Premiering last November 9 at the Ayala Triangle Gardens, the festival will run every 30 minutes from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. until January 4, 2016.
Also known as "The Lights and Sound Show," the festival will showcase 1.6 million LED lights flashing in-sync with music.
This time around, the music comprises three different medleys. The first will be a combination of jazz and big band music, the second will take inspiration from African rhythms, and the third will be livened up by techno music. All of this is in accordance with the festival's 2015 theme "Beats and Hues."
The show's directors are Voltaire de Jesus and Luther Gumia. De Jesus has won several awards for his work. Meanwhile, credits for the musical score belong to Jazz Nicholas and Mikey Amistoso of Watusi Manila.
Admission to the light show is free.
"Festival of Lights" Trivia
The Festival of Lights has been part of Makati's Yuletide tradition since November 2010.
The festival consistently draws a large crowd every year, with numbers reaching as high as 10,000 people per night in 2014.
The festival has also been featured on Conde Nast Traveler's list "Where to See Spectacular Christmas Lights Around the World" — alongside the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark; the Champs-Elysées in Paris, France; the Somerset House in London, UK; the Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO; the Kobe Luminarie in Kobe, Japan; and the Christmas Market in Jena, Germany.
The team behind the Light Show introduces something new to the festival every year. Last 2014, for instance, the festival took inspiration from the Rio De Janeiro Carnivale, replicating the vibrancy of that event with laser lights, meteor lights, custom-made LED lights, flash pods and moving heads.
The festival always runs from sometime in November up to the first week of January, in line with the peak of the Philippine Christmas season — the longest in the world — and the Epiphany or Three Kings' Day.
Aside from the Lights Show, there are other events visitors can look forward to.
For example, Roman Catholics can attend the 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Mass at the Ayala Triangle Gardens Fountain Area from December 15 to 23. This is roughly in line with the "Simbang Gabi" (Filipino: "Night Mass"), which is a 9-day celebration prior to the birth of Christ.
Traditionally, the Simbang Gabi is held from December 16 to 24 in a church every 4 A.M. It's said that whoever can attend all nine masses — which culminate in the "Misa de Gallo" (Spanish: "Rooster's Mass") on the 24th — will receive lots of blessings. For this reason, many Filipinos try to wake up early during this period, so that their Christmas will be memorable in more ways than one.
Lastly, students will showcase their singing capabilities at the Makati Inter-High School Christmas Caroling Competition. This one will be held on December 17 at the Ayala Triangle Gardens.
Tips for Visitors
To make the most of this once-a-year event, you can keep these handy tips in mind:
- Get to the venue as early as possible. The sooner you get there, the more likely you can save the best seats for you and your companions.
- Luckily, the Ayala Triangle Gardens have a parking lot for your convenience. Ask the security guards nearby for more information.
- Alternatively, you can take a bus or jeepney that passes along Ayala Avenue, and get off at the Paseo de Roxas "Unloading" area. From there, you can use the underground walkway to get to the Ayala Triangle.
- Make sure you're refreshed before the show. Visit one of Ayala Triangle's restaurants for some great meals and drinks, and use one of the nearby comfort rooms to, well, feel comfortable before and during the show.
- Since the event will be held at night in an open area, precautions must be taken. Bring a companion with you, if possible, so you'll feel secure, and share your enjoyment of the show with another person at the same time.
- If you must go alone, make sure to keep an eye on your valuables. Take note of where the security guards are, so you'll know where to run in case you need to cry for help.
- Bring a good camera! You'll need it not only for the Festival of Lights itself, but also for the other light attractions along Ayala Avenue.
- To commute away from the Ayala Triangle Gardens, simply wait at the "Loading" area in front of the venue. From there, buses and/or jeepneys will pick you up and take you to your specified destination.
For any Makati visitor, the Festival of Lights is a must-see. Don't miss this event, as well as the other attractions the city has to offer!
Photo Credit: By Manilaspirit (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons