10 Almost Free Places to Visit From Manila, Philippines
Whether you are a local or a tourist, Manila has 10 must visit places that everyone who is anyone will sure enjoy. The great thing about these places is that they are all free or almost free to visit! For that reason, you can bring along your friends, family or anyone without the need to spend much. So without further ado, here are 10 free places you can visit in Manila.
Venice Grand Canal Mall
The Venice Grand Mall is just like any regular mall but with luxurious style. It is designed to look and feel like you’re in Venice, including its famous Gondola. You don’t really need to spend anything when you visit the place but you might be enticed to dine in to one of its restaurants. But don’t worry because not all of its establishments are expensive, it even has a food court so you can easily find the cheapest place to eat.
The Malacanang Palace
Malacanang Palace is not just known as the residence of the President but also one of the most beautiful home in the country. Unbeknownst to many, anyone can actually schedule a free tour around the palace. All you need to do is contact them at (63-2) 784 4286 loc. 4649/4945, email at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, at least three days before your preferred date. It is open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM excluding holidays.
Quiapo Church and its Food and Souvenir Market
Quiapo Church is one of the most popular church in the country. It is the home of the miraculous Black Nazarene shrine and where you can shop for cheap but quality handicrafts. If its handmade, its most likely found in Quiapo. And if you’re into doing a bit more walking, you will also find malls that offers the cheapest China electronics, gadget accessories, cheap pre-owned jewelries, and even motor accessories.
Just a word of caution, its best to go to this places without carrying anything expensive. Don’t flaunt your gadgets too much and always keep your bag in front of you. Remember that the place is where most of the cheapest items in the Philippines are sold so you know people who hang out there are not all financially blessed.
Rizal Park / Luneta National Park
Aside from being the home of statues that represent the country’s national heroes, Luneta National Park is a favorite destination for many traditional Filipino families. It features five different gardens, three different event venues, and five museums. Some of them are free to visit while others have a minimal entrance fee. At night, its huge fountain lights up to perform a musical dance to the people around it.
And just like almost any country in the world, there will always be a Chinatown that’s worth seeing. In the Philippines, Chinatown is the best place to eat authentic Chinese food and experience their culture first-hand. When roaming the town, be sure to stop by at Binondo church, 168 Mall and ride the Kalesa (transportation by horse).
168 Mall is where most small Chinese business people sell fashion items, household things, collectibles, souvenirs, and a lot more. Before you end the day, be sure to stop by restaurants like Wai Ying, Masuki or Sincere restaurant and food souvenir shops like Eng Bee Tin and Salazar Bakery.
If you wish to see and learn more about the history of the Manila, then Intramuros is a must-visit. When you visit the place, you also get to tour the Fort Santiago, Rizal Shrine, Rizaliana Furniture Exhibit, Bahay Tsinoy, Casa Manila, San Agustin Museum, Baluarte de San Diego, Bagumbayan Light and Sound Museum, National Commission for Culture and Arts Gallery, Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ Museum. Some of them are free to visit while some require just a 10 peso entrance fee.
If your feet are tired, you can also opt to ride the Kalesa or try the many street foods all around the place. Some of the most favorite snack by most Filipino is the Banana Cue (sweetened bananas), Halo Halo (a mix of many local sweet delicacies), Fish Ball (or squid balls and Kikiam which are basically processed fish and squid meat), and dirty ice cream ( not really dirty).
Now if you’re really into shopping, Divisoria is probably the cheapest place you can shop. Its even cheaper in Quiapo and 168 Mall. In this place, you can shop for handicrafts, cloth, RTW or custom made gowns and of course more China items. Just don’t forget to haggle because the sellers will almost always give a higher price initially.
SM Mall of Asia and Manila Bay
Now if you’re into shopping but don’t like facing the harsh rays of the sun and the crowded streets, SM Mall of Asia is the place to be. As what its name suggests, the mall is one of the biggest mall in Asia. Many claims its almost impossible to tour the mall in just one day but I think its possible. It also has a mini theme park beside the bay which is a must visit if you want to just sit around watch the hustles and bustles of the city.
La Mesa Eco Park
As seen in the photo, the La Mesa Eco Park features many different activities you can do alone, with friends and even with your family. It’s a huge nature park where you can bike, sightsee some flowers, fish, ride horses and a lot more. Just make sure you wear comfortable clothes and check the weather to make sure it doesn’t rain on the day of your visit.
Next on the list is Star City which is probably the longest running theme park in the Philippines. Its nothing fancy compared to Disneyland or Universal Studios but you do get a taste of a Filipino version’s rides, games and lots of traditional Fiesta games. There is an entrance fee to enter the park but its very cheap. The only time it gets a bit expensive is when you decide to ride the attractions.