Pit stops for the holidays
We’re in a better place now than we were Christmas of 2020—more familiar with COVID-19 and better positioned to manage it.
As restrictions ease up, we’re seeing more people willing—or itching, really—to drive out of Metro Manila for big getaways. Tapping out is justified, of course, given the pent-up desire to be mobile. If you are currently planning a short visit to feel the spirit of the season or just to revel in the big and small victories of the past year, here are some easy-to-reach destinations for you.
Casa Santa Museum
If your schedule does not permit you to visit Baguio, head over to Antipolo for now. Visit Casa Santa Museum and give the kids (and kids at heart) a jolt that will keep them going for the rest of the Yuletide. The place is the “No. 1 Santa Claus-themed museum in the Philippines,” with upwards of 3,300 Santa items. It is actually open every day all year round, often launches promos and events, and even allows pets in! You will have to schedule your visit these days, though, because walk-ins are not allowed. Call or text 0917-6388133.
Palacio de Memoria
Palacio de Memoria along Roxas Boulevard in Parañaque is, quite literally, an opulent home that immerses in history those who set foot in it. Treat yourself and your loved ones to a time capsule in the form of a seven-story prewar mansion restored to its former glory so today’s Filipinos can witness history come alive.
Those who love antiquities will find themselves in an amazing destination with items and themes that tell stories of a glorious bygone era. Aside from event spaces, the attraction also hosts auction house Casa de Memoria and restaurant The Loggia. You can pay it a visit or, if you are a bit wary to go out, take a virtual tour in the meantime.Crosswinds
You may have seen photos of people by a giant red chair in Tagaytay City. That means they’ve paid a visit to the Swiss-themed community Crosswinds, a big draw in upland Cavite these days. The place, also with cafes, restaurants, open spaces and other features, is all decked for the season, waiting for visitors to come by. You don’t even have to spend a dime because a lot of spots are open for hangouts and photo-ops at no charge to visiting folk.
If you want an unforgettable, divine date with your loved one this Christmas, look no further than this cafe in Intramuros that lets its guests dine beside the impressive Manila Cathedral, literally under gargantuan bells. You also have the option of dining outdoors, something that allows you to appreciate heritage. The menu offers coffee, tea, pastries and pasta. You don’t even have to drive out of the capital, just into the walled city.
This offers a more reflective experience on the western side of Cavite, connecting to Nasugbu, Batangas, via the Kaybiang Tunnel. A few years ago, Taluktok in Ternate had no stops to offer. That changed when motorists and bikers began using the route and tourists wanted to see the infrastructural marvel. Now, it is filled with shops, restaurants and cafes that reward customers with serene views of the Manila Bay. The great thing about being there is not simply because of the meditative vibe, it’s also the option to visit sites in both Cavite and Batangas.
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