Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Grandeur in Manila

Christmas is most vibrantly celebrated in the Philippines, Asia's Christmas capital - where the whole "Christmastide" season starts after Halloween and runs midway through January. Asia's only Catholic country, the Philippines lives and breathes the holidays with ebullient spirits. Malls and shops are lavishly decorated, bringing out the colors that bring cheer to everyone. Except for the "holiday rush" that goes along with manic gift-buying for children (I have 7 godchildren), friends, and family - I love Christmas as well! It's the Philippines' most festive time - thus the best season for tourists who suffer the doldrums of a very commercial time of the year. Pinoys carry an extra smile in their pockets, an infectious demeanor that rightfully puts Ebenezer Scrooge to shame.

The holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world, even in non-Christian states. Heard about the $11-million Christmas Tree that stood proudly at the foyer of the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi? It's quite ironic that a Guinness World Record entry richly symbolizing Christianity sits in the heart of an Arab country. It signifies the watering down of stringent religious polarization. And who is to benefit from all these liberal and permissive trends, but most of humanity.

Indeed, peace on earth and good will to men.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City

One of the malls in Eastwood (above and below).

Activity area, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City (above and below).

Decked in smooth-green lights, SM Megamall Building A.

Activity area at the Podium.

Curiously sparse "Christmas Tree" - the dullest we've seen. Poor Podium sales, Mr. Sy?

A giant Christmas Tree made from indigenous materials - cones from coconut husk, Christmas balls from rattan, and hundreds of lights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 Arrival Hall (above and below).

Even the plants decorating NAIA Terminal 3 are Christmas-inspired.

Christmas wreath deconstructed, NAIA Terminal 3 Arrival Hall.

Traditional parols (Christmas lanterns): sincerity in simplicity.


Siddhartha Joshi said...

aha...very nice! nice to see such different types of christmas trees.

eye in the sky said...

Love 'em trees. They're every where. And to think I've just taken my cam in 4 or 5 places around Manila.

PEACHY said...

i miss christmas especially the filipino way...

eye in the sky said...

@ Peachy:

Nothing beats Pinoy Christmas, and I'd say that with unbiased conviction. It's around the corner.