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7 Budget-friendly Date Ideas That Will Cost You Less Than P500

The task: create interesting date itineraries for couples. The challenge: the dates should not cost more than P500 for two.

Dating in the city can be expensive, only if you don't know what you're doing. To prove that impressing your date is not directly proportional to emptying your wallet, we've curated seven date itineraries that won't put a dent in your pocket.

The task: create interesting date itineraries for Manila-based couples. The challenge: the dates should not cost more than P500 for two. Here's what we've come up with:

1. Go on a food trip.

Couples in the metro have plenty of options when dining on a budget (we're not even counting the awesome dishes we've encountered in carinderias and food courts). Here are four restaurants where you can sample the different flavors of the world without putting a dent in your pocket. 

via giphy

Steaks: SALT Makati
SALT is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, located at the outskirts of Makati CBD. It's fairly new, so service and availability can be quite spotty. But on a good night, you can enjoy a decent steak date at this promising place. 


Sample order for two:
One (1) T-bone Steak with rice – P190
One (1) Grilled Cajun Chicken with rice – P180
One (1) Frozen Brazo de Mercedes to share – P110
Total: P480

Suzukin Lunch/Dinner Plate

Japanese: Suzu Kin
Established way back in the eighties, Suzukin is one of the oldest, most iconic restaurants in San Antonio Village, Makati. If you want the ultimate bang-for-the-buck meal, get the Suzukin Lunch or Dinner Plate (P145) complete with Chicken Furai, Ebi Tempura, Pork Kashi Yaki, Tuna Steak, Crispy Dilis, rice, and miso soup. 

Sample order for two:
One (1) Gyoza – P165
Two (2) Lunch/Dinner Sets – P290
Total: P455

Friuli's Margherita Pizza
(photo: Teeza Que Legaspi)

Italian: Friuli Trattoria
Friuli Trattoria gives its diners a taste of Italy at an affordable price. To its fans, this restaurant is the end destination when in the quest for the best Margherita pizza in the metro.

Sample order for two:
One (1) 10" Margherita pizza – P190
One (1) Mozarella Sticks – P145
One (1) Angel hair Putanesca – P140
Total: P475

Triple Sampler

American: Buffalo’s Wings n' Things
Patrons of Wings N' Things seek the place for their close to authentic, tangy buffalo wings of varying degrees of hotness. It can get quite hot and messy in here so save this for later dates.

Sample order for two:
One (1) No Bones Triple Sampler (New York's Finest, Honey BBQ, Garlic Parmesan) – P399
Two (2) NY Dirty Rice – P78
Total: P477

2. Binge on a buffet.

No need to wait for the next payday to splurge on a buffet. Below is a list of buffet restaurants where you can dine for less than P500 per couple.

Dessert Buffet at Love Desserts

Love Desserts
915 Banawe St., corner Del Monte, Quezon City
Mon – Sat: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm; Sun: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Price: P199 per head

Somethin Fishy’s Midnight to Morning Buffet
Monday to Friday P169 per head 
Sat, Sun, Holidays P179 per head
Details: Midnight to Morning Buffet lets night owls and early birds eat as much American, Chinese, and Filipino dishes as they can from 12 MN to 10 AM. 

Cafe Sweet Inspirations
311 Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Hts., Q.C.
Tel No. 433-4200 Fax No. 928-2557
Breakfast Buffet: P205 per head from Friday to Sunday; 6 AM to 10 AM

Roxas Boulevard Branch: P248
Timog Branch: P215
Shaw Branch: P248

Red Box, Greenbelt 3
One-hour room stay promo (any time from 12 NN to 3PM) with lunch buffet: P199 per head 

3. Visit as many Manila museums as you can.

Hand in hand, discover what Metro Manila has to offer in the Arts and Culture department. For couple who are seeking an alternative way of learning Philippine art, history, and sciences, here are some of the few notable museums that you can visit:

via giphy

Spoliarium by Juan Luna, National Art Gallery

National Museum of the Philippines: Museum of the Filipino People and National Art Gallery
Address: NHCP Building, T.M. Kalaw Street, Ermita, Manila
Contact: 254-7482 |
Schedule: 10:00am to 4:00pm (Tuesday-Sunday)
Rate: Admission for individuals is P50 for students, P120 for senior citizens and P150 for adults.

Ayala Museum
Address: Makati Avenue corner De La Rosa street, Makati City
Contact: 759-8288 |
Full admission: P225 per person

Museo Pambata
Address: Roxas Boulevard cor. South Drive, Manila
Contact: 523-1797/98 or 536-0595 |
Schedule: 8 AM to 5 PM (Tuesdays to Saturdays), 1 PM to 5 PM (Sundays). The museum is closed on Mondays and selected official holidays.
Rate: Php 150 for adults. Manila residents with valid IDs enter for FREE on Tuesdays and get 50% discount on other days. 

Metropolitan Museum of Manila
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex
708-7829 |
Schedule: Museum hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00 am to 5:30pm; Gold and Pottery Galleries: Monday – Friday 10:00am to 4:30pm
Rate: Php 100.00 – Children above three years old, students, adults & foreign guests

Bahay Tsinoy
Address: 32 Anda corner Cabildo Streets, Intramuros, Manila
Contact: 527-6083 |
Schedule: Tuesdays to Sundays, 1 to 5 pm
Rate: Adults P100

4. Pick a board game that the both of you haven't tried yet and play against each other.

Put down your gadgets and turn off your gaming apps. Playing board games makes for a better date activity, especially when you're just at that getting-to-know-you-stage. It's old-fashioned, fun, and cute. And since the loser gets to treat the winner by the end of the day, you're excused to spend more time together over a cup of coffee or dessert.

Photo from Ludo's Facebook Page

Hobbes and Landes
Greenbelt 5 and Bonifacio Global City

The bigger Hobbes and Landes stores have play areas where guests can freely test out the featured game of that month. Just ask the staff if they have a demo board game that you and your date can try out.

Burger Company
72B Scout Reyes, corner Mother Ignacia Avenue,
Barangay Paligsahan, Quezon City
Open daily from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM

Order any burger and get to try out any of Burger Company's board games.

Sample order for two:
One (1) Cheese Classic Burger – P159
One (1) Bacon and Cheese Burger – P175
One (1) Fries Overload – P166
Total: P500

Ludo Boardgame Cafe
Corner Sct. Fuentebella and Sct. Torillo.
Tomas Morato, Quezon City
(63 920) 921-8482

Ludo (Latin for 'I play') is a dedicated boardgame bar & cafe that houses more than 300 tabletop games for kids of all ages. Ludo's staff is ready to assist diners and give a tutorial on how to play the rarer titles. 

Sample order for two:
One (1) Chips with Sour Cream Dip – P95
One (1) Tonkatsu -P195
One (1) Chicken Yakiniku – P185
Total: P475

5. Sing your heart out at a karaoke bar near you.

​Singing karaoke is a quintessential entertainment for all kinds of occasions, fun dates included. Prepare your Most Requested Song lists, grab the microphone, and sing your heart out for your date at the following popular family KTV restaurants:

via giphy

Music 21 Plaza Family KTV and Restaurant
Branches: Pasay, Makati, Malate, Timog, Alabang
Operating Hours: 12:00 NN to 5:00 AM daily
Rate per hour: P84 per head per hour

CenterStage Family KTV and Restaurant
Branches: Pasay, Makati, Quezon City
Basic Rates: Timog Regular Room (P150 per hour, good for 2 to 4 persons); Makati Small Room (P250 per hour, maximum of 6 persons), Pasay Small Room (P250 per hour, maximum of 6 persons)

Red Box Karaoke
Branch: Trinoma
Rates can be as low as P199 per person on non-peak times

Music Match Family KTV
Branches: Tomas Morato, Macapagal, Ortigas
Basic Rates: P150 per hour (Macapagal and Tomas Morato branches, max 5 people), P250 per hour (Ortigas branch, max 5 people)

Top Grill Makati
Eurocrest Bldg., Jupiter, Makati
Operating Hours: 24 hours
Rates: P75 per hour (non consumable)

6. Watch free movies.

Regular movie tickets are around P250 each so technically, watching a movie in general is recommended in this list. However, we know a way on how you can watch a movie without paying anything!

via giphy

Alliance Française de Manille’s Cine Club
209 Nicanor Garcia Street,
Bel-Air II, Makati City
Tel: 895-7585

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).

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.

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.

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. 

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”. 

7. Learn a new craft together (or even teach if you're qualified).

Photo from Trade School Manila's Facebook page

Trade School Manila, 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.

Can you think of more fun ways to enjoy a date without shelling out too much money? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

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