Metro Manila · Local Life during Holidays
The annual holidays in the Philippines are a mix of various political, historical and religious celebrations and there are quite a number of them in the calendar. Here is all you should know about what you can and can not do on such holidays, and how local life is in the Megacity when the offices are closed.
Malls & Shopping
In general, all malls are open during the holidays, with two execeptions: First off, during holidays such as Christmas, malls have shorter opening hours than usual. Make sure that you check ahead of time the changed opening hours for those dates on the website or entrance of the respective mall. In addition, Easter/ the Holy Week is regarded as the highest holiday in the country, therefore all malls are closed during Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
Churches & Religion
Most people tend to use the religious holidays to flock the churches of their belief. This can be the local church around the corner, in their gated community or barangay, the home province or even a more far off place which has a special meaning to the person or to the religion in general.
Provinces & Family
Almost all people who live in the Megacity have families in the so-called 'provinces'. In the Philippines, "province" means in general all other areas outside the Megacity Manila. If they can afford it, families use the holidays as opportunity to meet with their relatives and organize gatherings and outings. In the provinces as well as in the Megacity, barangays often have fiestas, celebrations with a lot of music and food held on the streets of the village or community.
Additional Day Off & Vacation
When holidays fall on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday can be declared a special holiday as well. Also, if the holiday is a Thursday, the Friday might also be declared as a day off. The President has the power to grant an additional day off and makes use of this power quite often. Make sure you check the latest news to see if you can extend your vacation.
Elections & Politics
There are no liqueurs being sold and should not be consumed on the day of the election and the day before the election. If you keep this in mind and try to avoid election and politics-related crowds during the elections, you should be fine. Elections in general are a tense time but with all the campaign vehicles moving past your office window also very interesting to experience.
Traffic & Transportation
The MRT, LRT and PNR trains also have changed operating hours on holidays such as Christmas (shortened) and the Holy Week (closed). Make sure you check the revised schedules ahead of your planned journey. While you should pick odd times to leave the city on a long weekend spiked with holidays to avoid traffic, you should even be more careful when choosing the time of your return. Normally, the last day off on a long weekend is the worst time for travelling back into the Megacity. If you go by plane, you are fine - just calculate a bit more time for the trip to the airport and back.