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As an archipelago composed of thousands of diverse islands, the Philippines is always on top of mind in terms of beautiful destinations that can be visited at different times of the year. You can easily go around the country during summer, but the northeast monsoon a.k.a. Amihan that comes with the -ber months makes travelling a lot more comfortable. Plus, the much-awaited holiday break this December allows you to leisurely pay a visit to these places that will surely make your time worthwhile. From majestic mountains to pristine beaches, all the way to native animals, these twelve places can offer an extraordinary twist your well-deserved Christmas vacation.
The cool month of December can be perfectly spent in the warm city of Subic. Just a three-hour drive away from Manila, Subic is a first-class municipality in Zambales province. This is the perfect place for those looking to explore nature both through diving in the deep seas and mingling with land animals. Visit the famous Subic Safari and witness the tamed side of the wild animals, then relax at the end of the day by being one with the waters in their beach resorts.
After mingling with the animals, you can also spend the day hiking Mt. Balingkilat, the Mountain of Thunder. Although it will require a huge amount of your time and effort, reaching the peak will surely make your efforts worthwhile as it allows you to see an overview of the vast South China Sea. Spending the days leading to Christmas in this place can be your perfect unconventional present this year!
Experience the ber-months in the third coldest place in the country and make it perfect by trying the hot and savory Lipa lomi. A popular noodle dish mixed with kikiam, egg, and pork liver, Lomi is every Lipeño’s go-to food in every season. While you’re at it, try the Batangas goto as well – a soup made from beef boiled for hours made exciting with beef innards.
In between trying Lipa delicacies, you can also choose to visit the different churches in the Little Rome of the Philippines. Located at the center of the city is the huge San Sebastian Cathedral whose interior is intricately designed with portraits and scenes from the Bible. A few meters away from the Lipa Cathedral is the miraculous Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. Lipeños claim that in 1991, it is in this monastery where rose petals have fallen directly from the sky. It is also believed that several apparitions of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel had happened in this church, which is why a lot of religious people have made devotions to visit Mt. Carmel and the city of Lipa every now and then.
Get ready to be amazed by Pampanga’s wonderful sights as The Christmas Capital and The Culinary Capital of the Philippines!
Start with the festivities in San Fernando where a display of colorful parols, the paramount Filipino Christmas symbol, will light up the city at The Giant Lantern Festival that is set to spark this December 14 until January 2, 2020. You can also drop by The Sandbox, a huge theme park that lets you explore your adventurous side through wall climbing, rappelling, and riding a coaster that travels down a zipline. Continue the adrenaline rush and drop by the Angeles City Flying Club and experience how it feels to be a pilot for a day!
Lastly, don’t miss out on the specialty dishes that are only made best by Kapampangans. These meals are sure to make your Christmas – and your tummy – a lot more merry!
Bulacan has been making waves in the news for being the home to the Philippine Arena, touted as the world’s largest indoor arena.In the last quarter of the year, this is where the biggest concerts and grandest events of the country will be held, including the U2 Manila Tour and one of the most talked about live shows – Disney On Ice. While in the area, catch these shows and be in awe of just how massive this Bulacan pride is!
It’s also for a multitude of reasons that Bulacan is dubbed as the Culture Capital of the Philippines – the Obando dance, the Letter to the Women of Malolos, and the Hero of the Tirad Pass. More than dwelling on the history, however, Bulacan also offers a lot of destinations that can be explored in the present. Spelunking or cave exploration is one of the most popular tourist destinations as Bulacan offers diverse caves in Madlum, Puning, and Pinagrealan Cave. Cliff diving can also be explored in the area through Verdivia Falls located in Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan. The memories that you’ll gain from these experiences is the gift you deserve this Christmas season.
The rich culture of Cebu will definitely add color to your Christmas holiday trip. The Queen City of the South is always ready for the holidays especially with the numerous destinations you can tick off your travel bucket list.
For instance, observing the annual Filipino tradition of Simbang Gabi at the Basilica del Santo Niño, the oldest Catholic Church in the Philippines may be the most memorable and meaningful experience for religious devotees. You may as well tour the Heritage of Cebu Monument, a complex installation of art that shows the narrative of the city. Or if you prefer an exciting itinerary, you can even choose to swim with the giant but gentle Whale Sharks of Oslob. This activity might be frightening at first, but it sure is something to cross out of your bucket list especially before the year ends. Imagine being just 5ft away from these 30ft creatures that are truly the largest of their kind in the sea? The experience is sure to be as unforgettable as the marine creatures themselves!
Looking forward to that “Bohol Christmas” experience? Start it with a night out at the Christmas night market dubbed “KASADYA! Pasko sa Bohol,” the curated marketplace that showcases Bohol’s pride products from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily. You must immediately grab the chance to pay a visit to this place, however, as it will only be available until December 15.
“Kasadya” is a Cebuano word for cheer, joy, enjoyment, and zest, the exact words to describe the feeling that tourists will get once they get to enjoy the festivities in the area. Some may even want to explore the place more by connecting with nature. Aside from the world-famous Tarsier and Chocolate Hills, it is also home to a two-kilometer long man-made forest in the municipality of Bilar. Filled with huge mahogany trees on the side, this forest seems to have been drawn out of a movie scene. Outside the shade of the trees, visitors of the island can also enjoy Bohol’s aquatic beauty as they explore paddle boating along Loboc River. Peaceful and serene – an ideal way to spend Christmas time at one of the country’s most ideal places.
What can be more exciting than spending Christmas on the beach? Known for its pristine waters, the islands of Palawan boast marine attractions that can match the most popular destinations from other countries.
A boat ride to the Puerto Princesa Underground River, a drive-by to Baker’s Hill for the best souvenirs, and a visit to a park which is literally on top of a hill has grown to be notable tourist destinations that can best culminate your trip to the beautiful islands of Palawan.
Home to one of the seven wonders of nature, this beautiful destination surely promises that your trip under the sun will end with a star-gazing experience of a starry, starry Christmas night.
Known as The City of Love due to its location being almost at the heart of the Philippines,as well as being home to the most loving, friendly, kind-hearted, and soft-spoken Filipinos otherwise known as the Ilonggos, Iloilo can surely make its visitors fall for its one-of-a-kind beauty this December.
Witness the pride of Pototan, Iloilo, the Christmas Capital in the Visayas, as all eyes turn to watch their buzzer-beating stunning lights display known as the Iwag Festival. You can also watch the sunset at Iloilo River Esplanade and be in one of the most stunning places in the most beautiful season of the year.
There is also nothing that shouts Iloilo more than their La Paz Batchoy. Its tempting aroma will follow you all over the place since almost all their restaurants serve the famous delicacy. And once you give in to the temptation of eating this mouth-watering soup, there will be no more turning back.
The Crown Jewel of Mindanao sparkles this Christmas season, thanks to the strong holiday spirit of the Davaoeños.
You can bring your family to many destinations such as the Sta. Ana Wharf, Osmena Park and the City Hall to have a feel of the Pasko Fiesta under the 5,400 meters of Christmas lights that sprawl all over the city.
To add more excitement to the itinerary, explore other attractions that Davao takes pride in, such as the majestic Philippine Eagle and Rousette fruit bats found in the Monfort Bat Colony. This masterpiece from nature was chosen by the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest colony of fruit bats in 2010 after they’ve covered 75% of their cave. No question they’ve been visited by tourists no matter the time of the day, no question they’re one of the most in-demand attractions during this time of the year!
While Christmas is a season to celebrate what is, it is also high time to look back on what has been. And what’s a better way to celebrate history than have its pieces before our very own eyes?
A unique charm brought by having a piece of the country’s courageous history engulfs Butuan. As the regional center of the CARAGA region, it is known for Balangay Shrine which allows people to have a glimpse of one of the oldest-known artifacts in the country – a watercraft called balangay.
Surrounded by Agusan river, the relics of an ancient Balangay can also be found in Butuan’s Balanghai Boat Building Site. This huge boat that can fit up to 40 people pays tribute to the Filipino ancestors who braved the challenges of the sea to reach the different islands of the country amid the great distances that separate them.
Cagayan de Oro
The Yuletide Season is a time to celebrate growing relationships, and this city is the place to do just that. Cagayan de Oro is admired nationwide for being the City of Golden Friendship, but apart from the warm welcome that its locals give, tourists will also be greeted by the place’s scenic waterfalls – Catanico, Tinago, and Mintugsok to name a few. Water rafting and other related activities can be enjoyed by people of all ages as they traverse through the coastline of Northern Mindanao.
These waterfalls are complemented by the largest pirate-themed waterpark in the country, Seven Seas Waterpark. More than a dozen slides of various designs and wave pools can be enjoyed by people of all ages who can visit this attraction, perfect for families who reunite before the end of the year!
The “Pambansang Kamao” might be the first to come to mind when talking about General Santos City, but this city is a lot more than being the hometown of the champion boxer Manny Pacquiao. It has recently unveiled a 100ft giant Christmas Tree creatively and resourcefully made from recycled waste materials. This valiant effort that has been done by a city that has admittedly encountered problems with waste disposal deserve the country’s attention this Christmas season.
What must also be given recognition is GenSan’s wide array of marine resources, hailing the city to be the Tuna Capital of the Philippines. You can witness the rich fishing industry of GenSan at the Fish Port Complex, where hundreds of fresh fish are being sold in the morning at a great value. You can even take your purchase to a local restaurant and have it cooked in time for your Noche Buena!
Going to all these places in the country will surely make you crave for more – more time to explore more beautiful sights, and more energy to visit more undiscovered places. Having a piece of these prime locations is dreamy, but it is actually a vision that can be turned into reality.
COHO, Vista Land’s newest brand of beautiful, stylish, and high-quality condominiums, is bringing beautiful lifestyles to highly urbanized places across the country. After successfully expanding to 25 prime locations nationwide in just a span of a year, COHO – short for Condo Homes – has grown to be the best way for young professionals, starting families, and discerning investors to be a part of these sought-after destinations.
This Christmas season, COHO has the perfect present for those who want to secure their future. It combines the suburban vibe of exclusive villages and the convenience of living in a condominium that is surrounded by all the conveniences you need in exploring the wonders of the country. COHO helps you come home this holiday season to the the beautiful lifestyle you deserve, whenever and wherever you want to create it.