Among the many countries that celebrate Christmas, the Philippines has the longest Christmas season, which begins during the so-called ber months. Every year, Filipinos mark September 1 as the start of the Christmas countdown. This countdown is one of the most meaningful traditions that contribute to the world’s earliest and longest Christmas season. It’s also why the Philippines is known for having the most joyous Christmas celebrations. If you’re planning for the best Christmas destination with your family, friends, or loved ones, Visayas has many wonderful places that celebrate and showcases Christmas traditions.
Here’s are some of the best Christmas destinations in Visayas, each of which shows a unique Christmas celebration and is proud of its rich culture, events, displays, attractions, and all of which can make your holidays more enjoyable and unforgettable:
1. Snow World in Cebu
Why travel to the United States or Austria to enjoy a snow-filled Christmas vacation when the Queen City of South offers the first-ever world-class ice theme park where you will revel in the joys of snow and the cold, relaxing embrace of winter? There, you can play in the snow, admire intricate ice sculptures, and make friends with the snowmen who are strolling around. This is an absolute must for families and friends looking for some quality time in Cebu, and it will make any vacation there more enjoyable. Snow World Cebu allowed you to enter these snow villages and not just admire the miniatures. There will be real snow at 10 degrees below zero, and there is even a bonus feature. The snow machines and snowfall will allow you to experience real snowfall. Folks can have fun in the snow, maybe even build a snowman, and if the cold gets to you, you can warm up with a hot cup of coffee at the coffee shop right inside the snow village. Inside Snow World, you will not only see but also experience a real man-made ice slide. During these hot summer days, there is no other place like Snow world.
2. Christmas Festival in Palo Leyte
One of the best Christmas destinations in Visayas to look forward to is by reminding us of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The city government in this city has pledged to beautify its version of Calvary Hill not only during the Lenten season but all year long, to make the site one of the top tourist attractions in the regional capital. Calvary Hills in Tacloban is more than just a place to pray at the stations of the cross. During Lent, Filipinos observe many traditions. Some will visit nine churches in the hopes that their wishes will be granted. Others continue to fast, abstaining from meat, alcohol, and other vices. While few others would do the stations of the cross – that is, meditate on the 12 events preceding God’s crucifixion. There are statues of Christ in the 14 stations of the cross, which represent the events from his condemnation by Pilate to his crucifixion and burial. A massive statue of Christ faces Tacloban from the top of Calvary Hill. So, if you want to photograph a view of the city, keep Calvary Hill in mind.
3. Dr. Absin’s Christmas House in Dumaguete City
The Christmas House in Dumaguete is one of the most picturesque Christmas destinations in the Visayas specifically located in Negros Oriental. It is also one of the most historic and popular holiday destinations. The present owner of the museum home is Dr. Rico Absin, an anesthesiologist. Every year during the Christmas season, he would deck up his home and yard with the most lavish ornaments, lights, decorations, and so on. People would come from all across the province to see the spectacle. Each year has a somewhat different theme, but it is always better than the previous year. Every year, everyone enjoys the cheerful Christmas spirit that the house brings. The address of Dr. Absin’s Christmas House is 143 Hibbard Avenue in Dumaguete City. There will be a nominal admission fee paid. The funds will be used to keep the house in good condition for future generations to enjoy. The true spirit of Christmas is one of giving rather than receiving.
4. Pink Beach in Samar
As the name implies, the sand on this beach is not grey or white, but rather pink. Pink Beach in Samar is one of the most wonderful experiences to remember when searching for a perfect Christmas destination in the Visayas. With such a one-of-a-kind display, you might fall in love with this beach and just stand there staring. You can also bring a jar, fill it with sand, and place it around your house and yard. Crystal-clear blue water, rock formations around the beach, and distant mountain ranges enhance the sights seen around the beach. When you do enter the clear water, you will find a diverse array of marine life.
On a cloudy day, the Pink Beach appears to be any other white sand beach, but when the sun shines brightly, the island begins to turn pink, as if it were sunbathing. To fully appreciate the island’s beauty, visit during the dry season, which runs from February to May. The waters around Pink Beach are dotted with colorful corals that are home to fish. You can see the local jellyfish swimming near the island early in the morning or before noon. Locals are also willing to rent out their boats to tourists who want to go island hopping and swimming. Because of the unexploited coral reefs, the waters surrounding the island are also ideal for snorkeling.
5. Christmas Village in Danao City
Christmas is a major deal in the Philippines, especially here in Cebu. Most communities and municipalities have their gimmick for celebrating and displaying their ideas and/or creations. And it doesn’t end there; it grows better and bigger every year. One of them is Danao City. They are famous for their huge Christmas village on their famous seafront. Nothing adds to the festive atmosphere like live music and entertainment from local artists, as well as visits from City Officials. This is the spot to go if you want to enjoy a beautiful Christmas village in Cebu. Your eyes will be treated to a feast of luminous castles, palm palms, and other monuments.
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Christmas honors familial love, warmth, happiness, and altruism. Christmas destinations in the Visayas help us to commemorate Christ’s birth and God’s indescribable gift to the world. And that celebration contributes to the traditions that keep our family united in a particular manner throughout this joyous season.
Written by: Nicole Joy S. Frias