By VIANCA GAMBOA
Street corners and major thoroughfares never look dashing, but the spectacle begins as soon as giant lanterns, ten-foot Christmas trees, big stereos booming “Christmas in our Hearts” on repeat, and flickering lights make their appearance Christmastime.
This has become a tradition in every community in the country, but some people expend tremendous effort in dressing up their shiny homes, and out of collective effort, their entire village.
Give the counterfeit Brandon Woelfel x Poblacion backdrops a break and take a walk (or even go caroling) around the best Christmas villages and towns in the country.
Baguio Country Club Christmas Village, Baguio
We all dream of walking (and rocking parkas with fake fur hood) in a winter wonderland, and for most of us, Baguio with a temperature one celsius shy of Autumn, is the closest we can get. Christmas on displays go hard here, but what we find magical the most is the annual Christmas Village at Baguio Country Club. The holiday attraction hosts different themes every year, including non-Christmas movie franchises and relevant pop culture references—this time it’s Avengers and Game of Thrones. Watch how it unveils a spectacle that veers away from the traditional Christmas displays by using huge character figures and a headquarter replica. The village is sustainable, too as it uses recycled materials and even real plants. Baguio Country Club Christmas Village is open from Monday to Thursday, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and from Friday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Entrance fee is at ₱120.
Nuvali Magical Field of Lights, Laguna
Not satisfied with light installations that glow from afar? Walk along the illuminated spiral tunnel to enter the Magical Field of Lights. Frolic in the thousands of tulip-shaped bulbs that light up in colors of the rainbow complete with fog machines and blinking spheres, and dance along to the tunes of Christmas jingles like “Pasko ay Sumapit,” “Kumukutikutitap,” and “Joy to the World.” The holiday spectacle is not limited to this magical space—explore the paved pathways of the 3,600-square-meter eco-community of Nuvali so you can still bask in the ambience of Christmas while getting some outdoor exercise, even at night!
Policarpio Street, Mandaluyong
Remember the times you bargained with your mom just so she could take you to the magical village of Policarpio after seeing it on a primetime newscast? We do. And it seems like the street shines brighter and displays augment into larger exhibits as we grow, too. As you coast down until the end of a stretch, you will find different residences with their own theme of decorations, including a belen garden, a house full of huge, dangling Santa Claus statues, and a gate decked out in multicolored LED lights.
San Fernando, Pampanga
Christmas lanterns in all shapes and sizes light up the town of San Fernando, aka “The Christmas Capital of the Philippines,” thanks to its annual Giant Lantern Festival. The locals from different barrios compete against each other and (really!) pull out all the stops in crafting their entries from scratch. They make use of thousands of light bulbs and even recycled ma- terials and adorn these parols with intricate ornaments and designs up to the littlest details. You can witness the sea of lanterns lit in all their splendor just by driving along MacArthur highway at night.