When we conjure up images of Christmas it is usually snow and log fires. For those looking to celebrate the season without fishing out their winter clothes, the Philippines is an ideal place to visit. In this post we look at 5 things to do during the Christmas season in the Philippines. (When I say season, Christmas here is from September until January)
1. Visit a Beach
The most attractive thing to do over Christmas in the Philippines is to travel to one of the country’s beautiful beaches. While traveling anytime of the year is special, moving around the Philippines over the Christmas period is even more unique as instead of throwing snowballs you will be lying in the sand. There are many great beaches to choose from across the country. Wander Wisdom made a list of the top 10 beaches in the Philippines depending on whether you want somewhere tranquil or livelier like Boracay, which is the party island of the country.
2. Go to Church
The Philippines has a strong Catholic heritage and during Christmas there are many celebrations. Two Monkeys Travel Group state that one of the oldest Christmas traditions in the Philippines is Simbang Gabi, which takes place during the buildup to Christmas. This mass usually begins at 4 am and Filipinos come to the church to worship and help fulfill someone’s wish to come true. For visitors, this is a chance to see the spiritual side of the Christmas season in the Philippines.
With Christmas comes shopping and with shopping comes the Christmas sales. The popularity of shopping at Christmas is so big in the Philippines that When in Manila devised a list of 7 shopping tips. On the list they recommend either going very early or late to the malls to avoid queues and to take your time shopping, as there will be many deals you won’t want to miss out on.
4. Watch Sport
Manila is a great city to spend Christmas in. For sports fans that might be worried that they are missing out on their favorite games, Manila has several sports bars to see the action. Skinny Mike’s in Taguig (The Fort) is catered more towards the American sport scene and regularly shows the NFL, NHL, and MLB. For soccer fans wanting to get their Premiership fix the Belle & Dragon in Makati is the place to be. Soccer is seeing a surge in popularity in the Philippines and the Premier League is very popular among locals. One aspect of this rise in interest is that the two most famous managers in the world, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, manage rival teams in Manchester, according to Premier League analysis site Betfair. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to find either Skinny Mike’s or the Belle & Dragon full with fans wearing sports jerseys from both City and United.
Christmas is always a time to indulge and nowhere is this truer than in the Philippines. The Kitchn states that Christmas in the Philippines is always a feast with Christmas ham and lechon (a whole roasted pig) usually at the center of the table. One interesting fact from the Kitchn is that Filipinos like their food on the sweeter side and that the hams are usually encrusted in either brown sugar or a syrup glaze, so be prepared for some sugary goodness on Christmas Day.