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When it comes to places to visit this holiday season, people’s minds often wander to the “grand” destinations such as Cebu to visit iconic churches or Coron to get away from Manila’s holiday-induced carmageddon. But some of the best places to visit this festive season aren’t necessarily big cities or beach destinations — it can be as simple as a strip of road. You can equally feel the Christmas spirit and have fun with friends and family by visiting these streets:
If part of your Christmas tradition is to have a nice food crawl, this famous street in Quezon City is the perfect fit for you. Go “around the world” in your crawl. Start with Provenciano, a restaurant that has all the right Filipino dishes. Try their lechon kawali at alamang, pininyahang manok, kare-kare, or sinanglay, and you’re off to a good start. Next, go to Indonyaki for some authentic Indonesian goodness. Their terong balado and hototai are some of the best-sellers you can’t afford to miss.
From there, you might want to give your stomach a break and grab some tea at Sakura Hanami. This is a bubble tea shop filled with cherry blossoms in its interiors — definitely reminiscent of your last trip to Japan. Go for their Okinawa Roast Milk Tea and Hokkaido Caramel Milk Tea. But if you’re not much of a milk tea lover, you can opt for Korean bingsu at Snow Creme. From here, you can go to Happon Ramen House and Shao Kao Grillery. Of course, you can also deviate from your themed food trip and drop by the famous Van Gogh is Bipolar to discover what the hype is all about. The bottom line, make Maginhawa Street part of your Christmas destinations in the city.
Central Avenue (formerly Frontera Drive)
That street you drive on when going to Tiendesitas or Ortigas turns into a musical light tunnel a month or so before Christmas. Now on its third year, the tunnel still flickers with red, blue, and green lights, changing in a synchronized fashion to the beat of the holiday tunes. The light show begins at 6PM until 10PM, and you can catch it every night until January 5, 2020. Get your phone cameras ready because it’s really an Instagram-worthy scene.
Aside from the actual light show, you can anticipate fireworks display every Saturday at 7PM. Live musical performances from local bands and solo performers are also staged throughout the night. At the same time, there’s a StrEAT Food Night Market just close to the site of the light show. Go ahead and start your own food crawl tradition here. Jump from one stall to another and find lots of ihaw treats, from hotdogs and isaw to betamax and chicken feet. Craving, satisfied.
Popular for bargain finds, this street in Quezon City is the place for last-minute Christmas home decorating or shopping. From capiz lights and miniature nativity figurines to trees, ball ornaments, and wooden decorations, you can get everything here in Dapitan. But before you go, plan your shopping. It’s best if you already have a theme in mind. Are you going for the classic green and red palette? Or are you leaning towards a rustic feel? Perhaps, an all-white, minimalist style? With this in mind, you can easily filter the items you’ll see in stalls later. If you can bring your own tote bag, better.
On the day of your shopping, while you would want to go early to avoid traffic, it’s best if you start at lunchtime. During this time, almost all the stalls are already opened. You won’t miss anything. As for bargain tips, look around before putting your money down. A lot of stuff you’ll see in one stall are also in the next one, but sometimes sold at a lower price. So look around before actually buying.
Manila’s walled city’s streets are also a must-visit this holiday season. For one, it’s beaming with lights hung at trees at night. You’ll be wrapped in the joyous atmosphere walking along its roads. At the same time, a history lesson could be a good year-ender for the kids.
Take them to the San Agustin Church, the oldest church in the Philippines. Let them see the Palacio del Gobernador, the former office of Spanish governors before they moved to Malacañang Palace. Go to Fort Santiago, the last place national hero Jose Rizal stayed in before his death. Visit the Manila Cathedral and perhaps offer a thanksgiving prayer for the year that passed. Stroll along the cobblestone streets of Intramuros and walk down memory lane.
Of course, one of the brightest roads during the Christmas season will be on this list. Since November, Ayala Avenue has been beaming with colorful Christmas trees, flickering lights, and attention-grabbing angel installations. This year, as reported by the Manila Times, the theme accentuates bronze-colored, cone-shaped Christmas trees, as a symbol of life and light. Emphasizing the unique creativity of Filipinos, it has delicate details showing off native materials, including abaniko, Capiz chandeliers, and solihiya and adarna feather patterns. It’s not just an Instagrammable backdrop, but a scene that would certainly give you that warm, fuzzy Christmas feeling.
If you’re planning to see this wonderful installation, visit the bazaar happening on December 15 and attend Simbang Gabi from December 15-23 at the Ayala Triangle Gardens. Bring your family and friends.
The best places to visit this yuletide season don’t need to be grand destinations. If you want a simple getaway with family and friends, these streets can give you a good holiday cheer.