50 Things to Do in Manila: Part 5

We continue our list with cultural, culinary and leisure picks on how to spend your time in the city.


10.Use a national landmark for exercise

The main ramp at the façade of the Cultural Center of the Philippines is open to joggers on Sunday mornings, providing a scenic way to burn calories. You might end up wheezing and panting your way up and down the ramp, but at least you’ll have a nice view while doing it.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines is at the CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Manila.







9. Check into the Headshot Clinic

In this day and age of online social networking, those clumsily shot self-portraits showing the photo-snapping arm cut off from the frame just won’t do anymore. Photographer Niccolo Cosme certainly found his niche after his friends kept bugging him to shoot their mugs.

His Headshot Clinics hold mass photo sessions (each person gets five minutes) in different venues, after which all the headshots are mass-uploaded onto their site. Cosme has also done a headshot campaign of celebrities supporting anti-AIDS activism, and his One World Series has shot heads in Saigon, Pnom Penh, Hong Kong, Macau, Bangkok and Australia.

Visit www.headshotclinic.com, or text (0922)811-9293, (0917)863-5135 or email headshotclinic@gmail.com to inquire about the next clinic near you.


8. Sit at Chef Bruce Lim’s Table

For bookings at least 24 hours in advance, Chef Bruce Lim (who co-stars with Angel Aquino on Tablescapes on the Asian Food Channel) can whip up a five-course customized meal at his Chef’s Table near Kalayaan Avenue for up to 12 people. It’s like being in your own live private cooking show. Nope, no bookings for marriage proposals yet, but he has had some strange requests, like the one asking for beef tapa for all the courses, including dessert! His calamari, clam soup and ahi tuna and salmon tartar are top favorites.

Call or text (0918)887-1277.





7. Say yes to drag

Club Mwah has been around for five years yet it’s still a vital stop in a complete Manila itinerary. Its famed "Bedazzled" series is now on its eighth season. Says owner Pocholo Malilin, "’Bedazzled 8’ is the most ambitious and spectacular show ever, with musical numbers evoking the Lido de Paris, Moulin Rouge, a bit of Broadway, and the Vegas Jubilee Follies. Featuring the Follies Mwah in numbers from Miss Saigon and Chicago, the highlight of the show is an Indian dance to the tune of Madonna’s "Shanti Shanti" featuring the goddess Shiva and her 16 arms atop a white elephant." This you got to see, right?

Club Mwah is at located at 652 Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City. Call 532-2826, 535-7943 or visit wwwclubmwah.com.


6. Ride the Pasig River Phoenix

Escolta to Guadalupe in just 55 minutes during rush hour? No traffic in the water, that’s why. Zip through town on the Pasig River Ferry which runs from Intramuros, Manila to Kalawaan, Pasig. With 12 fairly new ferry stations along the Pasig river stretch, trips are 55 minutes apart, with the first one at 5:30 a.m. and the last at 9:05 p.m. Ferries are air-conditioned, double-hulled, catamarans and are clean, with big LCD TVs. See historic sights along the way, including Malacanang Palace, Pasig River Lighthouse, Jones Bridge and Post Office Building. Not bad for the P20 to P45 fare.

Just to allay your fears, due to rehabilitation efforts of the Asian Development Bank, the river is now more green than brown and not as smelly anymore--the Pasig River, like the phoenix, has risen again. (Sorry, couldn’t help ourselves.).


5. Feast on food for thought at La Solidaridad

Drop by many Manila bibliophiles’ best-kept secret-the 42-year-old bookstore tucked away on Padre Faura St. owned by National Artist Francisco Sionil Jose. From well-known Western classics to hard-to-find Asiana and Filipiniana, this bookshop around the corner boasts of a discriminating range of titles and knowledgeable salespeople you can’t find in its mammoth chain counterparts.

La Solidaridad is located at 531 Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila with telephone number 523-0870. The shop is open from 9a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday.




4. Get Starbucks, then ponder life (and death) at the American Cemetery

Get away from it all without going so far away. Grab a frap and find your way to an oasis of tranquility amidst the urban jungle, and sit under shady trees, on verdant greenery and among 17,202 dearly departed American soldiers killed here and around New Guinea during the Second World War. Spanning 152 acres on a plateau with impressive views over the lowlands to Laguna de Bay and distant mountains.

The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial is located in Fort Bonifacio (formerly Fort William McKinley). Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except December 25 and January 1




3. Sit in the park for a free concierto

Yes, the famed Concert at the Park and Paco Park Presents series of the Imelda Marcos days live on. Catch a free ballet, classical music or cultural performance at the Rizal Park Open-Air Auditorium, Saturdays at 5 p.m. and at the Paco Park Fridays at 6 p.m.

June marks the 111th anniversary of Philippine Independence and the 433rd anniversary of the founding of the City of Manila, so watch for these shows: Concert at the Park: June 7, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila Dance Troupe and Rondalla Band; On June 14, the Kalayaan Singers; June 21, the Manila City Chorale and Manila City Band; and June 28, the Sinaglahi Dance Troupe of the City College of Manila. Paco Park Presents: June 5, St. Paul University Manila College of the Performing Arts, June 19, "Ang Pangkat Kasarinlan," June 26, "Young Filipino Artists in Focus" featuring Joanna Ruth Livioco on the violin and Michelle Nicholasora on the piano.

Visit www.nationalparks.ph or call 302-7374.


2. Practice your p-p-p-poker face...

...at the Metro Card Club. Home to poker enthusiasts, it is the first club located outside any casino. Open 24 hours, 7 days a week, the card club is legal and secure with experienced poker dealers, pit bosses and managers. Check out their weekly tourneys and learn to outplay the best poker players in the city.

Metro Card Club is located at the Metrowalk Commercial Complex, Pasig with telephone number 633-1422. For more information, check their website at metrocardclub.com.






1. ï¿½ Read manga for free at the Japan Foundation

Serious Naruto fans can now browse through the manga collection at the Japan Foundation in Manila. If you are among those whose imagination has been gripped by Japanese comic books, spend an afternoon (or the whole day!) and allow yourself to get lost in fantasy. All for free.

The Japan Foundation in Manila is located at the 12th Floor Pacific Star Building, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue corner Makati Ave. Makati city. The library is open from Mondays to Fridays from 10:00 a.m. � 6:00 p.m. For more information, visit the website at www.jfmo.org.ph..




To read 50 Things to Do in Manila: Part 1, please click here.

To read 50 Things to Do in Manila: Part 2, please click here.

To read 50 Things to Do in Manila: Part 3, please click here.

To read 50 Things to Do in Manila: Part 4, please click here.

Images from Lili, culturalcenter.gov.ph, headshotclinic.com, Chef Bruce Lim, Club Mwah, Eric Sales for adb.org,panaderos of hometown-boy.blogspot.com, nationalparks.ph, manga.com and metrocardclub.com.

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