empire State Building of the United States collected by artist-designer Tonogbanua.

The Christmas Village is located inside a 6×8-meter room of Tonogbanua’s ancestral house at San Juan Street in Bacolod City.

Special for the Noche Buena.Cagayan de Oro

Aside from the lighted giant Christmas tree at City Hall, the lights around the city, the lanterns, and parties, Cagayan de Oro offers something extra special for the Noche Buena — the Ham.

Christmas in Cagayan de OroThe city has three local hams: the Pine Ham, Oroham, and Slers. Take your pick. The hams are definitely better than the more commercial hams in our supermarkets. Only that, one still has to buy these specialties in Cagayan de Oro.

Davao

You want to experience Christmas in Davao away from the malls? Check out Mana Davao or Mana Casa de Artes y Antiguas, the Christmas attraction in Bajada. There is also the People’s Park and Rizal Park. Or one might want to view Davao’s skyline at Jack’s Ridge.

One may either love or hate it, but visitors, nevertheless, must consider buying the Durian as Christmas pasalubong. If one can’t stand the fruit, consider the Durian candy or Durian coffee. This is not as strong but still preserves the distinct Durian flavor.

AirAsia Christmas

AirAsia treats street kid beneficiaries of Batang Opon and the Cebu City Street Children Foundation to an early Christmas treat. They were among the passengers of the inaugural Cebu-Davao-Cebu flight. Another group of street kid beneficiaries of Tambayan Center in Davao were on board the inaugural Davao-Cebu flight.

 

6 Christmas destinations south of Manila by
PRworksPH team
PRworksPH team
A talent powerhouse headed by PRworks Chief Digital Officer Emmanuel Mongaya, former managing editor of Superbalita and former city editor of Sun.Star Cebu. Team members include Global Voices correspondent and blogger Karlo Mikhail Mongaya, our Online Community Manager Ynna Erika Bisnar, digital marketing consultant Borislav Tatarov, and former Sun.Star Publishing Inc. IT boss Sammy Sumaya.

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