If you’re staying in the metro this holiday season, make a beeline for the historic walled city of Intramuros where you can dine and shop to your heart’s content and celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.
The heritage enclave plays host to the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) “Pasko sa Intramuros,” a holiday fair that showcases proudly Philippine-made products from the different regions of the country ranging from arts and crafts, novelty items, organic farm produce, and tour packages. It also comes with a side of performances, festivals, games, and competitions.
1. Taste the flavors of the Philippines with iconic dishes from different regions in a gastronomic experience that showcases a variety of treats such as the famous Vigan empanadas and longganisas of the North and the tahong chips of Bacoor City. Local vendors in Intramuros are also serving Christmas staples such as kakanin, puto bumbong, and bibingka.
2. Try some craft beers. To cleanse your palate from the flavor explosion, why not have a taste of locally-crafted beers? On Dec. 23, Friday, drink and be merry. “Pasko sa Intramuros” will host the Craft Beer Festival, giving the spotlight to beers from the provinces in the Northern and Central Luzon regions. Give it a try and you might find your spirit for your parties and get-togethers.
3. Check off your shopping list. From personalized plaques to exotic ornaments and handicrafts, to organic produce and herbal teas, the bazaar offers many locally-made products that you can give to the people on your Christmas list. For that health-buff friend? Why not give organic juices from fruits and vegetables harvested at the Costales Farms or book a trip to the Nurture Wellness Village and Spa in Tagaytay? How about hand-woven bag and shoes from Liliw, Laguna or the Ilocos Region for that fashion-forward tita in your life?
4. Plan your next travel adventure. Explore our wonderful islands some more this coming 2017. Fulfill your wanderlust and ride the waves of the West Philippine Sea in La Union or the Pacific Ocean in Baler, visit the Wonder City of Vigan, climbs the peaks of Mount Banahaw, or relive the Spanish Colonial period at the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. Choose from an array of travel packages to the popular spots in the country with the DOT and schedule your next out-of-town trip for your next holiday.
5. Enjoy musical concerts. While getting your bags, tummies, and calendars filled, catch some delightful music with our local bands and artists onstage. Get ready to belt out those high notes with the Timeless Diva for “A Special Christmas Time with Dulce” on December 16 or with the Powerhouse Diva, Dessa, on Dec. 24. Feel extra fancy while visiting the booths and indulge in the luxurious music as you are serenaded with violins by the Philharmonic Orchestra on “Pop Goes the Violins” on Dec. 21.
6. Take a selfie with the giant parol. Your Christmas trip to the walled city of Intramuros will not be complete without having your photos taken with the giant parol standing right in the middle of Plaza Roma, in front of the Manila Cathedral and the Palacio del Gobernador The colorful 15-feet tall lantern hails from the Christmas Capital of the Philippines—San Fernando, Pampanga—and was designed by renowned parol maker, Roland Quiambao.
7. Give thanks for 2016. After enjoying the bazaar and the performances onstage, remember the true meaning of Christmas and celebrate the birth of Christ by attending the Simbang Gabi and Misa de Gallo (Christmas Eve Mass) at the nearby Manila Cathedral Basilica or the San Agustin Church.
You can catch the Simbang Gabi at the Manila Cathedral every 4:30 am or 8 pm, and at the San Agustin Church every 4 am. The Manila Cathedral will also be hosting a Christmas Concert featuring the Manila Cathedral Choir at 4:30 pm on December 24, to be followed by the Misa de Gallo with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at 8:30 pm. San Agustin Church will be having its Misa de Gallo at 11 pm.
“Pasko sa Intramuros” is part of the DOT’s continuous efforts to revive the tourism in Manila and to re-establish historic city of Intramuros as a tourist destination. Visit the fair at the open lot along General Luna Street corner Postigo Street, beside the Palacio del Gobernador and the Manila Cathedral Basilica.