Top Picks: Holiday Destinations in the Metro and Nearby Towns in the South

From Ayala Triangle Gardens

While out-of-town Christmas celebrations are a tradition for many, there are among us that stay in the city. And that’s fine, especially if we are spending this special occasion with our loved ones.

With that, it’s only apt to make the best of the Holiday vacation. Here are must-experience activities and destinations within the metro and nearby, which themselves are becoming an anticipated year-end bonding time for city dwellers like you.

Makati Festival of Lights

The Gallery of Lights is a unique Makati tradition that Manileños look forward to. This year The Gallery of Lights has been spruced up via Carol of Lights: a 3D video mapping show at the dome of Tower One. The light displays dance to these three medleys: jazz, techno, and Filipino.

Catch this from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Ayala Triangle Gardens, Makati. Nearby attractions include the Filipinas Heritage Library (which is also housed in a historical site), several monuments of historical figures in the country such as Gabriela Silang and Sultan Kudarat, as well as restaurants and coffee shops and public art spaces that pay homage to progressive Spanish artists.

Use this map to get there: Ayala Triangle Map

Little Dapitan

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Ever heard of Dapitan Arcade? If you’re a fan of one-of-a-kind export-quality bargains, you must have been there. The vast array of items from 30+ stalls is visually stimulating, but could also be overwhelming too especially for first-timers.

Thankfully, there’s a pop-up version of it in Balintawak Cloverleaf, which stands as a curated version of Dapitan Arcade in Quezon City.

So expect the best finds from local artisanal, from Capiz light fixtures, wooden handicrafts, furniture and homewares, and centerpieces among others. Food stalls and weekend activities (e.g. Christmas wreath-making and acoustic sessions) make it fun for family bonding too.

Address: Cloverleaf, A. Bonifacio Avenue, Brgy. Balingasa, Balintawak, Quezon City

Cinematheque Centre Manila

Cinematheque Center Manila

How does one come-of-age in the time of social media?

The movie John Denver Trending asks that question; and Cinematheque, a government film institution, picks this for its highly relevant and compelling story. Yes, this 2019 Cinemalaya entry screens at Cinematheque from December 3 to 15. Surely, parents would also want to know the answer to that timely question that this movie had posed.

CCM is also home to Museo ng Pelikulang Pilipino, which houses film archives from six pioneering Filipino directors. Go check this gem out.

855 Kalaw Ave, Ermita, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila

National Museum of Natural History

From the National Museum of the Philippines

Across the street from Cinematheque Manila is this elegant venue for our country’s zoological, botanical and geological specimens.

It opened to the public last year and has now become one of the most visited in the National Museum Complex which is also comprised of the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Anthropology, and the National Planetarium.

Get to know our natural heritage — from our rich biodiversity on land and in water — their status and how to conserve them, all while admiring this six-floor architectural wonder. The soaring atrium, which leads to each floor, doubles as the “Tree of Life.”

Admission is free but it is closed on Mondays.

Address: Teodoro F. Valencia Circle, Ermita, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila

MMFF 2019

Ngayong darating na Pasko, tangkilikin natin ang pelikulang Pilipino. #MMFF2019 #MMFF45years

Mahilig ka rin bang manood ng pelikula?
Narito ang mga dapat ninyong abangan ngayong darating na Pasko!

#MMFF2019 #MMFF45years

Posted by Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Official on Monday, November 25, 2019

This year’s lineup of Filipino movie offerings — The Magic 8 is a mix of genres meant to entertain a specific group of moviegoers.

One highly anticipated movie is the Pinoy adaptation of the beloved Korean film Miracle in Cell No. 7. Aga Muhlach plays the role of the mentally challenged father, who was wrongly accused and convicted. Joining him as the lead star is Bea Padilla, as Muhlach’s daughter in the film. For lighter but equally awaited for their lead star MMFF “mainstays”: there’s Vice Ganda’s The Mall, The Merrier with real-life friend and noontime show co-host Anne Curtis. As well as Vic Sotto and Maine Mendoza tandem in Mission Unstapabol: The Don Identity. You also get Culion and Mindanao which are just as intriguing for their historical/cultural angles.

Nuvali’s Sayaw ng Parol


Here’s a sneak peek of the 1st interactive water show in the Philippines!

Catch the shows starting November 22, 2019, Friday to Sunday, 6pm to 9pm at Globe Lakeside Nuvali! #teamLabWater #NuvaliPH #teamLab

Posted by Nuvali on Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Nuvali uses mist to project the one-of-a-kind light show that is Sayaw ng Parol (Dance of the Lanterns), a spectacle that showcases larger-than-life projections of parols as they magically “float” on the water.

It alternates with the Nuvali teamLab Water: Interactive Water Show at Globe Lakeside, Nuvali, Santa Rosa, Laguna. The show runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., from Friday to Saturday. Admission is free.

Address: Santa Rosa – Tagaytay Rd, Don Jose, Santa Rosa, 4026 Laguna

The Heritage Town Batangas

From Wow Batangas

While in Laguna, might as well visit nearby towns like Batangas? On its fourth year of Pailaw sa Taal (Taal light and sound show), Taal Town Plaza showcases a giant Christmas tree as tall as the Basilica Church which is the tallest in Asia. Barong designs inspired the light displays, as well as jellyfish-like creatures that change their colors with movement.

Taal Town Plaza is in between Taal Basilica and the municipal building of Taal. It is open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. until January 6, 2020. To get there, ride from Tambo exit going Lemery with Taal Plaza as your drop off point.

Caleruega Chapel and Retreat Center

How about Caleruega? While it hosts retreat activities all-year-round, this place is also open to walk-ins. Its main draw is the Caleruega Chapel itself, which is as serene as the greeneries that surround it. Get closer to nature.

Avida Land aims to always bring your celebrations home. Find great communities in Metro Manila and the South at