Free Christmas attractions in Metro Manila this year
December 2019 has crept up on us, with Christmas right around the corner. Though the lights and decor have long been hung up, you may have found it hard to get into the holiday groove between adulting commitments such as exams and errands to run.
Still, taking breaks is important. And sometimes, all you need is a good dose of holiday cheer to get into the festive spirit. With these free Christmas attractions all around Manila, you won’t even have to spend a cent to welcome Yuletide.
Check out our other festive articles:
- 10 charity bazaars & programs in Manila to support this Christmas
- 12 yearly planners from P20 you need RN for a headstart on your 2020 New Year Resolutions
1. Okada Manila’s giant gingerbread house
Image credit: @okadamanila
Miniature things are fascinating, but so are ordinary things turned giant. That’s why 5-star resort Okada Manila’s Giant Gingerbread House is a sight for kids and adults alike.
Made from recycled materials, giant-sized Christmas symbols like candy canes and nutcrackers make you feel like you’ve shrunk, Alice in Wonderland-style and entered a real-life gingerbread house, where you can purchase Christmas treats like breads, pastries, chocolates, and even real edible gingerbread houses to take home or gift your friends.
Image credit: @e.n.e.r.o
And Okada Manila’s festive display doesn’t just stop at the gingerbread house – its lobby is decorated in golden Christmas lights and with an opulent Christmas tree. There’s also a famous fountain show, with lights, music and water jets, at these times.
Address: New Seaside Dr, Parañaque, 1701 Metro Manila
Opening hours: 24 hours
Telephone: (02) 8888 0777
2. Venice Grand Canal Mall’s floating Christmas tree
Image credit: @taguigeno
Venice Grand Canal Mall, also known as Manila’s little Venice, is pulling out all the stops when it comes to holiday exhibits this year. Not only has it put up a 4-story-high floating Christmas tree (Philippine’s first!) on its man-made canal, it embellished the display with over 3,000 Christmas balls, flowers, gift boxes, and of course, Venetian masks – making this one of the top photo spots in the city this season.
Image credit: @chienjiasheng
Mall-goers can also enjoy a gondola ride for P500 per person. You’ll get to coast along the canal that surrounds the mall, and enjoy a good view of the abundant golden lights come nighttime. It’s a great experience for a couple looking for a romantic boat ride, or just anyone looking to trick their friends into thinking they’re off vacay-ing in Italy.
Address: Garden Villas, 1630 Upper McKinley Road McKinley Hill, Cluster B, Taguig, 1630 Metro Manila
Opening hours: 11AM-11PM, Daily
Telephone: (02) 7624 1971
3. Araneta’s animated Christmas characters and skating rink
Image credit: @dgsalazar
Araneta’s Christmas Animated Display at Time Square Food Park will put you in the mood for Christmas as it brings together dancing statues of The Little Drummer Boy, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus, and the Nativity against a backdrop of LED Christmas lights and structures, with festive tunes playing in the background.
Image credit: @leanne_bautista
There’s also a food park and skating rink right in front of the animated display; you can either choose to grab a bite, sit back, and enjoy the show, or rent a pair of skates (P100 for 30 minutes) and pretend you’re Michael Martinez.
Address: Time Square Food Park, Araneta, Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila
Opening hours: Sun – Thurs 6PM-10PM | Fri – Sat 6PM-11PM (Until 5th January 2020)
4. Shangri-La Plaza’s Christmas decor and Santa’s Corner
Image credit: @trendhotspot
Shangri-La Plaza is decked out in beautiful Christmas decor every year, and this year is no exception, with lavish gold, green, and red stars, abstract trees and baubles suspended from the ceiling. Its tree lighting ceremony was so hyped up it even earned a visit from the king of OPM Christmas tunes himself, Jose Mari Chan!
Image credit: @zen_gueco
You’ll want to visit on the weekend, because there’s a Santa’s Corner where kids get to sit on Santa’s lap and make a wish in true Christmas tradition. The mall also has a Christmas-themed train called Holiday Express, that kids can ride for free. It runs until 15th January 2020, so you can head down even after Christmas Day.
Address: Level 4, Open Cafe, East Wing, Shangri-La Plaza,Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
Dates: 7th-8th, 14th-15th, 21st-23rd December 2019
Opening hours: 4PM-7.30PM
Telephone: (02) 8370 2500
5. Greenhills Shopping Center’s laser light and dance performance
Image credit: @greenhillsph
The brainchild of award-winning lighting designer Voltaire de Jesus, Greenhills’ Laser Light Symphony is another show to go to if you want to get into the Christmas spirit. Raising the bar on typical light displays, this combines laser light presentation with laser dance experts and remixed Christmas songs into a futuristic performance that you won’t want to miss.
There’s a performance every half an hour daily, from 6PM to 10PM until 5th January 2020. Greenhills is also well known for being an affordable shopping district, so if you drop by to catch the show, you can do some last-minute Christmas shopping too.
Address: G-Strip, Greenhills Shopping Center, Ortigas Ave., Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila
Opening hours: 6PM-9PM, Daily (Until 5th January 2020)
Telephone: (02) 8721 0572
6. Ayala Triangle Gardens’ neon lights and 3D video-mapping show
Image credit: @donaldmagno
While the phrase “Christmas lights” usually brings to mind dainty fairy lights or colorful bulbs, Ayala Triangle Gardens’ Gallery of Lights takes on a different approach with neon lights instead of the usual suspects.
But you’ll still feel the festive vibes, as Filipinos’ favorite Christmas medleys play in the background while you try to take the most Instagram-worthy pictures for your feed.
Image credit: @japeuphoric
The most recent addition to this set-up is The Carol of Lights, designed by graphic designer G.A. Fallarme, Dutch artist Henk-Gert Lenten, and Epson Philippines. It’s a type of light show that projects paintings and stained-glass window designs from the world’s iconic churches onto the dome of Tower One and Exchange Plaza, which makes sets it apart from the usual light displays.
Address: Paseo De Roxas St Cor Makati Ave, Cor Ayala Ave, Makati, 1209 Metro Manila
Opening hours: 6PM-10PM, Daily (Until 12th January 2020)
Telephone: (02) 7908 3000
7. Ortigas’s drive through, with Christmas lights and music
Image credit: @nclalvrz
Filipinos living in Ortigas aren’t the only ones who look forward to the annual Christmas Street Light Musical Tunnel display, where over 2,368 colored lights illuminate the tunnel along Frontera Drive, and blink in sync with Christmas songs. People living in other parts of Manila flock here too.
If you’re not zooming through the tunnel in a car, you can grab a bite at the pop up night market of Maginhawa’s StrEAT Food and chill to the Christmas music blasting in the background.
Address: Frontera Drive, Ortigas East, Pasig City, Metro Manila
Opening hours: 6PM-10PM, Daily (Until 5th January 2020)
8. Tiendesitas’ immersive light exhibit
Situated just along Ortigas’s Christmas Street Light Musical Tunnel is Tiendesitas, a shopping mall that has a pair of immersive Christmas light installations called the Gift of Wonders. The installations are set in rooms that resemble gift-wrapped presents in line with the giving spirit of the season.
Image credit: @tiendesitasph
The first installation, House of Stars, located at Tiendesitas’ Food Village in Building B, is filled with color-changing fairy lights – over 150,000 of them – suspended from floor to ceiling.
And the other, Pets Unleashed, has light projections that make you feel like you’ve stepped into a kaleidoscope. There are cute animal plushies you can pose with too, and you’ll find this room at none other than Pet Village, Building C, of the mall.
Image credit: @tiendesitasph
Address: C-5 Las Fiestas, Pasig City, Metro Manila
Opening hours: Sun – Thurs 10AM-9PM | Fri – Sat 10AM-10PM (Until 5th January 2020)
Telephone: (02) 8635 5680
9. SM Mall of Asia’s Christmas parade
Image credit: SM Mall of Asia Official
SM Mall of Asia, which dubs itself as the Filipinos’ “Home for the Holidays” has a series of activities lined up from now till Christmas.
The most buzzworthy event is the Grand Festival of Lights Parade, which takes place at 5.30PM every Saturday until Christmas day, and on 25th December itself. The extravagant parade comes complete with costume-clad performers, over-the-top floats, and fireworks, and is something you won’t want to miss.
Image credit: @themallofasiaofficial
There’s also an Indoor Music and Lights Show that runs from afternoon till late, all the way up until the end of 2019.
And if you’re in a charitable mood, you can get 2 SM Bears of Joy at P200 – one that you’ll get to keep while the other makes its way to a child under the orphan center Bahay Tuluyan’s care.
Address: 123 Seaside Blvd, Pasay, 1300 Metro Manila
Telephone: (02) 8556 0680
Indoor Music and Lights Show
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 4PM-11PM | Sat – Sun 2PM-10PM (Until 31st December 2019)
Grand Festival of Lights Parade
Dates: 7th, 14th, 21st, 25th December 2019
10. Filinvest’s Christmas Village
Image credit: @filinvest_city
Manila traffic is notoriously bad, so if you live in the South of Manila and just can’t bring yourself to travel to the North, Filinvest’s Christmas Village is the perfect spot for you to visit
There’s something new happening every day, from light shows to live performances by local music acts such as Basically Saturday Night and Unique. On Sundays, the village is also holding meet-and-greets with Santa Claus.
And if that’s not enough, there’s a 42-feet-tall Christmas tree and DJ Wicked Adobo to open the event every Saturday at 6:00 pm until 28th December 2019 to bring on the festive vibes.
Image credit: @filinvest_city
Address: Vector One Building Northgate Avenue Cyberzone, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila
Opening hours: 2PM-2AM, Daily (Until 31st December 2019)
Telephone: (02) 8846 0278
Christmas attractions around Manila you can visit for free
They say Christmas loses its magic as we grow older, but we think these festive displays will put you right in the festive mood. So take a break and visit one of the places on this list, because there’s nothing more Christmassy like jingles, fairy lights, and a Christmas tree embellished with extravagant ornaments to bring out the inner child in you.