Christmas Classics: Glamming It Up for a Concert at the Peninsula, Holiday Ballets, and More

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And just like that, it's December again. It's wonderful to be out and about reveling in holiday festivities after two long Christmases at home. And while there are so many ways to eat, drink, and, well, you know, be merry, it's so much fun to indulge in classic Christmas spirit. Here are some ideas to celebrate. 

It's really the happiest time of the year.

Christmas Angels

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The Peninsula Manila is back with its "Christmas Concert at The Pen" concert, always a spectacular event in the grand dame's much-storied lobby. This year, National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab takes the baton in the show directed by Floy Quintos, with the Manila Symphony Orchestra, which performed at the hotel's very first Christmas concert back in 1983. The year's featured group is the French children's choir – Les Petits Chanteurs a la Croix de Bois—whose performance will be one of the highlights of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of Filipino-French diplomatic relations. The show also stars soprano Jade Rubis Riccio and Poppert Bernadas, and will be hosted by Menchu Lauchengco Yulo. Sunday, December 4 at 5 p.m. at the Lobby of the Peninsula Manila. For inquiries or reservations, please call +63 (2) 887-2888, extensions 6691 or 6694 or email [email protected].  

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Paskong Pilipino

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The first all-Filipino Christmas ballet, Puso ng Pasko, takes centerstage at the CCP Main Theater from December 2 to 4. Alice Reyes Dance Philippines' Artistic Director Ronelson Yadao conceptualized the production, with musical arrangements by National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab. Joining Yadao on the choreographing team are Erl Sorilla, John Ababon, AL Abraham, Dan Dayo, Bonnie Guerrero, and Lester Reguindin.

The show's narrator is an immigrant grandfather, recalling his Christmases past in the Philippines, with scenes of Simbang Gabi in a plaza decorated with parols, and massgoers enjoying bibingka and puto bumbong. It also recalls different Christmas traditions in different regions around the country. December 2 at 8 p.m. December 3 and 4 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. 

Come early and beat the traffic. Puto bumbong, bibingka, salabat, and many more will be available from 6 p.m. on all days at the CCP Main Lobby. Tickets available through Alice Reyes Dance Philippines at 09154122152; Ticketworld; or at the CCP Box Office.

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Sugar Plum Dreams

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Every little girl dreams of being one of the sugar plum fairies in the Nutcracker. Ballet Philippines goes onstage at the Cultural Center of the Philippines performing to live music from the Manila Symphony Orchestra playing the classic compositions of Peter Tchaikovsky.

Ballet Philippines' Artistic Director Mikhail Martynyuk choreographed this version of the full-length ballet. "Nutcracker has been synonymous with Christmas all around the world since it was first staged in December 1892," says Martynyuk. "The uniqueness of our performance is its high level of musicality. Every scene is built precisely to the rhythm of the composer's work." December 17 and 18 at the CCP Main Theater. Tickets available through ballet.ph or at Ticketworld.

Glass Slipper

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Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Ballet Manila is back at its home, the newly renovated Aliw Theater. Founder Lisa Macuja Elizalde's Cinderella opens on Christmas Day to delight all ages, and to give us hope as we root for the underdog and the triumph of good over evil. Someday we wish for such a happily ever after.

"Cinderella was the first ballet of my Princess Trilogy series. It's such a breath of fresh air. Full of magic and love!" she says. "Ballet is for all ages, really. From 1 year old to 101!" It's the first edition of what Macuja plans to be an annual Holiday Cheer tradition. It runs for six days, December, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30. All shows at 4 p.m. Tickets available at Ticketworld. balletmanila.com.ph

You Can Do It

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Sleek and chic or curly and flirty? Whichever way you want to wear your hair for the evening, you can do it all at home with the Dyson Air Wrap. No need to bug your hairdresser to squeeze you in because you forgot to make an appointment, or be forced to make small talk with your seatmate at the salon. You can do it all own your own.

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It's amazing really, the way Dyson creates machines that once you try out, you can't live without. We thought the Supersonic was all we needed, till we saw this. Like magic, the Air Wrap dries and styles without the need for extreme heat. It attracts and self-curls hair in loose waves or big curls, and even helps hide flyaway strands. This holiday season it comes in a Vinca blue and sparkly Rosé. Splurge on yourself. You deserve it. dyson.ph

Skin Star

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Make sure your face is all primed and rosy for that night on the town. Clé de Peau Beauté has a new jewel box of a boutique at Greenbelt 5 where you can spend an afternoon getting a pampering facial and other beauty treatments. Or you can luxuriate in your own beauty routine at home, with the star La Crème,  Clé de Peau Beauté's ultimate anti-aging night cream working as you sleep, helping your skin repair, renew, and protect itself overnight to maintain your youthful looks. cledepeau-beaute.com/ph/store

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Beauty in a Big Box

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The Beauty Edit vault by our former Summit colleague Nicole Limos has everything else you could possibly need to glam up for the holidays. The specially curated beauty box is in its ninth iteration, and this is one of the biggest, filled with the editor's favorite products from the past year that make up its honor roll. Partners include Benefit, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Shiseido, Clé de Peau Beauté, NARS, Laura Mercier,  MCM Parfums, Carolina Herrera, Paco Rabanne,  Make Up For Ever, Issey Miyake, Happy Skin, Pili Ani, Aveda, Cetaphil, Sunnies Face, and Sekaya, among others. Order via thebeautyedit.ph

Nutty and Creamy

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The scent of chestnuts is a holiday favorite in our home, and L'Occitane has captured that comforting fragrance in a limited edition Green Chestnut-scented hand cream with shea butter. Inspired by a crisp walk in the forest, the woodsy cream with a scent of chestnut and magnolias has notes of vanilla, cedarwood and fir balsam as well. Available at Rustan's.

Snowdrops in a Bottle

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Before you head out, remember to spritz all over with Jo Malone London's reintroduced seasonal scent White Moss and Snowdrop, with the clean fragrance of snowdrop petals on freshly fallen snow mingling with the earthy scent of forest moss. Wear it simply on its own or make it more complex layered with the classic Wood Sage and Sea Salt fragrance. jomalone.com.ph

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Yvette Fernandez
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Yvette Fernandez is the Chief Storyteller of the Gokongwei Group. Previously, she was the editorial director of Esquire Philippines.
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