10 Cool and Free Things You Can Do in Manila

Who doesn't like free?


(SPOT.ph) Sure, a flag ceremony, a parade, a rally, a speech; dignitaries in barong Tagalog having a ball are all fantastic ways to celebrate Independence Day. But here at SPOT.ph, we know that the best way to celebrate freedom is by taking advantage of all the freebies that the city has to offer. 

Whether you're wondering where to go on a Sunday in Manila or is simply looking for something new to try on a random day, here are activities that you can enjoy for free:


1. Get fit. The University of the Philippines is one of the better, well-known venues for free fitness. UP Acad Oval is carless on Sundays  to accommodate joggers and cyclists, as well as to encourage those who want to jumpstart a more active lifestyle. In the middle of it all is the Sunken Garden where you can kick some ball, throw a frisbee, or just hang out. In Taguig, there’s Bonifacio Global City’s Track 30. It has a long and winding track, art installations that may be used as fitness equipment, and raised disks perfect for stretching and cooling down. Various exercise groups also go to Luneta and Quezon City Circle to practice tai chi or arnis in the morning.



2. Stare at art! The Cultural Center of the Philippines art gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday, free of charge. The National Museum waives its entrance fee on Sundays so feel free to go on that day to marvel at Juan Luna’s Spolarium, among others. The National Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. Call 527-0278 or visit their website for more information.


3. Practice safe sex. Now that the controversial RH Bill is a controversial law, government health centers are required to hand out free condoms, apart from providing other birth control services. (RA 10354 states, however, that people with the most explosive of libidos-those from 10 to 19 years old, note-can get access to artificial birth control methods only if they have parental consent.)


4. Use the mall WiFi.We are eternally grateful that majority of the bigger malls in the city are offering free WiFi. Mooch free Internet being offered at Robinsons Malls, SM Malls, and Ayala Malls. The down side? Too many users logging in at the same time sometimes slows down and causes the servers to hang, or worse, reject your requests flat out.

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5. Have a taste. Unless you’re a member at S&R, free tastes are hard to come by in this city. So why not think of weekend markets as you would buffets? Start by doing a once-over to see what could be had. Then go ahead and sample what’s available. Concessionaires usually give out a free taste when you ask nicely. Just make sure to buy when you taste something you really like.


6. Watch a movie. Foreign organizations like Alliance Francaise de Manille, Goethe Institut, Instituto Cervantes, along with foreign embassies like to hold international film fests with free screenings, like the recently concluded French Film Festival. Some of them sporadically hold special one-offs from time to time, like Instituto’s Saturday film screenings (please check their website for announcements) as well as Japan Foundation’s Eiga Friday Nights, held every First Friday of the month. Already bookmarked in our calendars are Japan Foundation’s Eiga Sai, which is happening on July 3, and Goethe Institut’s Silent Film Fest happening in August.



7. Take a ride around BGC. Every Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., you can get a free ride around Bonifacio Global City via its Hop On Hop Off bus, which stops at NBC Tent, the Mind Museum, the 9th Street near Krispy Kreme, and at Turf, the football field. What a relief, considering BGC is in the middle of a facelift with so many new buildings! Check out the Facebook page of the Fort Bus for updated routes.


8. Read a book and hang out. Swing by the Ortigas Library at, well, Ortigas, and the Goethe Institut library in Salcedo Makati if you need free space to think or work or read. And then there’s the Reading club 2000, otherwise known as "The Library at Balagtas Street," which allows you to hang out and read any of the 500 titles that Club Founder Nani Gunlao has accumulated. Yes, you can borrow a book. It’s all for free.



9. Listen to some good music. Free concerts abound in Manila. There’s the free Irie Sunday gig at B-Side at The Collective, happening every Sunday, where all you have to do is show up and dance. And then there’s the famous Paco Park Presents concert series every Friday, where you can enjoy classical music right smack in the middle of the park. Every June, Alliance Francaise de Manille holds Fete de la Musique; this year it will happen on June 15 at 4 p.m. at the open parking lot of A.Venue in Makati. And tomorrow, June 12, Araneta Center will be celebrating Independence day with a free concert at the Gateway Park, featuring Tanya Markova and Join the Club.


10. Enjoy the cityscape. Manila isn’t exactly the most well-designed city but that can be part of its charm. Tucked in Manila’s corners are fantastic skate spots where you and your friends can kick flip it. A few hidden streets, however pot-holed, make bike rides exciting. Those who are into Parkour, meanwhile, can enjoy the ever-changing cityscape for all their jumps, climbs, bends, and whatnot. When all is said and done, you can sit yourself anywhere along Roxas Boulevard during magic hour to enjoy the sunset.

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