10 Unique & Fun Things to Do in Manila

For travelers, backpackers and province-based tourists, Manila is often just thought of as a stopover between flights on the way to another destination. The big city can be overwhelming with the heavy traffic and crowded streets. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much to do except eat out, go shopping in the malls, visit museums or churches. There’s also the gritty and chaotic areas of Quiapo and Divisoria, which have become synonymous with Manila.

I often take the tourist sights in Manila for granted because this is where I live and work. But if I were a first-time tourist in the Philippines, or if I had to take around foreign tourists, balikbayans, expats or province-based friends, what would I do and where would I go? Here are some suggestions of unique and fun activities you can do while in Manila.
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Canyoneering at Kawasan Falls, Cebu

UPDATE: After a temporary closure, Canyoneering in Cebu has resumed operations again starting September 1, 2016 according to tour operator Kawasan Canyoneering

Canyoneering seems to be one of the most popular activities to do in South Cebu these days. While the naturally beautiful Kawasan Falls has been drawing tourists for years, the whole area has become even more popular ever since canyoneering tours were introduced. The extreme sport also known as canyoning involves walking, scrambling, climbing, jumping, rappelling and swimming through a river either upstream or downstream. It’s one of the most fun and unique outdoor activities you can do in Cebu.

kawasan canyoneering cebu group shot travelup
Group photo with Angela, Ivy, Pax, Apple and Heizel. Thanks for the photos and for letting me join your group! 🙂

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Travel Guide: Camiguin

Camiguin is an island province in the Philippines commonly associated with two things. First, it’s known as having the sweetest lanzones in the country. Second, it’s home to a sunken cemetery, driven underwater when Mt. Vulcan Daan erupted in the 1870s. A large cross in the sea memorializes the departed buried there and serves as the province’s most iconic landmark. According to locals, tombstones encrusted by corals beneath the cross can still be seen by snorkelers and scuba divers, which sounds both eerie and fascinating at the same time.

camiguin sunken cemetery cross boat ocean

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Gear Review: Lakhambini Shoes

One of the things that I look out for when I travel around the Philippines are items made from native weaves or indigenous textiles. Underneath the motifs and patterns are beautiful stories of culture and heritage from different tribes and the skillful artists who weave them.

lakhambini shoes philippines banig yakan textile basket tote bag itsmorefuninthephilippines
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Rizal Wind Farm Loop Ride

Since I blogged about my previous rides to the Wind Farm in Pililla, Rizal, I’ve been getting inquiries from riders and bikers on the best route to take. Over the past few months, I’ve visited the Rizal Wind Farm a total of five times, usually on solo weekend rides. On previous rides, I was always stopped at either the Pillilla or Sampaloc entrance and told that that I couldn’t go in because of ongoing construction, so I usually ended up taking photos just near the entrance.

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Travel Guide: Corregidor

Corregidor is one of the most important historic and tourist sites in the Philippines. This island located at the entrance of Manila Bay in the southwestern part of Luzon played an important role during the invasion and liberation of the Philippines from Japanese forces during World War II. Because of its historic value and close proximity to Metro Manila, visiting Corregidor is a good option for foreign or local tourists who want to go on a day trip or stay overnight.

corregidor island philippines ruins

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Just Ride

There’s always this strange mix of uncertainty and purpose whenever I ride. I may be at the mercy of the elements and of the terrain, but I am still in control of my fate. I come to a fork in the road and it’s always my decision where to go. If a path scares me, I can either turn back or go forward. There are no boundaries except my own limitations.motorcycle marilaque road Continue reading

Amélie Hotel Manila

Amélie Hotel Manila is a charming new boutique hotel that captures the bohemian spirit of the old-world neighborhood of Manila in a contemporary setting. Everything about the place — from the graphic art deco details of iconic landmarks to the warm and sincere service — makes the hotel stand out from the typical business hotels in the area. The hotel was formally launched amid Chinese New Year festivities last February 19, 2015 to signal the start of a prosperous life in the heart of the city.

amelie hotel manila lobby

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Cafe Racer Diner, Cebu

For some reason, my Facebook newsfeed kept getting images of a concept diner in Cebu called Cafe Racer. I blame their targeted advertising, but the photos of cool motorcycles parked outside the cafe, chairs made from oil drums and different motoring murals made me just want to book a ticket to Cebu. As a rider, I just wanted to see the place for myself. Thanks to a work trip for another assignment, I got a chance to check the place out last January 2015.

cafe racer cebu philippine sign travelup

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WCC Aviation in Binalonan, Pangasinan

Without a warning, the clear sunny day morphed into a rainy and foggy mess. The picturesque mountains against blue skies which had looked so inviting seconds before took on a more sinister air. Lightning struck and thunder rolled in the distance. The fog thickened to almost zero visibility. The scene turned to night with lights from houses and a runway blinking in the distance. In a flash, the plane was teleported back on the ground to a runway in front of clear skies again.

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