Events And Nightlife

Mindanao Is Ablaze This Christmas!

Ida Damo
Ida Damo | Dec 20, 2018
Mindanao Is Ablaze This Christmas!
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Mindanao to those who are not familiar with it, is a land of unknowns and so people almost always mistake it as a land of constant strife.  But through the years, people have opened up their hearts and minds to explore the beauty that is Mindanao. 

This Christmas, we travel from its capital city of Davao, to Dapitan in Zamboanga del Norte, to South Cotabato’s Koronadal, Tupi, and Surallah, to Tangub in Misamis Occidental, to witness colorful and bright displays for the Christmas Season. 

Let us start in Davao City and travel north to south.

Davao City Hall photo by the City Government of Davao

Davao City has introduced a 3D mapping on the façade of City Hall and all around the grounds are lit-up trees.  Fireworks are not allowed in the city but you can hear the sounds as images light up the sky.

Sta. Ana Wharf Tunnel of Light photo by Daph Nee of City Tourism Operations Office

Sta. Ana Wharf which serves as the gateway to nearby Samal Island has a tunnel of lights and well-illuminated park for Davaoeños and tourists to enjoy.

READ: The Davao City Weekend Guide 

Tagum City Holiday Tree photos by Ida Nanette T. Damo

As early as November 18, Tagum City ushered in Christmas with a 182-foot tree that is the highest in the country and used up 232,400 light bulbs.  It has 10 colorful layers topped by a 12-foot star, and has 23 smaller stars to represent its 23 barangays.

Diwanag Festival photos by Astrophil Dela Cruz- Reyes
Diwanag Festival photos by Astrophil Dela Cruz- Reyes

Montevista in Compostela Valley Province has its annual Diwanag Festival featuring differently-designed and built Christmas displays by the different barangays and government agencies and organizations.  This year, the theme is churches around the world.

Cagayan de Oro City Hall photo by Tom Udasco

Cagayan de Oro City Hall is a symphony of lights as light bulbs glow and flicker from top to bottom in different colors.

Tangub Christmas Symbols Festival photos by Tom Udasco

Tangub in Misamis Occidental holds the distinction as the Christmas symbols capital of the Philippines.  Each year, you can travel from France to Germany to Spain and other countries in just one night through displays of these countries’ symbols.  This year’s addition to the bright display is a flower garden of lights. 

Dapitan City Hall Christmas Lights Display photos by City Tourism Officer Apple Marie A. Agolong

The whole grounds of Dapitan City come to life when darkness comes with a big Santa Claus, Christmas tree, lanterns, snowmen, and different stars.  People can go in and out brightly lit arches and take lots of photos.  

READ: Choose Philippines’ Dapitan Travel Guide 

Koronadal City Hall Christmas Lights photo by Nanardz Navarro
Surallah Christmas Lights photo by Nanardz Navarro
Tupi Christmas Lights photo by Nanardz Navarro


South Cotabato has a triumvirate of towns all lit-up for Christmas starting with Koronadal, to Surallah, and on to Tupi.  All these cities halls turn into a parks of colorful lights and Christmas cheer.

Wherever you may be in Mindanao this Christmas, there is bound to be a house on the highway with a bright display or a town plaza all decked in lights to spread the love and hope for peace.

Merry Christmas from Mindanao!

Thank you, City Government of Davao (Davao City Hall and Sta. Ana Wharf photos), Astrophil Dela Cruz- Reyes (Diwanag Festival photos), Tom Udasco (Cagayan de Oro and Tangub photos), Apple Marie A. Agolong (Dapitan photos), and Nanardz Navarro (Koronadal, Surallah, and Tupi photos).


How to get there:

  • Main point of entry to Mindanao is through Davao City.  Major airlines fly daily from Manila to Cebu to Davao City.
  • Tagum is an hour away from Davao City by land; Montevista is two hours away by land from Davao City.
  • Cagayan de Oro City can be reached by plane from Manila, Cebu, and Davao.  Tangub is 4 hours away by land from Cagayan de Oro City.
  • Dapitan can be reached by plane through Dipolog from Manila and Cebu direct flights daily.
  • Koronadal, Tupi, and Surallah can be reached by plane and by land from General Santos City.  Major airlines have daily flights to GenSan from Manila and Cebu.
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