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Student life in Manila is relatively cheap and covers a wide range of activities that will surely pique one's interest. From affordable housing to vibrant nightlife and limitless food choices along with the Filipinos friendly demeanour, the Manila student scene is definitely an experience worth having. Through these activities, meeting other people gets easy, especially considering that universities are located close to each other and thus nurture a vibrant student community.

Student life within the University Belt

University Belt is where clusters of universities are found, such as the University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University. Accommodation rates in this area vary depending on the proximity, the comfort and location. Condominium rentals could go as high as 15,000 pesos monthly, but bed spaces are also available for as low as 2,500 pesos monthly. In terms of food, one could never run out of options. Among the best-known restaurants are Lovelite and Mang Toots, which are the go-to places if you are on a tight budget but craving some good food.

The nightlife in University Belt is quite cheap and easy to access as you may find drink stalls while walking casually along the road. Barrell bar along Mendiola street and Tapsi in Dapitan are famous for their cheap beers and their early opening hours. Students go here after a long day to meet up with friends and socialise.

Student life in Katipunan

In Katipunan where the Blue Eagles, UP Maroons as well as the Knollers reside, accommodation is comparatively more expensive as these schools attract students from a more elite background. The area is filled with medium and high rise condominiums that could rent for as high as thirty thousand pesos monthly and where the cheapest dorms could be at least 5,000 pesos monthly. Food in this area varies from small kiosks to big restaurants, and malls are now present in the area. One of the long-time favourites is Flaming Wings, which offers affordable meals in addition to their well-known wicked Oreos. Another favourite is Xocolat, which is situated along Esteban Abada and has a homey and artistic vibe. They offer chocolate-infused dishes and drinks that have long been considered a favourite. Another go-to place frequented by the Isko/Iskas from UP is Rodics, which has been in the local scene since 1949 with their well-known tapsilog and other home-cooked food. Lastly, there’s Mang Larry’s isawan, which is already considered an institution among the UP community and has been serving grilled chicken and pork intestines for longer than anyone can remember.

Nightlife in Katipunan is one for the books. You will never run out of good bars to explore and drinks to try out. Drews is known for its cheap but intensely hard mixed drinks such as Attaxx and Weng Weng. Another good option would be to hang out at Pappus and Mammus, which is popular with the younger crowd with their cheap drinks and crispy chicken skin, followed by eating Kebab at Ababu to sober up. Further up the street, in the turf of the UP Maroons, one may find Sarah’s which is well known as a chill place, situated in a house that turns into a bar in the evenings. A beer here is relatively cheap; just drink it fast since ice is not on the house! Lastly, Tomato Kick is famous for its live bands and good music. Several artists can be spotted playing here, and they also serve good food such as crispy bacon rice.

Student discounts in Manila

To make getting around Manila affordable, most students are offered a 20% discount on public transportation such as jeepneys, buses and tricycles, which are the main modes of transportation nationwide. Aside from that, discounts are also offered for some museums while others are completely free of charge. Lastly, millennials can also enjoy a 20% discount on Spotify!

Being a student in the Philippines has its pros and cons just as anywhere else in the world. You just have to embrace the culture, explore what the country has to offer, and make the most out of the experience.

 Useful links:

Manila on Sale - Student discounts
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