Manila:10 Unique & Fun Things to Do in the City

Ride a bamboo bicycle around Intramuros

Intramuros is Manila, Philippines’ oldest district and cultural heartland. It is Manila’s only district where the traditions of the old Spanish-era still prevail. Top tourist spots here include Fort Santiago, a well-kept park, the San Agustin Baroque Church and Manila Cathedral.

Bambiking in Intramuros by Discovering Routes

Also, visitors can walk or ride a kalesa (horse-drawn carriage) across Intramuros. Besides that, the famous tour guide Carlos Celdran’s “Walk this Way Intramuros Tour” is a common option for international tourists wishing to know a bit of history.

Furthermore, the Bamboo bicycle with Bambike Ecotours is a fun way to visit the historic walled city of Manila. Also, the bicycles with bamboo frames are designed by villagers of Gawad Kalinga, a Philippine social enterprise. Tourists can cover more ground than if they are on a walking tour and this is a more accessible way to get around as opposed to motorized transport.

Bamboo bicycle by Bambike Ecotours

International tourists seeking the services of a professional guide and a perspective on each destination’s history can take advantage of the Intramuros Experience, a 2.5-hour long tour to visit 10 main sites (P1, 200 per person). Bike & helmet rental, bottled water, and entrance fees are included in the bill. Schedule of the tour: 10:00 am-12:30 pm and 3:00 pm-5:30 pm.

The Express Tour is a 1-hour tour where you can select the P600 per person per hour for your adventure. If you want to explore without a guide on your own, you can just rent the P200 bikes per Bambike per hour.

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You may call Call Bambike Intramuros for inquiries. This is located at Complex San Luis Plaza, Real St. corIntramuros General Luna Ave., Manila. This is also available from 9 AM till 6 PM.

And most importantly, be sure to stop by the San Agustin Church of Manila, one of four Philippine churches under the collective title Baroque Churches of the Philippines founded during the Spanish colonial era listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. In 1976 the Philippine government designated it a National Historic Landmark.

Explore Museums in Manila

If you’re into history and culture, there are plenty of museums around Manila that you can visit, both traditional and modern, depending on your interests. This includes the National Museum, Casa Manila, Museum of San Agustin, Metropolitan Museum, Museum of Ayala, Museum of Yuchengco, Bahay Tsinoy and the Planetarium.

Philippine Museums by Everyday TV

Also, one of the most famous is the Rizal Park National Museum of Natural History which offers several galleries featuring the rich biodiversity of the country. The elevator “Tree of Life,” its central element, is an allure of its own. This museum also holds the skeleton and remains of Lolong, the world’s largest ever-captured saltwater crocodile (length: 6.17 m; weight: 1.075 kg).

Enjoy top festivals, food & iconic landmarks in a single room

The Sm Mall of Asia nightscape captured by Floyd Pison Bermejo

Lakbay Museum is an immersive museum situated in the Mall of Asia complex that has just opened in July 2019 to draw foreign visitors. This museum offers tourists an opportunity to walk through replicas of iconic landmarks found across the world, taste regional cuisine samples, see unique hand-woven textiles, and engage in traditional folk dances.

Besides that, the museum offers visitors an opportunity to fly around the Philippines in just under two hours and learn more about its rich history and culture.

Shop at the malls in Manila

You can visit the SM Mall of Asia or MOA, a shopping complex in the Bay City, Pasay City if you’re really into shopping. This is the Philippines’ 4th largest shopping mall, and the 11th largest in the world. The MOA Eye, a 55 meter (180 feet) tall Ferris wheel that provides a 360-degree view of the SM Mall of Asia and surrounding areas of Pasay City, can be found at the back of MOA.

Hunt for street smart

Street art in Bonifacio Global City

Street art is a big part of urban culture or public art. Like the art that you find in museums, this kind of media set up in the streets, walkways and buildings make art more easily accessible. Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig is one of the best places to see large-scale public art in Manila, where foreign and local artists painted massive murals on buildings as part of the Art BGC Festival.

DIY walking tours are FREE at BGC. For guided tours, go to the Bonifacio High Street Alveo Showroom, where regular walking tours depart at 5:30 pm. Also, Bambike offers a BGC Art Tour on Bamboo Bikes for P1, 200/head. Bookings needed.

Liquor Museum – liquor themed museum in Intramuros

Liquor Museum by Esquire Philippines

If you want to drink and are looking for something special to do after the daily tourist circuit in Intramuros, how about going to a Liquor Museum to try alcohol? In February 2018 Destileria Limtaco, the oldest and largest distillery in the Philippines established in 1852, opened its liquor-themed museum at Intramuros.

After guided tours, the museum provides free liqueur degustation of their brews and craft spirits. They have their craft spirits range including sugarcane gin, mango rum, premium lambanog or coconut vodka, and coffee liqueur that highlights local ingredients and flavors.

Try some traditional street foods in Manila

Street Foods in Manila

Adobo (usually chicken or pork cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic), Sinigang (a Philippine soup or stew flavored with tamarind), Sisig (grilled pork nose, legs, ribs, snout, buttocks, and chicken liver, etc.) and Kare-Kare (oxtail stew) are the most popular traditional Filipino dishes that first-timers can try.

Many traditional street foods (a wide range of inexpensive cuisine you can buy from the street vendors or peddlers) can be a bit of a surprise to foreigners. Fish balls, kwek-kwek, kikiam, Adidas, taho, sorbetes (ice cream), and the famed balut (duck embryo) are among the most popular Pinoy Street foods.

Try Locavore Kitchen & Drinks, which serves great Filipino comfort made fun and inventive food (such as Sizzling Sinigang and Oyster Sisig!), which was originally started in Kapitolyo, Pasig but now has four branches including one in Pasay City’s Mall of Asia.

Go for food trip around Binondo, Manila

“Wok your way” was founded in 1594 around Binondo, the world’s oldest Chinatown. Binondo is a well-known Manila cultural and food haven where you can find more than 100 restaurants from traditional hole-in-the-wall haunts to upscale Chinese dining buffet.

Moreover, Old Manila Walks offers guided food tours around Binondo called the Big Binondo Food Wok which allows guests to eat their way around Binondo’s most intimate alleys, the historic Chinatown of Manila.

Go in bargain search in Quiapo

The Old Downtown of Manila Photo courtesy of JR Felipe.

Quiapo is known as the “Old Downtown of Manila.” It is home to the Church of Quiapo, where the Black Nazarene feast is held with millions attending each year.

Even Quiapo has made a name for itself as a forum for bargain hunting. However, it can get pretty crowded around Quiapo that could be a cultural shock for international visitors.

Furthermore, you can check out the numerous weekend markets, bazaars, thrift stores, and antique shops across the city may be bargain hunters and shopaholic.

Some popular shopping destinations include Quiapo, Divisoria, Greenhills, Bangkal, Tiendesitas, Dapitan Arcade, and the Salcedo Weekend Market.

Buy some sentimental token or “pasalubong” before heading home

A Pasalubong Center

Before you leave any destination, make sure you get a nostalgic token in Manila that might remind you about it first.

It is given that Filipinos are typically noted for their cultural custom of shopping for and transporting pasalubong (souvenirs), visitors should not be exhausting to find memento outlets around the railway.

Also, Most of those memento outlets sell cheap stuff handcrafted by native craftsmen such as Philippine jeepney miniature models, handcrafted textiles, shell crafts, and rustic home ornamentation.

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