I haven’t really been feeling the Christmas spirit lately. Maybe it’s the over-commercialization of the whole season, the crowded malls and the horrifying traffic all over the metro. The threat of typhoon Hagupit slowly crawling its way across the country is enough to put a damper on everyone’s collective mood.
But there’s nothing like a good motorcycle ride somewhere new to lift the spirits. Taking advantage of the good weather before the storm hits, I took a solo ride to Antipolo yesterday and found myself visiting a few inspiring spots, including a cozy cafe hidden in a family estate and Casa Santa, a Christmas-themed museum.
Casa Santa is a small house found on the grounds of events venue Jardin de Miramar. The place contains a vast collection of Santa Claus memorabilia, ranging from life-sized, singing Santas to Santa themed plates and mugs, candles, plush toys, dolls, and figurines.
What started out as a small private collection of Jardin De Miramar’s owner grew over two decades until it needed a house where all the Santas could fit. The Casa was converted from a family rest house into a museum of sorts in 1995 and was opened to the public about 10 years ago. At present, Casa Santa contains 3,815 Santa figures according to the caretaker on duty. It’s reputedly one of the most extensive private collections of Santa Claus items in the world.
The house itself resembles a log cabin, complete with brick fireplace, cozy living area, and dazzling lights. Look around and you’ll see lots of quirky Christmas items from Santa blankets to a collection of dog figurines dressed up in Santa hats.
I really liked the collection of geeky Star Wars Holiday figurines including Yoda, Darth Vader, C3P0, R2D2 and a Jawa (guest starring The Incredible Hulk).
And is that Sora from Kingdom Hearts next to Santa Spawn of McFarlane’s Twisted Christmas monster series? Nice!
On the ground floor, there’s a room that displays a bedrom with Santa themed baby clothes and a wall art of Santa drawings as a backdrop of a shelf of Lego figures. A smaller room here looks set up for kids to play in, with a padded floor mat and lots of Christmas themed stuffed toys.
On the second floor loft, there’s a chess set made up of Santa and even more Holiday figurines.
One the nicest rooms is a small alcove near the startway that contains a mini-Christmas village of houses in a snowy setting. With all the glittering lights from the tiny houses, the trains moving, and soft music, the place looks really magical. While I was taking photos here, a couple of kids from another group came running in, amazed at the room. I remember visiting Christmas dioramas like these way back when the moving Belen Exhibit still used to be located in C.O.D. in Cubao. I would love to go back and take my nephews and nieces here sometime.
Casa Santa is actually open all year around. They’re open for private events like parties and photo shoots. If you want bring some Holiday Cheer to your family, plan a road trip here sometime. It’s not that far from the metro and is easy enough to find following the road signs in Antipolo.
Casa Santa is located in Jardin de Miramar, 276 San Jose Ext., San Isidro Antipolo City
HOW TO GET THERE:
From Marcos Highway
From Marcos Highway, turn right to Sumulong Highway and follow the road until you reach the intersection with the San Lorenzo Sumulong Circumferential Road. Turn left on the Circumferential Road and take another left when you reach San Jose Extension. You will see Jardin de Miramar’s gate on your right. There are several signs along the highway pointing the way.
From Ortigas Extension
Drive to the end of Ortigas Extension, until you reach the Rizal Provincial Capitol. When you reach the fork at the provincial capitol, turn left. When you reach a triangle, turn left to Pinagsamahan Road. When you reach a minor intersection, take a right to Taktak Road, then cross the Sumulong Highway to take the San Lorenzo Sumulong Circunmferencial Road until you reach San Jose Extension, where you take a left. You will see Jardin de Miramar’s gate on your right.
TRAVEL TIPS & USEFUL INFORMATION:
- Casa Santa is open from Monday to Sunday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Reservations are requested prior to your visit.
- During the holiday season, Casa Santa has scheduled dates for open house tours that run only from 2:00 – 4:00 pm.
- Entrance Fee is P180/head. Only children below 3 years are free of charge.
- Secure parking is available for all types of vehicles.
- This is a good destination for motorcycle or bicycle rides in Antipolo since you can avoid the traffic and choke points.
- For inquiries or reservations, call: 576-5348, 584-3199, 6974077 or Mobile: 0917-8912208. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org