Things to do in Manila alone

Leisure in Manila
Updated 2023-07-19 07:34

Manila is a bustling and multicultural city.  There is a plethora of activities in Manila to awaken the expat's senses and fight any impending boredom during free time. If you are exploring the city alone, then fear not, we've got you covered!

Visit the Intramuros in Manila

The walled city of Intramuros is a must-see for history buffs. It has a lot of historical sites and institutions that you can check out. This city within a city features walls that are up to 20 feet (6 meters) thick and are made of hewn stone and mortar. You can rent a Kalesa (two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage) for a thousand pesos in order to travel along the city's historic landmarks and attractions like Fort Santiago, San Agustin Church and Museum, Manila Cathedral, Casa Manila and Plaza de Roma. You can even rent traditional Filipino attires for an additional feel of the historical city's rich classic vibe.

Visit an art galleries or museums in Manila

Manila has a rich history and arts scene. Manila has been at the center of Philippine arts and culture for over 400 years, having been the country's capital since the Spanish colonial era.

The city's history and arts are an interwoven tapestry of various influences, including Spanish colonialism, American imperialism, and the country's indigenous and pre-colonial cultures that can be seen at the National Museum of the Philippines. There are plenty of choices based on your preferences to visit, including the Ayala Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Lopez Museum and the famous Yuchengco Museum, which also exhibits art, crafts, and artifacts related to Philippine culture.

Go on a food trip in Manila

Filipinos love to eat, and that is why they are known to have a wide variety of food and places where you can buy them. Like many other Southeast Asian countries, food is widely available in the streets, near public markets, school entrances, and street food stalls or “turo-turo” eateries.

Filipino food culture is heavily influenced by the country's geography, history, and culture. Filipino street food represents a diverse set of flavors, textures, and aromas that reflect the country's culinary heritage and innovation. You may choose from local delicacies such as the famous balut (egg embryo that is boiled or steamed and eaten from the shell), which is just one of the many you may find while walking around the streets of Manila.

Filipino street food is a fusion of different flavors, with many influences from Chinese, Spanish, Malay, and American cultures. These tasty and affordable treats are an important part of Filipino food culture and are a great way to sample the range of flavors found across the country. If side street foods are not your preference, you can also find many fast food restaurants and fine dining options in the city.

Attend a live musical performance in Manila

Just like eating, Filipinos also love singing; it is a big part of the Philippine culture. In the Philippines, singing is not just a form of entertainment but is also integral in various social and cultural events such as weddings, fiestas, birthdays, and other celebrations. Filipinos are known for their love of music, and songs are often used to express emotions and tell stories.

The Philippines has a long music history, from folk and traditional genres to modern pop and rock music. The country has produced many famous singers and musicians, including international stars like Lea Salonga, Arnel Pineda, and Charice. If you are an expat who is more into classical music, dance performances, operas, and theater productions of modern and contemporary art exhibits and film screenings, then The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) is the right place for you to begin with. It is located in the Cultural Center Complex along Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City, Metro Manila.

The complex covers about 62 hectares and comprises a number of indoor and outdoor venues. The Cultural Center was created to promote and preserve Philippine art and culture by providing an environment for the development and presentation of Filipino artistic expressions. Besides that, you can also visit the Theatre at Solaire, Resorts World Manila.

If you're more into alternative music, the 12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub is a must. Located in Makati City, Metro Manila, it is well-known for being a platform for local and international musicians and artists, particularly indie and alternative performers. The 12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub hosts a diverse mix of musical acts, including indie rock, folk, jazz, blues, hip-hop, and electronic music. The venue is known for supporting local independent artists and often features up-and-coming local musicians, as well as established musicians and singers. The venue also hosts events such as open mic nights, poetry readings, and stand-up comedy shows, adding to its reputation as a destination for live entertainment.

Explore Rizal Park in Manila

Also known as Luneta Park, this historical park spans over 58 hectares and is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. It features open lawns, gardens, fountains, sculptures, and historical monuments that commemorate significant events and figures in Philippine history.  Aside from the Rizal Monument, the park also features other notable attractions such as the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, the Manila Planetarium, the National Museum of Natural History, and the Quirino Grandstand.

Rizal Park is not only a place for recreation but also plays an important role in the country's cultural and political life. Many rallies, protests, and other public events are held in the park, making it a symbol of democracy and free speech.

Go shopping and catch movie in Manila

Home to several malls that offer a wide range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, Manila has the most popular malls in the Philippines, such as the Mall of Asia, which is one of the largest shopping centers in the Philippines and boasts over 600 retail stores, various dining options, a massive IMAX theater, an indoor skating rink, and an impressive indoor aquarium.

Greenbelt Malls: Located in the Makati Central Business District, Greenbelt Malls is a collection of five interconnecting malls that cater to high-end shoppers. It features luxury brands, high-end restaurants, cinemas with VIP lounges, and a stunning garden.

 Bonifacio High Street: Situated in Bonifacio Global City, this outdoor mall offers a vibrant shopping and dining experience with a mix of local and international brands, open parks, alfresco dining spots, and many more as you go along the way.

Overall, Manila's malls are a reflection of the city's diversity, ranging from high-end luxury shopping destinations to more affordable shopping options, catering to every shopper's needs.

Visit the Manila Ocean Park

Manila Ocean Park is a popular Oceanarium and marine theme park located in Manila. It offers not only attraction but also an educational thrust and features a Back of House Tour, where visitors can see how the animals are cared for and fed. It also has a Marine Camp for kids, where they can learn about marine ecology and conservation. The park holds several daily shows, such as the Sea Lion Show, the Penguin Talk Show, and the Dancing Jellyfish, which showcase the park's marine animals in entertaining performances. The park also has various event facilities for corporate events, weddings, and other gatherings.

It also holds annual events such as the Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy, Animal Encounter, and Ocean Park Adventure programs, where visitors can swim with the park's marine animals. It has quite a flexible amount of entrance fees depending on the season and pax, ranging from ₱680 up to ₱2,720. Manila Ocean Park is an excellent place to learn about marine life and ecological conservation. It offers a fun and educational experience for both children and adults alike and is a must-visit attraction in Manila.

Relax and unwind at a spa in Manila

Manila offers a great variety of spas, each with its unique atmosphere and amenities, providing an opportunity for expats to relax and unwind. From luxurious five-star spa resorts to more affordable and traditional massage spas, visitors can find a spa that suits their preferences and budget. Many of these spas offer treatments and wellness programs to rejuvenate the body and mind. Whether you're looking for a relaxing massage, a facial treatment, or a complete wellness program, Manila's spas have something for everyone. Visiting a spa in Manila is an excellent way to recharge and escape the bustling city life, making it a must-visit destination for every wellness enthusiast.

Standard spas can be found inside malls like The Spa Wellness, which has several branches throughout Manila and offers a variety of treatments such as reflexology and Swedish massage. It has a relaxation lounge, steam room, and saunas for total relaxation.

Hotels offer much more salubrious services, like the famous Peninsula Spa, located inside the Peninsula Manila Hotel. This spa offers a luxurious and relaxing experience. It features treatment rooms, saunas, steam rooms, and a tea lounge, providing a rejuvenating ambiance.

In conclusion, Manila offers a variety of activities that you can do alone, from exploring the city's rich history and culture to indulging in delicious cuisine and going on a shopping spree. With many parks, museums, and other attractions, it's easy to find something that suits your interests and budget.

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