AYALA TRIANGLE GARDENS
Where — Paseo De Roxas Street, Makati (It's 2 hectares big so it's hard to miss!)
What — A triangular public garden and courtyard referred to as an "urban park", there's definitely lots to do here. Art pieces and monuments by various Filipino artists line the area. The area has over a hundred trees too which provides ample shade from the sun. You can eat, take photos, bike, skate and pretty much chill to your heart's desire. What makes this a must-see during the holidays would be its spectacular light-and-sound display aptly dubbed as the "Festival of Lights". It runs daily from November 15, 2016 to January 8, 2017, every 30 minutes from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. No entrance fee required. (Click here to watch a sneak peek.)
QUEZON MEMORIAL CIRCLE
Where — R-7, Diliman, Quezon City
What — Located inside a large traffic circle, the Quezon Memorial Circle (also known as QC Circle or simply Circle) features a 66 meter mausoleum for the Philippines' second official president, Manuel L. Quezon, and his wife. There are various activities inside the park that caters to varying budgets such as the interactive QCX museum, an amusement park called "Circle of Fun" and tiangges where you can buy Marikina sandals for 2 for ₱150. (Steal!) A dancing light fountain can also be found inside. What can you do here for free? You can spread a blanket or occupy the free tables and chairs for a picnic. You can bring your pets inside too, bike, fly a kite, dance, exercise and the list goes on. With so much happening, it's also a great place to practice your photography. And if you're craving for classic street food, vendors line the area. You can have your isaw, ice cream, fish ball and cotton candy fix for less than ₱50. It's open 24 hours, no entrance fee required and parking is at ₱15 only. (Click here for photos.)
Where — Roxas Boulevard, Ermita, Manila
What — Luneta needs no introduction. It's one of the countries most popular tourist attractions. Although it has undergone a lot of beautification for the past years, one of its undying charms would be its picnic grounds that cater to families, friends and even lovers! So why not spend an afternoon picnic here like your grandparents did? No entrance fees here either. Bonus: Cross the street and visit the National Museum for no added cost. The art exhibits are bomb.
Do you live somewhere else other than Manila? No fuss. There's bound to be a park nearby or perhaps the beach or even your own backyard! All a picnic takes is creativity, some food to munch on and great company.
MERALCO LIWANAG PARK
Where — Meralco Compound, Ortigas, Pasig City
What — Every year, Meralco opens up its "Liwanag (Light) Park" and basks people with thousands of lanterns and fairy lights. This year's theme is “Christmas Around the World” and features replicas of the Sydney Opera House, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Tower of London, Eiffel Tower, Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building, Pyramids of Giza, Burj Al Arab, Petronas Towers and the Colosseum. It's most popular annual attractions include the choo-choo train which people can ride (again for free), the giant gingerbread houses and the colossal nativity scene made from copper. It's open from December 2, 2016 to January 8, 2016 from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm on Mondays to Thursdays and 6:30 pm to 12:00 midnight on Fridays and Sundays. Make sure to bring a valid ID in exchange for a visitor's pass. (Click here to see photos or here for a sneak peek.)
Where — Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan, Metro Manila
What — We've seen people act like mannequins but how would you feel if it were the other way around? Instead of actors, the Greenhills COD features mechanically controlled life-sized dolls that tell the story of Christ's birth. This is its 14th run in San Juan. The show is already open and plays every 30 minutes from 6:00 pm to 11:30 pm. (Click here to watch a preview.)
Where — Roxas Boulevard, Ermita, Manila
What — Wait. Again? You can't go to Luneta without watching the famed dancing fountains! I visited recently with my besties from Cebu and the fountain rocks to the tune of current and classic OPM songs and guess what else? Disney! Show starts at 7:30 pm.
It fits with the theme and easily puts everyone in a very festive mood. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" never gets old. As for Pinoy flicks, Star Cinema's 1998 film "Hiling (Wish)" is a hardcore personal favorite. It starts then child stars Camille Prats, Shaina Magdayao and Serena Dalrymple. The story revolves around Anna, an ordinary girl who on her birthday was given magical powers by a mysterious stranger to grant any wishes by mere touch. The depth of the story line is really good.
Why the hell not? Nobody's too grown up to watch Disney. Besides, it would be the perfect time to brush up on your "Beauty and the Beast" songs now that the live action's coming out. Also, High School Musical marathon!
Everyone loves a good love story especially if it comes with excellent comedic timing and punch lines. I suggest, "When in Rome" and "You Again". Kristen Belle sure knows how to make your heart flutter and your lips giggle at the same time. (Click here for a list of movies.)
In our neck of the woods, Uno reigns supreme. To kick things up a notch, add some dares or consequences for losing players. This is the time we draw silly mustaches on each other's faces using an old lipstick or make that cousin who hates veggies eat an entire bowl. Don't have one? A classic deck of cards will do and it's available in most convenience stores. Who enjoys a good "1-2-3-Pass" game?
Come on. These things never get old. From classic Scrabble to Monopoly to Pictionary and what have you, you're bound to have loads of fun and fits of laughter. It gets people competitive in a good way. What are your favorites?
Christmas isn't exclusive for humans. Let your pets join in the fun too! Okay, this option is far out of topic but I badly wanted to include my pet's photo in this post. *lol* I mean you can play fetch with them or just go rub their bellies, right? I sure won't mind but I have a feeling my dog thinks... "Gosh. This human's too clingy!"
Remember those days when you can only do karaoke in the "tindahan" where you drop a five peso coin for every song? A cousin once told me that the best way to maximize that coin is to belt out the Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. It's almost 6 minutes long so you enjoy more than 5 minutes of fame. You could do the same at home and steal that microphone from all your relatives lining up to sing. Haha! Just make sure you don't exceed beyond the curfew. *wink*
As soon as the "ber" months roll in, you'll hear Christmas songs everywhere. Why not do the singing instead? You might just get an "aguinaldo" from your ninong and ninang! Perhaps add a little dance number in there? #Pinaghandaan (Click here for my current holiday playlist.)
There's a lot but those Aegis songs should get everyone hyped up! (Heto akooooo, basang-basa sa ulaaaaan...♫♪)
A marriage of salty and crunchy goodness, these potato snacks come with the rich and sweet flavors of chocolate and salted caramel drizzles. No need to melt chocolate in the microwave. It's all been done for you. It's the perfect juxtaposition that'll blow your taste buds away! Bite into this new #BestoPotato experience with another innovative offering. Jack ‘n Jill Calbee Salted Caramel and Chocolate Potato Chips will be exclusively found on the shelves of 7-eleven stores for a limited time only. For more information, check Jack ‘n Jill Calbee’s Facebook and official website. (PS: They make awesome stocking fillers!)
*Sponsored Post. Although the products have been received for PR consideration, thoughts and opinions remain my own.*