Whoever coined the term “there’s no free lunch” wasn’t searching hard enough. Because there is such a thing and you can have it right here in Manila.
In this article, we list the many fun, surprising, and enlightening activities you can do in the metro without shelling out a single cent. Also included are more things to do for those who are on a strict budget (you won't go beyond P100, we promise!). Read on, cheapskates, and we hope you enjoy Manila's gratis entertainment soon!
Watch Movies for Free
Alliance Française de Manille’s Cine Club
209 Nicanor Garcia Street,
Bel-Air II, Makati City
Every Wednesday at 8:30 PM, Alliance Française de Manille’s Cine Club holds a free screening of classic and contemporary French films at the Auditorium de l'Alliance française de Manille. From time to time, they also showcase Filipino indie films and works from other French-speaking countries Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis (no reservations).
View movie of the day here.
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The Japan Foundation Manila’s Friday Eiga Night
23/F Pacific Star Building,
Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue corner Makati Avenue Makati City
The Japan Foundation, Manila holds free film festivals of full-length Japanese feature films, documentaries and other culturally enriching visual presentations with English sub-titles. Film screenings are occasionally held in joint sponsorship with other foreign and local cultural organizations; lectures by film directors and seminar/workshops are also made available to film enthusiasts and the general public.
This coming June 6, 2014, they will screen Robo G, a 2011 comedy by Yaguchi Shinobu. View the rest of the schedules here.
Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines
2F Mancor Corporate Building, 32nd St. Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Tel. (+63-2) 555-1711
This organization also regularly screens Korean movies at the Korean Cultural Center Wave Hall. On May 23, 2014, Friday, 6:00-8:00 PM, they will show Secretly Greatly 은밀하게 위대하게, a Korean action comedy-drama film starring Kim Soo-hyun, Park Ki-woong, and Lee Hyun-woo. Admission is free, but registration is required. Sign up in this link
Goethe-Institut Philippinen's Wednesday Movie Nights
G/4-5/F Adamson Centre
121 Leviste St., Salcedo Village
1227 Makati City
+632 8405723 to 24
It's a free movie night every Wednesday at the Goethe-Institut. Until June 11, they will show films directed by Helmut Käutner, one of the most successful directors of German cinema. Keep track of the upcoming films in this link
UPFI Film Center
University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City
Academic Offices –9206863; Adarna Office –9262722
The University of the Philippines Film Institute also holds regular free movie screenings for the “learned film buff”. You may check their line up in this page.
Watch a Free Concert
San Marcelino Street, Paco, Manila
(+63 2) 480-7062
Paco Park Presents is a regular weekly public service project of the Department of Tourism, under Sec. Ramon Jimenez, Jr. and the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), under Executive Director Juliet H. Mendoza. Paco Park hosts free concerts dubbed “Paco Park Presents”, every Friday at 6:00 P.M.
Eat for free while on a cultural immersion
Khalsa Diwan Sikh Temple
UN Avenue, Paco, Manila
This gurudwara along UN Avenue is one of two places of worship for Sikhs in Manila. Anyone, regardless of faith, entering a gurudwara is welcome to go to the ‘langar’ (kitchen) and have a free vegetarian meal (usually daal, sabji, and roti). Make the most out of your cultural visit by learning and appreciating Sikh religion and customs as well.
Photo from Facebook page
Appreciate Art and History in Manila
National Museum of the Philippines
Padre Burgos Drive, Manila
The National Museum of the Philippines is open Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission is free on Sundays. But in celebration of National Heritage Month, entrance to the museum is free for the entire month of May (2014).
Photos from National Museum's Facebook Page
Roxas Boulevard cor. South Drive, Manila, Philippines
T: 523-1797/98, 536-0595
Manila residents get to visit Museo Pambata for free on Tuesdays (please bring valid ID) and 50% off on other days. Otherwise, admission is P150. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (September to February); 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (March to August); and closed for lunch break at 12:00 NN to 1:00 PM.
Photo from Museo Pambata's Facebook Page
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
A. Mabini St. cor. P. Ocampo St.,
Malate Manila, Philippines 1004
Tel. No. : (632) 708.77.01
Money Museum showcases the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ collection of currencies. Check out coins, paper notes, medals, artifacts and monetary items found in the Philippines during different historical periods. Paintings from the BSP art collection, together with chosen artifacts, enhance each gallery. Admission is free.
Photo from Money Museum's website
GSIS Museo ng Sining
Level 2 Core I GSIS Building, Financial Center, Pasay City
Tel. No. 859 03 95
GSIS Museo ng Sining is open from Tuesday to Saturdays at 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Make your reservations/bookings at least one (1) month in advance and submit the filled out form to the museum.
Other *nearly* Free Options for Museum Visit:
Malacanang Palace Kalayaan Hall, Malacanang Palace, 1000 Jose P. Laurel Sr. St., Manila, Metro Manila
Telephone: (63 2) 784-4286 loc. 4945
The Presidential Museum and Library is open to public tours from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 12 noon, and from 1 pm to 3 pm, except public holidays. Read standard operating procedures for scheduling and conduct of Presidential Museum tours here.
Rates: P50.00 for adults, and P30.00 for students and senior citizens.
Ateneo Art Gallery
Ateneo de Manila University
Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City
Monday – Friday 8.00 AM – 7.30 PM
Saturday 8.00 AM – 6.00 PM
Closed on Sundays and Holidays
The Ateneo Art Gallery, also often hailed as the first museum of Philippine modern art, hosts exhibitions and public programs highlighting works from its permanent collection as well as works from other collections for special thematic shows.
Admission is free for Ateneo students, faculty, staff and individual visitors. As the Gallery can only hold a limited number of visitors, large groups should schedule their visit to the Gallery ahead of time. An admission fee of PHP 30 is charged for tour groups larger than 20 people. Call the Curatorial Office at 426.6488 for inquiries.
De La Salle University Museum
2401 Taft Avenue, Malate, Manila, Metro Manila, PH
Members of the DLSU community will have free admission. There is an admission fee of twenty five pesos (P25.00) for non-DLSU Filipino students and individuals, and fifty pesos (P50.00) for foreigners to be paid to DLSU Accounting Office to get admission tickets.
Free Your Mind while Practicing Yoga
Jivamukti Yoga Classes at the Legazpi Active Park
Date and Time: Sundays 930am to 1100am
Nancy Siy regularly teaches more than 10 Jivamukti classes a week around Metro Manila and also teaches free yoga classes at the park. Reservations are not required. Just show up at Legazpi Active Park. Classes start and end on time.
Photo from Manila Jiva's website
Be Entertained by Fireworks and Light Shows
SM Mall of Asia's Weekly Pyromusical
Every Fridays and Saturdays at 7 PM., SM Mall of Asia showcases Pyromusical, a five-minute fireworks display at the seaside or SM By The Bay at the back of the mall.
Lights and Music Fountain at the Rizal Park
T.M. Kalaw Ave., Manila, Metro Manila
A free fountain show schedule is every 6 AM to 8 AM from Mondays to Sundays, 6 PM to 10 PM from Mondays to Thursdays and 6 PM to 12 AM from Fridays to Sundays at Rizal Park, Manila.
Photo from Facebook page
Learn a New Craft for Free
Trade School Manila
Trade School Manila is a new community learning group facilitates *nearly* free workshops and seminars on various topics.
To join, visit their website and check out the schedule of classes. Register in your chosen class. Choose one barter item to bring to the class from the instructor's list. (Previous requests include: second hand books, box of staple wires, crayons, and the like, so it’s really, *nearly* free.) A few days before the class, you will get a text reminder from a volunteer regarding the schedule and venue.
To learn more about the upcoming classes, visit their website
Photos from Trade School Manila's Facebook page
Free Rowing Lessons at the Manila Boat Club
2442, Havana Street, Sta. Ana, Manila
Manila Boat Club offers free clinics to all types of beginner rowers. There are many boats, from single sculls to fours available for rowing in MBC.
They offer guests free lessons if they are interested in rowing. Please drop a line to the Boat Captain if you want to start learning at email@example.com. There is a very nominal fee by the Club, guest fee (1st 3 outings are free of guest fee) and cox and outing fee, other than that the use of facilities is free.
Join Free Walking Tours
Intramuros Pasyal Sunday
Pasyal Sundays, a flagship project of Viva Manila, is a monthly, free for the public, car-free event that features local artisans, performers, and neighborhood businesses in the aim of reviving the livability and creativity of Old Manila neighborhoods, as well empowering local skills and talent.
The next Pasyal Sunday will be on May 25, 2014, along General Luna Street, Intramuros. For inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo from Intramuros Pasyal Sunday's Facebook page
Gardenia Bread Factory Tour
Star Avenue, Laguna International Industrial Park (LIIP),
Mamplasan, Biñan, Laguna
Ever wonder how breads are made? Learn that and more by joining a FREE and educational Gardenia Plant Tour. Form a group and join the tour that will let you take a peek at Gardenia's bread-making operation. Booking is required.
Photo from Gardenia's Website
Tour days : Mondays to Fridays (except Thursdays and public holidays)
Time : 3.00 to 4.00pm
Min. Age : 5 years and above
Bookings are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Call (632) 845-0971 to 72 / (049) 539-1136 to 40 or email your request to email@example.com
Read and Rent Books for Free
The Reading Club 2000
1454 Balagtas St., Barangay La Paz, Makati City
0915-7291526 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Reading Club 2000 is Hernando Guanlao’s home-turned-public library. Everyone is welcome to stop by and read from his book collection. He even allows people to bring home the books!
Photo from The Reading Club 2000's Facebook Page
Alliance Française de Manille's Multimedia Library also holds a free admission Storytelling Hour in French for Kids every first Tuesday of the month.
Enjoy Outdoor Activities and Reconnect with Nature for less that P100
La Mesa Eco Park Quezon City
The park by the La Mesa dam is a sprawling complex of trees and wide spaces, perfect for reconnecting with nature. Jog, stroll, and have a picnic here for a minimal cost:
Photo from La Mesa Eco Park's Facebook Page
Park Admission Rates:
Adults P50 (kids 3ft & below Free)
QC Residents (w/ valid proof of residence) P40
QC Students (w/ valid ID) P20
QC Senior Citizens (w/ valid ID) FREE
Non-QC Senior Citizens P40
You may also want to try the different activities available for families. All are priced below P100 as well:
Butterfly Haven: P60 per person
Fishing (rod rental) at La Mesa Ecopark : P20 per day
Archery at La Mesa Ecopark: P50 per 3 arrows
Horseback Riding: P50
Biking: varies from P60 – P90 per hour
Swimming (operating hours 8am-4pm; daily): Persons above 3ft P80 and 3ft & below P40
They say the best things in life are free, and after going through this list, we couldn’t help but agree! Do you have other suggestions on how to enjoy Manila without spending a single cent? Let us know in the comments section below.