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LIST: Where to go in the PH with your family this Christmas

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Nov 25, 2023 5:20 pm

Now that Christmas is finally waving in the near distance, it’s expected for Filipinos to spend the most wonderful of the year with their families right in the comfort of their brightly decorated homes. But for others, going on a Christmas getaway to new sights in the Philippines makes their break truly a holiday they deserve.

If you and your family are itching to pack your bags and put your travel shoes on, here are some local destinations you can visit that can also serve as a well-deserved gift to yourselves.

Bantayan Island in Cebu

The cold Christmas air may brewing around this time, but others still like to have some fun under the sun. If so, then you’ll find that Bantayan Island in Cebu will give you everything you want and more in terms of crystal-clear waters and fine white sand beaches.

This small island located in the northernmost tip of Cebu is the perfect place to be if you want to dive into pristine waters, witness a picturesque view of the setting sun, and fill your stomach with lots of mouthwatering seafood.

And as Christmas is also a time for prayers and reflection, you’d be pleased to know that you can visit the Saint Peter and Paul Church on the island–one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.

San Fernando City in Pampanga

Being away from home to enjoy the great outdoors doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice feeling the festive vibe of the yuletide season. You can head to San Fernando City in Pampanga to witness how the city comes alive in spectacular fashion thanks to its many intricate and colorful decorations.

Referred to by many as the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines,” San Fernando City has a very special tradition observed by its residents come mid-December that you can partake in, and that’s the annual Giant Lantern Festival. 

You’ll certainly feel the spirit of the once you witness with your very own eyes the grand display of dazzling lanterns filling the night sky, and adding to the magical atmosphere are a melody of holiday music and an awe-inspiring fireworks display.

Nurture Wellness Village in Tagaytay
Nurture Wellness Village / Instagram

While snow in the Philippines is a scene that won’t happen—ever—you can still experience the cuddle weather by going to destinations with much cooler climates than normal, such as Tagaytay.

Aside from the low temperatures, visitors are treated to a beautiful view of the Taal Volcano and great bulalo spots to warm their tummies in the cold. 

One great place you can spend your vacation is Nurture Wellness Village. This Department of Tourism-accredited resort puts your wellness front and center thanks to its distinctive brand of “ecotherapy” or healing by and through nature.

It boasts professional wellness spa treatments–from nurturing therapists down to freshly blended therapeutic massage oils–that will surely make you feel like a new person by the time the new year rolls in. You can also bask in the wonders of nature thanks to its tranquil farm and enjoy delicious farm-to-table cuisine.

Hobbit Hill in Bicol
Hobbit Hill / Facebook

Longing for a place where you can relax and unwind while also feeling like a character in a fantasy story? Hobbit Hill, located in the mountains of Bicol in Amtic, Ligao City, has a majestic view and lush greenery to keep you company.

This new campsite is where you can literally take a breath of fresh air thanks to the sea of flora surrounding you, making you feel as if you have stepped into another magical realm. But the most special treat of all is that Hobbit Hill allows you to bask in the presence of Mt. Mayon at the foot of Mt. Masaraga. 

Make sure to bring your cameras with you on your trip as the attraction is home to serene and peaceful “hobbit houses” adorned with rich plants and flowers, making for a great backdrop for one enchanting picture.

Diving spots in Puerto Galera
Puerto Galera / Facebook

If your wish this Christmas is to step–or dive–into another world, then you may want to make Puerto Galera your holiday travel destination. 

The municipality in Oriental Mindoro now has the distinction of being the “diving capital of the Philippines” thanks to its numerous pocket beaches and scuba diving spots. Its majestic mountains and forests and refreshing waterfalls and rivers also contribute to the island’s status as an exceptional tourist destination.

But Puerto Galera’s most special feature lies in the channel between it and Verde Island, known as the “Verde Island Passage.” Here, you can make your dreams of underwater sightseeing come true with its many diving sights that serve as a sanctuary to huge numbers of fish species and a gorgeous variety of corals.