Some places come to life at certain days of the year. This happens during fiesta celebrations, including the Sinulog, and, of course, Christmas. One of these Christmas destinations, although not in the scale as the other Christmas destinations previously discussed in this site, is Policarpio Street.
The Christmas decorations at Policarpio Street (Mandaluyong City, not San Juan) have been continuing for a number of years. Many TV news reports and newspaper articles have been featuring this seemingly cool place.
It picked my curiosity and I thought my son would surely love the view. So we headed to look for Policarpio Street; not an easy task considering that I have absolutely no idea where it’s located. It’s fortunate that a friend knew the place and so I didn’t have problems with the directions.
How to go there? It looks like a difficult place to find, which is why I haven’t visited the place earlier. It’s easy to get lost in the streets of Mandaluyong (or San Juan, for that matter), especially for us who are not too familiar with the place.
Here goes. Going south EDSA, turn right at Shaw Boulevard (Star Mall at the intersection), then go straight until you hit Acacia Street (there’s a traffic light and a gas station in that intersection). Turn left along acacia, then after around 200 meters, turn right along F. Ortigas Street. You’ll see a marker pointing to the Mandaluyong-Makati Bridge. Take that way, which is along Cruz Street. You’ll see Policarpio Street to your right, with a marker (see photo to the right).
Since I don’t know the place and I heard many people go there, I decided to play it say and went out early. We arrived at the place while the sun was still out and we’re told that the lights won’t be turned on until 7:30 p.m. With around 2 hours of free time, we ended exploring the surrounding places just to see where the road leads.
I discovered that Policarpio Street is just a few meters from Boni Avenue, which, in turn, leads to the Mandaluyong City Hall. The Mandaluyong City Hall is in the middle of a rotonda, pretty much like an island. If you go around the island, you’ll see the towering Makati City Hall to your right. Take that avenue and you’ll find the Mandaluyong-Makati Bridge, which, as the name suggests, is a bridge that connects the two cities. The intersection immediately after the bridge is JP Rizal Avenue and if you turn left and follow the curve to the right, you’ll find Rockwell.
At the heart of Rockwell is the Power Plant Mall, one of the high-end malls in the Philippines (perhaps you could guess why it’s not as crowded like, say, Megamall). We chose to visit Power Plant because it has been some time since I was here and, besides, we were hungry. I have to add that the flying Christmas trees at Power Plant look great (these floating trees bring back memories of hovering destroyers in Star Wars).
When we got back at Policarpio, many people were already milling around, gawking at the beautiful view. The transformation was hard to believe, as we first saw the place when the sun was still up — the view was just like any regular street, until darkness fell and the lights came alive. Here are samples of the sights and lights.
I must say that I got a bit disappointed because there were no food stands that sold, at the very least, the usual bibingka, puto bumbong and puto sulot. So I dropped by my favorite brand, Ferino’s Bibingka, on my way home.
I was thinking around an hour of stay is perfect, specially if we consider the travel required to reach this place, but discovered that a 10-minute walk is enough to see the entire place. It’s probably my fault, setting a high expectation of the place as a result of the write-ups. But it shouldn’t be the case. It’s a place where the homeowners deemed it best to let others enjoy the view every Christmas. It should be enjoyed.