Top 10 Christmas Attractions in the Philippines
One of the most anticipated celebrations in the Philippines is Christmas. As early as November, we begin to feel the Christmas spirit when we start to see houses decorated with Christmas lights and lanterns, buildings wonderfully adorned and streets illuminated by colorful decor and lights. Light displays, giant Christmas trees, and carnivals are among the attractions that add to the enjoyment of the holiday season for Filipinos of all ages.
Watching an automated mechanical Christmas show is a well-loved Filipino Christmas tradition, for which people of all ages used to flock to COD Department Store in Cubao. Though the store closed several years ago, the tradition still continues through the annual Christmas display in its new home in Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan. Every year the show features a different theme and showcases almost 30 automated figures with intricate movements that present inspirational Christmas stories, accompanied with colorful lights and magical music, delighting the public.
Star City is one of the most famous amusement centers in the Philippines, located in Pasay City. Shopping, food, rides, and a walk-through amusement hall make Star City the "Entertainment Center of the Philippines." It also boasts of world-class rides like the country's first 360-degree Zyklon Loop, the two-tiered French Grand Carousel, the King of the Jungle (Ice Palace), the horrific Western Ghost Town, and the all-time favorite, Wild River. The Star Theater which showcases circus magic and ballet performances adds to the fun that can be found only at Star City.
Ocean Adventure is the only open-water marine park in Southeast Asia which is located in Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Visitors will enjoy watching these marine mammals like whales, dolphins, sea lions do their exhibitions, as well as experience this one-of-a-kind encounter with these friendly animals like feeding, touching, hugging, and even taking a ride with one of the whales to a floating platform. Shaking a flipper, getting a kiss and a hug from the sea lions are just some of the adventure that the whole family would definitely enjoy.
Enchanted Kingdom is a 17-hectare theme park located in Santa Rosa City in the province of Laguna, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours from Manila. It has seven park zones which the whole family will enjoy walking through, such as Spaceport, Jungle Outpost, Midway Boardwalk, Brooklyn Place, Portobello, Victoria Park, and Boulderville. There are rides catering to both young and old, such as the Grand Carousel, Stone Eggs, Flying Fiesta, Wheel of Fate, Up Up and Away, Bump 'n Splash, and the motion simulator theater Rialto. Thrill-seekers on the other hand will definitely enjoy Log Jam, Condor, Anchors Away, Rio Grande, and the 11-storey Space Shuttle.
Cubao's Giant Christmas Tree is set up every year. It is a tradition that began since 1981. It is located right in front of the Araneta Coliseum (Big Dome), with almost 100 feet in height, filled with more than ten thousand lights and gigantic ribbons which surely attracts and enchants the onlookers and spectators. The Christmas tree lighting ceremony is usually celebrated with appearances by movie stars and celebrities, which draws people of all ages to this event.
Known as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines, the city of San Fernando, Pampanga annually celebrates the Giant Lantern Festival which showcases colorful gigantic lanterns made by skilled craftsmen of San Fernando. This year's "Ligligan Parul 2008" which is slated on December 20, 2008 is an event where one could expect large lanterns of up to 15 meters high, using as many as 16,000 bulbs as it dances to an interplay of colors to the tune of Christmas songs. The barangays of San Jose, Dolores, Sat. Lucia, Sto. Rosario, Sto. Nino San Felipe, San Juan, San Nicolas and San Felipe will participate in the festival.
The theme park boasts of interactive dinosaurs where children and adults alike will enjoy the 31 robotic dinosaurs that dates back to the Cretaceous and Jurassic era. Other entertainments include computer games, movies, train ride and a feel of how exciting a life of an archeologist is through a Fossil Dig adventure. The Dinos Alive World Tour is located in a 12,000-square meter area of Block 5 of SM Mall of Asia in Pasay Cityand is open to the public from November 28, 2008 to January 11, 2009.
Casa Santa Museum is a house filled with an internationally recognized collection of over 2,000 Santa Claus items, located at 276 San Jose Extension, Brgy. San Isidro, Antipolo, Rizal (just 29 km. from Manila and 30 mins. away from Quezon City). This museum houses a vast assortment of Santa Claus items from Santa blankets, to a chessboard with Santa figurines, to Swarovski crystal Santas. Life-sized moving versions of "Mr. and Mrs. Santa" welcome visitors by singing Christmas carols. Guests are permitted to inspect the items closely and, in some cases, play with them.
The Holiday Musical Shows are among the most anticipated Christmas events in Manila and an annual treat for the whole family. Children and adults alike enjoy shows like International Circus, Disney on Ice, and World on Ice, which features different Disney and cartoon characters like the all-time favorite Mickey Mouse, Barney and Friends, and Disney Princesses among others. This year, a one-of-a-kind musical extravaganza called Wanders is set to captivate audiences with gravity-defying aerial acrobatics, stunning displays of skills and physical prowess, soulful renditions of timeless classics and vibrant dance numbers. A fusion of cultures, the show brings performers from China and Russia together the Philippines' hometown talents. It will be held at the PAGCOR Grand Theater - from December 6 to 13, 2008. Barney and Friends will surely delight the children with ther show called "Barney Dino-mite Birthday! Live On Stage." They will perform at the SM Megamall Cinema 4 on December 14 - 12:00NN; 3:00PM and 6:00PM and at the SM Dasmarinas Cinema 2 on December 13 - 12:00NN; 3:00PM and 6:00PM.
Policarpio Street, Mandaluyong is a 150-meter street in Mandaluyong which come Christmastime transforms into a wonderland of lights. Millions of flickering, shimmering Christmas lights wrap the houses from the towers to the gates, the windows and the doors, the walls and the trees. The rooftops and gardens are adorned with belens (nativity scenes), Santa Clauses, toys, and other Christmas motifs. The crowd who flock to the street not only enjoy the extravagant and impressive light display but the tiangge (bazaar) as well.
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