Metro Manila · Local Life during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

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The holidays in the Philippines is a time for family, reflection, and contemplation. Food, presents, and lots of laughter are equally important every holiday season, too. So what's it like between December 24 and December 26 in Megacity Manila?

Public Holiday

December 24, Christmas Eve, is usually declared a special non-working holiday, whereas December 25 is a regular holiday. The difference lies more on how much an employee will get salary-wise for working on a holiday, click here for more information.


As always during the holidays, many Manileños leave the Megacity to celebrate with their families in the provinces. Therefore, the streets in Manila are almost deserted, a gross contrast to the traffic situation caused by Christmas shoppers during the weeks before Christmas.

Malls and Cinemas

Most malls and shopping centers are still open during the holidays, though not as long as usual. Click here for the 2016 Christmas schedule of the major malls in Manila. A good reason for people to flock to the malls during Christmas is the Metro Manila Film Festival which starts on December 25 and shows the most popular Philippine blockbusters of the year in the city’s cinemas. This year however, the MMFF has a list of indie films as a response to the demand of better quality films.


The birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated in several masses, and all churches are filled with visitors. The most important masses are the Midnight Mass on December 24th/25th and the Misa de Aguinaldo on the late evening of December 25.

Christmas Eve (December 24)

On Christmas Eve – also called 'Bisperas ng Pasko' in Tagalog or 'Nochebuena' (Spanish) - the family gathers in the evening for a family feast. Apart from the typical Filipino delicacies, every banquet should have some special Pinoy Christmas food, such as Queso de Bola or Christmas ham. Some families exchange gifts already during the evening while others wait until the next morning.

Christmas Day (December 25)

During Christmas Day on December 25, it is very common for family members to visit each other. Everybody should make sure to have more than enough food at home to provide delicious meals and drinks to the ‘walk-in guests’. Children visit their Ninongs and Ninangs – their godparents – to collect presents from them.

Interested? Read More:

Guide to Philippine Christmas.

The Long Philippine Christmas Season (September to December)

What Manila Stands For