The Best Free Things to Do in Metro Manila

There’s plenty!

Metro Manila, despite its overpriced coffee shops and vast shopping centers, still offers places and experiences for free. You know what they say, the best things in life are free, and some you can experience in this city. Take advantage of the free things the metro can offer:

Commune with nature by visiting the parks

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Rizal Park may be mainstream, but it has a timeless appeal that will keep you coming back. You can chill near the fountain and listen to the tunes of yesteryear with huge speakers around the area. There’s also a fountain show at night which is downright relaxing. As a plus, it’s also in the vicinity of Paco Park.

In Makati, the Legazpi Active Park and Ayala Triangle Gardens provides the space and the vibe for an after-work (or early morning) jog, or a laid-back afternoon reading a book under the shade. Just a few kilometers away is Bonifacio Global City, where you can visit three parks: Track 30th for fitness buffs, Terra 28th for the kids, and Turf BGC for the sports enthusiasts.

Other parks you can enjoy for free in the metro include the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City which has great sights of organic plants and flowers.

Go to libraries

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Good news for bookworms: free libraries thrive in the city. There’s the National Library beside Rizal Park where you just show your ID before entering, the Ortigas Foundation Library which houses lots of materials about Philippine history and you can access them for free, and if you want to learn more about German culture, the Goethe-Institut Manila in Makati is a must-visit. They have an extensive collection of German magazines,  DVDs of film and documentaries and other helpful materials either for your research or just for new knowledge.

For a unique library experience, swing by the Reading Club 2000 in Brgy. La Paz, Makati. It’s a library owned by Nanie Guanlao and it’s open for everyone, and you can even borrow a book for free!

Watch films

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For film buffs, you can catch free classic Filipino and foreign film screenings at UP Cine AdarnaCinematheque Centre Manila in Kalaw is also a frequent haunt for movie goers and lovers of independent films — they’re doing a Werner Herzog retrospective all weekends of May and it’s free! It’s also a venue of some film festivals, so make sure to like their page for updates.

If you’re lucky, you can also catch films for free at Cinema ’76 Film Society in San Juan, CCP Arthouse Cinema in Roxas Boulevard and Museum of Contemporary Art and Design at De La Salle-College of St. Benilde.

If you’re a fan of Korean films, Korean Cultural Center in BGC occasionally screens a lot of them — and even K-Pop concerts — for free.

 

Appreciate art and culture

The National Planetarium in Rizal Park just extended their free admission up to May 31, so take advantage of this opportunity to watch new shows through the newest hybrid projector that they unveiled in March.

A few blocks away are some of the country’s historic gems: the National Museum and Museo Pambata — both of which you can also explore for free.

Go back in time in Manila’s historic towns

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Manila may be a highly urbanized city, but lots of areas within it has traces of history that are luckily preserved up to this day.

Walk by Escolta Street, the former queen of Manila’s streets, and check out the old buildings that speak a lot about its past. Most independent organizations are now reviving it to its former glory, so expect tens of galleries and art events in the area.

Manila’s Chinatown holds the title of being the oldest in the world, so just imagine how much you can learn and explore just by walking down its historic streets. 

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