In Baguio City, Christmas is always a community affair.
Images: Public Information Office - City of Baguio
Are you celebrating Christmas in Baguio? You’ve come to the right place. Baguio might have made a name for itself as the Summer Capital of the Philippines and an ideal place to visit for Christmas, making a solid case for it to be called the Christmas capital. Holidays in Baguio are made memorable by all the ideal places where families and extra cheery locals can bond in peace come Christmas—even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Proof of Baguio’s preparations to become an ideal Christmas destination are these Christmas-themed spots in the city that will certainly seal the deal. Take notes on where to go for Christmas in Baguio, tell your friends and family, and double down on jackets to fight off that frigid December air!
1. Baguio Country Club Christmas Village
Location:Country Club Road, Camp John Hay, Baguio City, Benguet
The colossal dragon displays in Baguio Country Club will leave children’s mouths open in amazement.
Opened last October 25, 2019, Baguio Country Club’s annual Christmas village welcomes kids and kids-at-heart to its many bedazzling models of some of the most popular fantasy characters.
Inside, gigantic life-size dragon replicas tower over the village visitors. In another part of the village, die-hard fans of the wildly popular Marvel Cinematic Universe will instantly notice the Avengers Tower and the Captain America backdrop, patrolled by the cosplaying Avengers themselves.
Also wowing audiences are holiday staples like the nativity scene, the enormous Christmas tree illuminated by strobe and incandescent lights, the many bright spirals that guide your way through the Christmas village, and of course, the snow! Kids can also take a picture with Santa Claus, post their wishes on the wishing wall, or jam to live musical performances.
The Christmas fantasy village inside the Philippines’ first and only five-star mountain resort usually is open until the first week into the New Year.
Tip: Any open-toed slippers are not allowed inside the attraction, so plan your attire before going to the place. Visit Baguio Country Club Christmas Village on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/baguiocountryclubxmasvillage/, to catch their latest updates.
How to get to Baguio Country Club:via commute: from the city center, ride a jeepney to Mines View Park, and get off at Pacdal Circle. Walk towards the direction of Pack Road, head left at the junction of South Drive onto Country Club Road, then head left around 500 meters; the Christmas Village should be at your left; via private car: from the city center, you can take Kisad Road heading southbound. At the roundabout, exit to Kennon Road, then at the next roundabout, exit South Drive. After about 2.5 kilometers, drive straight onto Country Club Road, then towards Baguio Country Club; the Christmas Village should be on your left.
2. Christmas Tree Lighting at Session Road
Location:Session Road, Baguio City, Benguet
Christmas is when Baguio’s creativity shines through, as seen in their yearly lantern parade.
Image: Baguio City
The first of December is a red-letter day on every calendar in Baguio as everyone anticipates the start of the city’s Christmas festivities. Last 2019, the celebration, with the theme “Enchanting Christmas,” starts at Session Road.
That day, at precisely 6:00 PM, the towering Christmas tree atop Session Road will be set alight at the will of Baguio’s local government officials and private sector representatives. At the same time, the street will shine brightly from end to end as streetlights and park lampposts will also be lit to create a colorfully illuminated panorama to signal the start of the holidays in the highland city.
The celebration will also mark the start of various activities they have in store for the yuletide season. In particular, for Session Road, the famed avenue will again serve audiences in the annual Christmas Parade. Here, city locals march the street towards Melvin Jones, bringing their most creative couture, lanterns, and masks, perfect proof of Baguio’s wide range of imagination. Indeed, Christmas in Baguio is worth it—pandemic or not!
Tip: You can cap off your trek along this long road with a dinner at the famous Oh My Gulay! or Hill Station nearby.
How to get to Session Road: From the city center, Session Road is easily accessible on foot or by private via Magsaysay Avenue or Governor Pack Road.
3. Baguio Christmas Fair at Burnham Park Rose Garden
Location:Jose Abad Santos Drive, Baguio City, Benguet
Ever been curious as to how Christmas is observed in Switzerland? Burnham Park can give you a glimpse.
Image: Baguio City
The historical urban park is usually open during Christmas in Baguio and joins holiday festivities with its stunning presentation, which takes you straight to Europe.
Traverse through the Baguio Christmas Fair in Burnham Park’s Rose Garden, where chalets are creatively crafted to imitate Christmas celebrated by European countries like Austria, France, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, and many others. Visitors can also take photos with Santa Claus, at the selfie station with a horse-drawn wooden sleigh, or at the colossal and colorful 25-meter-tall Christmas tree that lights the city park into life. Private booths and community-run kiosks serving goodies are also ready to serve parched park-goers.
The park will also reprise its Christmas lights and sounds through the Baguio government’s Christmas line-up. Audiences from all over will be both surprised and serenaded by a laser lights display coupled with a presentation that combines classic Christmas tunes with a fond retelling of timeless Christmas tales on film.
The best part? Entrance is free all holiday round!
Tip: Take only bite-sized samples and small souvenirs from every chalet to get through them all!
How to get to Burnham Park: From the city center, Burnham Park is easily accessible on foot or by private car via Lake Drive and Shanum Street.
4. Christmas Lights Show at The Manor
Location:Ordonio Drive, Camp John Hay, Baguio City, Benguet
At The Manor, a Christmas bonus means offering their hotel guests grand lights and sounds show.
Image: Joy Jose Casusi
Many families visit the City of Pines every Christmas to witness White Christmas through a memorable yuletide event that only The Manor can pull off.
Tucked within the comforts of Camp John Hay, The Manor has been hosting their Annual Christmas Lights Show to mark the start of the holiday season. Last 2019, the event called “Celebrate Christmas Traditions”, welcomed hotel guests with the quintessential snowfall to complement the spectacular lights show, which ran until the first few days of the New Year. During the festive holiday in Baguio, the Manor Garden was filled with small Christmas trees dressed with lights, with the biggest one at the center of the dazzling laser lights show. Rapid moving lights coupled with smoke effects dance in sync with Christmas tunes.
The yearly event, which opened with a dinner banquet, aims to bring the community together for a good cause. This year, The Manor’s beneficiary is the Fashion Arts Autism Benefit, an organization that hones the talent of gifted children with autism in the field of design.
Tip: If you’re planning to stay for the weekend, The Manor’s Christmas Wonderdeals offers discounted rates for its accommodations. You may follow The Manor on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/themanoratcjh/, to catch their latest updates.
How to get to The Manor At Camp John Hay:via commute: from the city center, you can ride jeepneys or vans with “Baguio Plaza-Scout Barrio” signboards. Get off the crossing along Loakan Road, then walk towards Camp John Hay. Walk about a kilometer along Ordonio Drive until you reach The Manor at your right; via private car: from the city center, you can take Kisad Road to the roundabout, where you will exit towards Kennon Road. Take a left to Military Cutoff Road, drive straight, and at the next roundabout, exit towards Loakan Road. After about 1.5 kilometers, turn left onto Ordonio Drive. Drive for about a kilometer until you reach The Manor at your right.
Last 2019, Malcolm Square was lit with dozens upon dozens of bright Christmas lights everywhere—hanging from the large Agoho tree at the heart of the urban park, on the steps and walkways, or around the kiosks surrounding the place. Illuminated Christmas decors will also dance to their jolly tunes in a shimmering Christmas Lights Show, which takes place every evening.
Tip: This brilliant installation comes after a timely rehabilitation of Malcolm Square. The rundown plaza of yesterday took a turn for the absolute good and is now a more extensive, brisker, and livelier social space, earning its moniker as the People’s Park. Such a turn is well-timed as the park gets set to welcome Christmas and impart a message of hope to the people of Baguio.
How to get to Malcolm Square: From the city center, Malcolm Square is easily accessible on foot or by private car by heading left from Shanum Street, Otek Street, or Harrison Road onto Magsaysay Avenue. Malcolm Square should be at your right.
Wherever you may choose to hunker down in Baguio for the holidays, remember that it’s the time spent with family and friends that makes Christmas genuinely memorable—pandemic or not.
For more of the best places to visit this holiday season in Baguio, check outYoorekka Magazine.
Stay safe as you travel! Make sure to follow social distancing protocols and observe health precautions. For now, keep safe!
This article was initially published in Yoorekka on November 19, 2019.
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About Viktor Austria
Viktor would love to receive an extra hour a day as a Christmas gift. That way, he won’t have to struggle over splitting his 24 hours among making brand copies and campaigns, writing children’s stories, going to the gym, commuting around Taguig, and feeding his two overweight cats. He hates the hustle culture, that’s why he’s thankful for friends who have time to spare on weekends, preferably over spicy ramen and cold bottles of beer.
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