leisure in Manila
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Weekends are usually meant for spending quality time with family, friends, or with a partner. Even if you'd rather spend time by yourself, there are various cool activities that you can do during the day. Manila boasts plenty of places to visit that are full of history, art, and fun. You would be surprised how much you might actually enjoy these!

Things to do alone in Manila

Explore the art scene in Cubao Expo

Cubao Expo (also known as Cubao X) represents the Manila underground scene – a sanctuary of music, art and culture. You will most commonly find artists, creatives, skaters, musicians and foodies in this hub hanging out with a cheap cold beer in their hands. It’s a place for antique finds, tattoo shops, vinyl record stores, and a number of ukay-ukay (2nd hand) clothing stores. Be immersed in the real Filipino art scene and check out the shops and pubs here -- whether you are alone or with a partner and friends. It is located in Cubao inside Araneta Center, near Farmer’s Mall and the provincial bus stations.

Explore Philippine history at the National Museum

If you feel like delving into history and culture, you can visit the National Museum in Intramuros. It houses the internationally renowned piece Spoliarium by national artist Juan Luna. The artwork features the bloody gladiator matches of Roman history. It is the largest painting in the Philippines with a size of 4.22 meters x 7.675 meters. This majestic painting was an entry to Nacional de Bellas Artes (Madrid Art Exposition) in Madrid in 1884 and eventually won the first Gold Medal. It is easy to spend one full day in the National Museum as it is comprised of three buildings – the National Art Gallery featuring visual artworks, the Museum of the Filipino People which has important historical artefacts, and the Planetarium. Operating hours are 10 am to 5 pm from Tuesdays to Sundays. Entrance is free both for locals and for foreign nationals.

Things to do with a partner in Manila

Have brunch in BGC

BGC is home to luxury shopping centres, dining spots, residential condominiums and corporate offices. It is a busy and bustling concrete jungle on weekdays but serves as a quiet hanging out spot on weekends. It has hip breakfast places which are sure to satisfy your cravings for the most important meal of the day, setting the mood for a fun, relaxing and productive day ahead – over bacon, ham, toast and omelettes. Some options include Wildflour Breakfast Cafe, Single Origin, and Early Bird Breakfast Club. It would also be worth a pleasant morning stroll after breakfast, exploring the area and checking out BGC’s street art scene. You can see unique and colourful street murals from well-known local and international artists all over BGC. On week-nights or Fridays/Saturdays, there are clubs and bars which are sure to elevate your partying experience.

Watch the Manila Bay sunset

Manila Bay is one of the best places in the world to watch the sun go down, especially along Roxas Boulevard. Couples, families and friends flock along the bay to catch this spectacular sight. Mall of Asia, also dubbed as the largest mall in Asia, boasts a good view of the sunset because of its seaside location. To catch the sunset, head to the second floor of the mall, towards Seaside Boulevard around 5 pm. There are lots of al fresco restaurant options facing the bay so you can enjoy this sunset with a cold bucket of beers.

Things to do with family or friends in Manila

Sing your heart out doing karaoke

Music is considered an official Filipino passion and videoke is easily the most practical and affordable way to indulge. Filipinos love to sing! A typical night out with family or friends is to visit one of the many videoke spots in Manila and sing until the sun comes up. Karaoke is such an integral part of Filipino culture that you can see families renting out videoke machines during birthday celebrations, Christmas or any family gathering. One of the most popular venues for a videoke night is Music 21 Plaza Family KTV and Restaurant with multiple branches around the city. Another option is Red Box, which has unique karaoke rooms with hip, bright red interiors and premium equipment.

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