Top 10 Free Things to Do in Metro Manila (Nearly Free)
(Manila, Philippines) Face it: Manila isn’t exactly cheap. Everywhere you go, you’re going to have to fork out some cash. But, how much depends entirely on you. In this article, you’ll be directed to different places in Manila where the views and activities are still (mostly) free.
You might need to fork over some cash if you want to explore Intramuros on a horse-drawn carriage, but otherwise – feel free to walk around. It’s an old Spanish town and the walls could tell you stories.
Explore Rizal Park aka Luneta Park
A sea of green in an otherwise fully paved city, Luneta Park is the perfect spot to just sit back, relax, and imagine that you’re far away from the city.
Visit the Streets of Binondo
It’s Chinatown in Manila. With rows upon rows of stalls and stores to look at, it’s a smorgasbord of people, sounds, and smells. There’s also tons of food here and although they’re not free, they’re cheap.
Discover Quiapo Church
Visit one of the most popular structures in Manila, Quiapo Church is also just a few steps away from the bustling market. After a quiet prayer in the church, you’ll be greeted by some of the most colorful characters in the city.
Check out the Cultural Center of the Philippines
If you time your visit right, entrance to the CCP is absolutely for free. This is usually on Tuesdays to Sundays, between 8AM to 6PM.
Visit the National Museum
Yes, the National Museum also opens its doors for free on certain days of the week. In this case, it’s on a Sunday between 10AM to 5PM. The National Museum features some of the most defining items of Philippine History, so it’s definitely something you should not miss.
Visit the National Library of the Philippines
So, the library may not be the coolest place to hang out – but if you happen to love books, any public library in Manila will do. There are actually several of them in the city and a quick search should help you locate one nearby. Peruse as many books as you want and perhaps find literary gems in nooks and crannies.
Shop at the Mall of Asia
Malls in Manila grow like mushrooms, but if you’re going to visit one – it’s going to be the Mall of Asia. You could get lost in this sprawling mall for hours on end and with so many food stalls on display, it would be tempting not to at least eat some of the offerings.
Experience Indie Film Watching at UP Film Institute
The UP Film Institute always has shows focusing on Indie Films that should keep you entertained, inspired, and enlightened. You can catch most of these free shows by being part of their mailing list. Even if you don’t watch the shows, the university grounds is worth exploring since it’s one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.
See the Manila Bay Sunset
It might not be as quiet as you would hope, but Manila Bay offers the most exquisite sunset you can find in this bustling city. Time your visit early in the morning if you want a breathtaking sunrise and as little people as possible.
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Originally Published on June 10, 2015, this post was last updated in August 2018.