Christmas may spell horrendous traffic and long lines at the mall that I really don't fancy driving around town but there's no denying that I love all the lights and the decor that go with the season. Last week, however, My Bibe and I drove outside the comforts of Makati City and ventured into rather unfamiliar territory (at least as far as driving goes) into the Ortigas district to check out Meralco's Liwanag Park. (For the benefit of my readers outside the Philippines, liwanag literally translates to light.)
I just love Christmas lights!
We went on a Saturday night and thank heavens traffic was not a problem. And though we had a bit of a problem with the GPS, I was all smiles once we got there.
The entire facade of Meralco's main building was bathed in LED lights that blinked and flickered according to preprogrammed patterns. The company logo was also featured in a lantern installation at the center. It instantly lit up my mood and brought out the kid in me.
The park is open to the public from 6 to 10pm. Outside, there was a bit of a line leading to the entrance to the compound. We went through the parking entrance, though. I'm just not sure if non-Meralco employee visitors can park inside but we got in since we work for an affiliate. At any rate, I'm sure anyone can find a parking spot somewhere nearby.
The covered pathway at the compound entrance. How lovely it is to walk under this so many lights!
Even the covered area at the building entrance wasn't spared from all the moving lights. It's like Vegas, baby, Vegas!
My Bibe and I enjoying a "red light" moment.
Inside the building, it was just as lovely. We got in because, like I've mentioned, we work for an affiliate. That's a real tree behind me, by the way.
Meralco has a really huge compound, much like a campus, of which I'm very jealous. Scattered around the grounds are several installations that resemble everything from a church facade to houses, the Nativity scene, the Three Kings, and even a trio of Meralco employees.
Church facade installation.
Halloween's long gone, I know. But sorry, I didn't intend for this to be spooky.
I suppose hobbits lived here. Unfortunately no one let me in.
Interestingly, these installations are all fashioned out of copper wire. Yeah, I suppose Meralco being a power distributor, they have tons of these.
Copper wires! Cool!
While visitors obviously enjoyed having their pictures taken with the church and those houses, it's the human installations that impressed me the most. I loved all the contours and the detailing; I was just wowed. I asked about the artist they commissioned to do all this but a company officer told me there was no artist. The illustrations came from Marketing and were executed by their Maintenance guys. Awesome!
Gorgeous Nativity Scene! And the building is just the perfect backdrop.
I just don't know what's with these Felix Bakat guys.
Kids and kids-at-heart alike enjoyed this Maligayang Pasko (Merry Christmas) lights installation. Well, I could only manage -aligayang Pasko from where I was standing.
So this is how it feels to have a beauty dish for a photo shoot!
My Bibe looking so demure.
Isn't it such a festive atmosphere?
And oh, there was an oversized toy train that just ran around a huge Christmas tree, with a Christmas village display on one side. I reckon people can actually ride this stuff.
The circular train track. There's the village in the distance while the train is partially obscured by the tree.
Manong Guard right behind me is making sure no one steps on the train tracks.
Visitors can also enjoy a ride around the compound aboard one of these electric-powered vehicles. But there was a long line, so we didn't bother.
There was also a night market where everything from Meralco apparel (t-shirts, singlets, shorts, etc.) to toys and even electric appliances are sold. Of course, there were lots of food tents as well that sold mostly hotdogs and barbecue. But there was one that sold Filipino Simbang Gabi staples like bibingka and puto bumbong, and another that offered kwek-kwek.
Lots of stuff here at the night market.
Bibingka and puto bumbong! Feels like Simbang Gabi!
We spent a good two-plus hours there just enjoying the sights, taking pictures, and gorging on some barbecue. It's a fun experience, especially if you have kids. So I suggest you take some time to check this place before Christmas is over.
Tiring but definitely a fun night for both of us.
The Meralco Liwanag Park is open to the public from 6 to 10pm nightly. The compound is located along Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City (near Robinsons Galleria).