Are you looking for one of the most jovial places to spend the holidays? Want to try something new and exciting outside of Oz? The Philippines is one of the best places to head to when you’re looking for a unique way to spend your Christmas.
If you want to feel, see, and hear some of that year-end cheer, then start booking your flight early and take that sleigh ride to Manila. Trying to get tickets in December will be extra difficult with many Filipinos living and working overseas flying home to be with their families. Booking your flight months in advance shouldn’t cause any worry as most airlines now provide free rebooking. You can even plan and book your entire trip with a lay-by system that allows you to pay for your trip in installment and avail of early bird deals. What’s not to love? If you still need a few reasons to book early and book your trip to the merry archipelago that is the Philippines, here are some of them:
1) Christmas comes early. Very early.
In the Philippines, the Christmas season starts as early as September with shopping malls blasting Yuletide tunes as soon as the first of September rolls in. Christmas is all of the ‘ber’ months (that’s September to December, though Christmas season officially ends in January 6, the Feast of the Three Kings).
While the many huge malls play a big part in pushing the long festivities (gotta start the Christmas shopping early!), there is also the family-centric values of the Filipinos, where members traditionally try to spend these extra months with their families as much as they can.
2) Spectacular holiday traditions
Local culture and tradition come in full display during Christmas, including Simbang Gabi (Night Mass) and Misa de Gallo (Midnight Mass). As a former Spanish colony, the Philippines traces many of their Christmas traditions during the Spanish times.
While many churches hold anticipated Simbang Gabi, the nine-day series of Masses is traditionally held during dawn. Churches get all lit up and adorned at this time and it culminates in the Christmas Eve Misa de Gallo. If you’re staying in Manila, you can visit some of the churches in historic Intramuros or Walled City. Heading to the beaches of Cebu? Make a stop at Minor Basilica of Sto. Niño.
3) Filipino food
The past few years has seen Filipino cuisine getting some global recognition for Filipino restaurants both in the Philippines and cities such as Paris and New York. During Christmas time is when you can expect even more festive spreads and hospitality.
It’s the season where lechon (roasted pig) makes a regular appearance at a family gathering and the dessert rice cake duo called Bibingka (usually topped with salted egg) and Puto Bumbong (steamed glutinous rice cooked in bamboo) are seen sold on the streets. If you ever get invited to a Noche Buena (Christmas Eve dinner), do yourself a favor and go. It is a literal feast for the senses.
4) Wonderful weather
Nearing December, the weather in the Philippines will get slightly colder, but you will still experience that tropical sun. So flying in early in September or October will still give you the chance to engage in sports such as surfing and make your trips to one of its pristine beaches even better.
With a couple of months before December hits, you could even head to the northern part of the Philippines for some 4×4 action in the sand dunes of Paoay, or head west to Palawan for some clear water kayaking, before settling back in Manila to enjoy the Christmas break. And to make sure you’re free from the stress of anything unexpected happening, be sure to book a travel insurance.
5) Awesome people
Filipinos are considered some of the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world. And as the holidays approach, the people and atmosphere brim with hospitality. So take advantage of Star Flight’s lay-by holiday, book early, and plan your Philippine Christmas holiday. You can reach out to us to help you plan your itinerary.
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