A Unique Christmas Caravan by the Bay

The Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) is known for assembling car owners and taking them to exciting and scenic road trips across the archipelago from Batanes to Palawan.

But on the cool afternoon of December 17, the AAP put together a caravan along Roxas Blvd. for another kind of road tour—the culmination of the first-ever Christmas By Manila Bay.

The three-day festivity, which ran from December. 15-17 at the historic Fort Santiago in Intramuros, showcased the Filipinos’ unique and warm celebration of the Advent Season.

Along with famous marching bands from various government agencies, Armed Forces of the Philippines services, and parish churches, AAP led the grand Christmas Parade by the Bay en route to the Quirino Grandstand.

Leading the motorcade was a column of spanking vintage and classic cars from Vintage Cars Philippines, which served as eye candy as they rolled along the busy thoroughfare known for its kaleidoscopic sunset.

While the artsy cars were certified head-turners, the undisputed darling of the crowd was motor sport celebrity Marlon Stockinger and a Porsche sports car astride the AAP float.

According to AAP president Gus Lagman,, Christmas By Manila Bay showcased the Filipino’s trademark resiliency and indomitable spirit despite the adversities they face daily.

“There’s nothing like the Yuletide season to showcase this abundance of natural riches and share our renowned Filipino values of heartfelt hospitality, genuine friendliness and extraordinary generosity,” he said. “As the National Auto Club, we champion the interest of the motoring public and advocate road safety while promoting the diverse culture and rich beauty of our country through the numerous caravan tours we organize yearly.”

With the famed Manila Bay sunset in the background, the parade featured corporate and government-sponsored floats, the electric dancers of Bacolod’s Masskara Festival, the bright lights of Pampanga’s giant parol, the turn-of-the-century tranvia of Nayong Pilipino, dragon dancers from the Filipino-Chinese community, and the iconic higantes of Angono, Rizal.

A joint undertaking with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST), the Christmas caravan was inspired by the famed Tournament of Roses of Pasadena, California which draws thousands of visitors.

The vehicles and floats in the Christmas caravan were powered by Petron, the event’s official fuel partner.

The festivities drew to a close with the symbolic turnover of Christmas gifts to the Department of Social Welfare and Development by the DOT and the AAP for the distressed children of Marawi City, victims of supertyphoon Yolanda, orphans at Hospicio de San Jose, and children of soldiers who died in Marawi.

Child sensation Esang de Torres of “The Voice Kids” and star of the musical “Matilda” rendered the heart-warming song “Awit sa Marawi” penned and produced by Venee Saturno during the turnover.

Christmas By Manila Bay 2017 was supported by Philippine Airlines, Philippine Exporters Confederation, North Luzon Expressway, and Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway, with media partners Business Mirror, The Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin, ANC, Manila Broadcasting Company, and RJ 100.3 FM.

The National Parks Development Committee, Nayong Pilipino Foundation, Intramuros Administration, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, city governments of Manila and Pasay, Department of Health, Philippine Air Force, and the Philippine National Police were the cooperating agencies.

With the public’s warm reception, AAP and the DOT plan a bigger Christmas caravan for a cause this year down Manila’s sunset boulevard.

by Bernard Supetran

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Men and women wearing traditional Igorot clothing represented one of the popular ethnic groups from the Cordillera.


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During brief stops in the parade, Nayong Pilipino dancers disembarked from a tranvia and performed short routines for spectators along Roxas Boulevard.


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The parade float of Pulilan, Bulacan featured a “living” nativity scene pulled by a carabao made out of bamboo. Pulilan is known for its Carabao Festival honoring their patron saint, San Isidoro, the Laborer.


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The crowd at Quirino Grandstand viewed one of the largest and most elaborately detailed parade floats rolled in by the Department of Tourism Region VI. The float represented Western Visayas and was decorated with huge “maskaras,” a replica of the UNESCO Heritage Site Miagao Church and various colorful sea creatures.


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Maskara Festival dancers in vibrant costumes and intricate masks energized the crowd with their performance.


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Colorful Sinulog Festival dancers entertaining the crowd.


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AAP Travel and Tourism Chair Mina Gabor, Filipino car racer Marlon Stockinger and AAP Motor Sport operations manager Mark Desales enjoying the show after the parade.


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The Voice Kids Philippines Season 2 finalist Esang de Tores, who sang “Awit sa Marawi,” turned over the Christmas by Manila Bay cash donations to Department of Social Welfare and Development Undersecretary Mae Fe Ancheta.


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Ancheta also received a gift symbolizing the presents and other material contributions collected during the 3-day event.