10 Places For Your Best-Ever Barkada Christmas Reunion

The Holiday season is here, and that means endless celebrations for weeks on end! Filipinos just love to celebrate Christmas, and we have parties and dinners with every group possible — family, office mates, high school friends, college blockmates — the list goes on! Not sure where to celebrate the holiday with your friend group this year? This list has different spots for different experiences, so check it out for your annual reunion! 

Blackbeard's Seafood Island

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Image: Blackbeard's Seafood Island

Go full-on Filipino style for your Christmas party this year and have a boodle fight at Blackbeard's Seafood Island! Here, you can get tons of different Filipino dishes depending on what kind of boodle fight you order. Blackbeard's Seafood Island offers several sets with different ulam, rice, sauce, and more, so you'll definitely find one that suits your barkada's taste well! Craving seafood? The Island Sinugba Festival or Tali Beach boodle will satisfy that. If you're more of a meat-eater, try the Meaty Madness boodle. Most sets are good for 5-7 people, and payment is per head. If your group is really big (and really hungry), their Luzviminda Boodle serves 15-20 people! 
 

Jin Joo Korean Grill

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Image: Jin Joo Korean Grill

It's time to finally make that "Tara, samgyup?" invite happen! A Korean BBQ barkada dinner at Jin Joo would be a great way to bond and catch up after weeks of not seeing each other. At their Podium and Eastwood branches, you can get unlimited KBBQ (P499+ lunch/P549+ dinner) that comes with ten (yes, TEN) different types of meat and marinade! On top of that, you get unlimited servings of their banchan and cheese dip, too. They've got great ala carte dishes like the coffee gochujang-glazed JinJoo Wings (P390) and Japchae (P380) if you and your crew still need more to fill you up! 
 

Dohtonbori

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Image: Dohtonbori Philippines

If you're into the idea of your food being cooked in front of you, but you've had enough Korean BBQ to last a lifetime, check out Dohtonbori for a different experience. Okonomiyaki is a popular Japanese dish, sometimes called a "Japanese pancake," usually made with flour, cabbage, bonito flakes, sometimes meat or seafood, and topped with a sweet-savory sauce and Japanese mayo. At Dohtonbori, you can get okonomiyaki with tons of different toppings and flavors, plus cook it right at your table! But don't worry, newbies, Dohtonbori's staff will happily assist you in cooking the dish. Bring the barkada so you can all try different variants — try the best-selling Deluxe (410) with beef, chicken, pork, and seafood, go cheesy with the Four Cheese (P290), a modern mix of texture and flavor from the Hiroshima Yaki (P410), and so many more. 
 

Derive Cafe

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Image: Derive Cafe

Competitive friends, it's your time to shine! You'll have a blast at Derive Cafe, an '80s-inspired arcade cafe and restaurant in Alabang. The place gives a sense of nostalgia with the neon decorations, colorful pop culture art, and old-school arcade games that will transport you decades back. Head over to the game room and challenge the barkada to Pac-Man, Street Fighter, Donkey Kong, and so many more! When you're ready to eat, Derive Cafe serves classic American diner dishes like burgers and milkshakes and their take on Filipino favorites like Adobo Ribs and breakfast bowls! 
 

Ludo Boardgame Bar & Cafe

Image: Ludo Boardgame Bar & Cafe

Another place to get your game on is at the popular board game cafe, Ludo! They've got an extensive selection of board games (over 800!) that suit different tastes. So whether your friends are into word games, cards, RPGs, or Jenga, you can find all of that and everything in between at Ludo. Just be sure to order a minimum of one food item or specialty drink per person to secure your games. They've got two branches in Metro Manila: one in Tomas Morato, and one in Makati, so find the spot closest to your crew and get ready for some board game fun! 
 

Sip and Gogh

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Image: Sip & Gogh Alabang

Unleash your inner artists with a painting session at Sip and Gogh! Here, you can get cozy while exploring your creativity and sipping on your favorite beverages. And don't worry if you think you're not the best painter out there, because Sip and Goh's kind staff will guide you to creating an artwork you never knew you could make! Just choose a painting that you want to recreate (or go freestyle and make your own), enjoy some wine and cheese, and paint to your heart's content! Sip and Gogh has 8 branches around the metro you can check out; make sure you and your friends book a couple of days in advance (P900-1,000/person), as slots are limited. Big groups can also avail of a party package if you want the place all to yourself! 
 

Vikings Luxury Buffet

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Image: Vikings Luxury Buffet, SM Megamall

For the barkada with big appetites, a buffet Christmas reunion would be perfect for you. At Vikings, feast to your heart's content with dishes from different cuisines prepared by world-class chefs. Pasta? Sushi? Paella? They've got all your cravings covered, so take your time to go around and help yourself to a little bit of everything! People love the carving station at Vikings that offers a selection of roast meats like lamb, slow-roasted angus beef, lechon, and more, plus some great sauces and sides to go with it. The sweet-toothed friends will also love the dessert table, where aside from cakes, chocolates, and other small sweets, they have fondue fountains, too! 
 

Yellow Bird Cafe x Kitchen

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Image: Yellow Bird Cafe x Kitchen

Head up to Yellow Bird Cafe x Kitchen in Antipolo for a good meal accompanied by an amazing view of Metro Manila. It's a great spot to get some fresh air this holiday season and spend some quality time with your friends. If you're up for brunch or an after-dinner treat, customers love Yellow Bird's specialty coffee; they have a ton of espresso-based drinks on the menu like flavored lattes and iced coffees. For a fancier dinner, they have entrées like Wagyu Flat Iron Steak (P575) and Seared Salmon (P575) that come with a glass of wine. You can get classic casual dishes too, like sandwiches, pasta, and rice bowls. 
 

Refinery

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Image: Refinery

Looking for a sulit deal to make the most of your holiday dinner? Refinery offers some great promos on their drinks that happen all month long! Come for dinner to avail of unlimited wine (P550), sangria (P690), or moscato (P690) that will surely keep you and your friends smiling. Pair your drinks with Refinery's excellent dishes – best-sellers include Truffle Cream Pasta (P380) with portobello mushrooms and crispy jamon serrano, and Bacon French Toast (P385) from the all-day breakfast menu, made with smoked bacon and cheese with a side of vanilla cream.
 

The Social on Ebro

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Image: The Social on Ebro

Some friend groups are more eager for what happens after dinner, in other words, getting the party started! For those that want to get to the bar-hopping right away, grab some dinner at The Social on Ebro in Poblacion. The space resembles a food park, but smaller and with fewer vendors – but don't fret about having limited choices, because the food vendors there are of top quality. The pizza spot Crosta serves up what some say is "the best pizza in Poblacion" (plus they have vegan options, too), and then there's Kashmir, serving your favorite Indian dishes. They've also got a bar, an ice cream shop, and occasional pop-ups for other food stalls. Head over here with the barkada to fill up before going out to celebrate the rest of your evening!  

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