8 Christmas Destinations in the Philippines Outside Manila

Pasko na naman and no one does Christmas like Pinoys! As early as September, folks start gearing up for the most wonderful time of the year. From annual festivals and seasonal markets to religious practices and grand year-end shows, the Filipino spirit of Christmas is truly unparalleled. More than just a holiday, this season is also one that’s filled with warmth, love, and a strong sense of community. Besides the capital region of the Philippines, we list some of the best cities outside of Manila to visit during Christmas. Read on to find out what they have in store for you this season!  

Also read: 10 Best Christmas Festivals in the Philippines Worth Catching

Best Christmas cities in the Philippines that are outside the metro

1. Pampanga

Image credit: Philippine Information Agency Official Website

Hailed as the Christmas capital of the Philippines, Pampanga is undoubtedly one of the best destinations to experience holiday magic! Come the holiday season, folks especially look forward to its famous Giant Lantern Festival. This annual tradition dating back to 1908 features a friendly competition among the barangays in the city of San Fernando. What’s more? Pampanga’s tantalising gastronomic scene attracts tons of foodies with native delicacies like Pinoy-fave sisig

2. Bacolod

Image credit: Stonehill Suites Official Website

Nestled in the heart of Negros Occidental, Bacolod stands out as a dynamic destination for your Christmas getaway. Nicknamed the City of Smiles, the inherently enthusiastic nature of its citizens will also make you feel right at home. Typically, tourists flock here to witness its annual Masskara Festival held in October when the holiday festivities kick off. Come December, the holiday season becomes merrier with the opening of its famous Yoyoland Christmas Village! Boasting an old-world charm, don’t miss out on visiting other top Bacolod tourist spots like the Ruins of Talisay and the baroque church of San Sebastian Cathedral

Also read: Bacolod Tourist Spots: 10 Things to Do for Foodies & History Buffs

3. Tagaytay

Image credit: Brittany Corporation Official Website

Tagaytay is especially magical during the holidays. Known for its scenic beauty and cool climate, it transforms into a captivating Christmas wonderland! Here, the Swiss-inspired town of Crosswinds Tagaytay becomes a holiday hotspot with its yearly Trail of Lights installations and illuminations. Meanwhile, at Taal Vista Hotel, you can catch the annual Christmas Tree Lighting event and Christmas Concert

Of course, don’t pass up the chance to enjoy overlooking views of Taal Lake at Picnic Grove or catch thrilling rides at Sky Ranch. During this time of year, these already enticing spots also become more lively with their festive decorations. 

Also read: 10 Things to Do for Free in Tagaytay for Every Traveller

4. Baguio

Image credit: Baguio City Guide Official Facebook Page

Escape to the pine-clad city of Baguio for a chilly trip out of town! Nicknamed the Summer Capital of the Philippines, the city’s daily temperature averages 18–20°C. With its cool climate, picturesque mountainous landscapes, and festive traditions, it’s no surprise that it draws visitors back year after year. 

On your holiday here, don’t miss Baguio Country Club’s yearly Christmas Village! Open to the public from October to January, it boasts several light installations that make perfect backdrops for your holiday snapshots. Additionally, it features a snow show set to blanket all of its displays with a layer of fluffy artificial snow. 

Also read: Winter in the Philippines? 8 Places to Experience a Cold White Christmas

5. Dumaguete

Image credit: Mayor Angelo G. Aguinaldo Official Facebook Page

Dumaguete, aka The City of Gentle People, has a reputation for its warm-hearted residents and tranquil coastal community. For a holiday off the beaten path, this small town is just the place to be. But, don’t be fooled! What it lacks in size, it makes up for in grand festivities and time-honoured traditions. 

Every year during December, Dumaguete attracts different people from across the country with spectacular wonders such as The Christmas House. This Spanish-era mansion is considered one of the most mesmerising holiday hotspots in all of Negros Oriental. And rightfully so, as the home features epic Christmas installations and vibrant LED light displays — the perfect spot for family photo-ops! You’ll just have to see it yourself! 

6. Cebu

Image credit: Danao City Government Official Facebook Page

Of course, the Queen City of the South knows how to make holiday magic happen! In Cebu, the festivities don’t simply end in December. Following the celebrations of Christmas and New Year’s, Cebuanos eagerly start preparing for its famous Sinulog-Santo Niño Festival in January. As you await this much-anticipated tradition, take time to enjoy its annual Christmas attractions like the Festival of Lights at Ayala Center Cebu and the Tree of Hope at the Fuente Osmeña Circle. 

Also read: Cebu Travel Guide 2023: Best Things to See, Eat, and Do

7. Iloilo

Image credit: Philippine Information Agency

Dubbed the Heart of the Philippines for being located literally at the centre of the archipelago, Iloilo City is also known for its exceptionally sweet-natured locals. Pair heartwarming hospitality with the holiday spirit, and Iloilo becomes one of the most delightful Christmas cities in the Philippines to embrace the season. 

Come December, Christmas illuminations take centre stage, transforming the city into a visual feast and a top family destination in Western Visayas. This 2023, the Iloilo Capitol features a magical Disneyland-inspired facade with atmospheric lights and spectacular nighttime entertainment. 

8. Tangub

Image credit: Tangub City Government Official Website

When it comes to creating oversized Christmas decor and illuminated replicas of the world’s  most famous landmarks, Tangub City in Misamis Occidental does it best! This city in Northern Mindanao even earned the title “Christmas Symbols Capital of the Philippines” for its celebrated festival every December. This annual tradition started in 1992 and has since become one of the Philippines’ longest-running holiday events. Picture Japan’s Ashikaga Flower Park, London’s Big Ben, and Paris’ Notre Dam among many others! 

Also read: 7 Magical Places to Visit for Christmas That Are Visa-Free for Filipinos

So, there you have it — the ultimate roundup of the best Christmas cities in the Philippines that are outside of the metro! Already eyeing which destination to hit on your year-end holiday? Perhaps you’re set on spending Christmas in Manila. In that case, you’ll find an abundance of holiday attractions to explore here, too. Maligayang Pasko, biyaheros

Brand Managers!

Want to see your brand or business in this story?

Talk to us now

Subscribe our Newsletter

Get our weekly tips and travel news!

Recommended Articles