5 Things to Do in Manila For Less Than PHP 1,000.00

Explore the nooks and crannies of Manila without having to spend a fortune!

By Raphael Mones
September 14, 2016

After spending as much as 40 hours a week at the office, we usually reserve the weekend to do recreational activities that keep our sanities intact. But with the cost of living constantly shooting up, it’s hard to think of things to do and places to visit that will not cost an arm and a leg. Thankfully, that's not always the case.

Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, has quite a number of attractions that are fun, exciting, and surprisingly cheap! If you’re on a tight budget, here are a couple of things to do in Manila over the weekend that will cost you nothing more than PHP 1,000.00.

1. Go Museum Hopping
Museums are often part of your itineraries when visiting other countries, so why not explore our own?

Photo by: Ryoma Andres via Wikimedia Commons

The National Museum is right in the heart of Manila and situated close to Rizal Park, Intramuros, and the Manila City Hall. But did you know that admission to the National Museum is now free of charge? The National Museum of Fine Arts is home to priceless art pieces from renowned classical Filipino artists like Juan Luna, Felix Resurreccion-Hidalgo, and Napoloeon Abueva. The National Museum of the Anthropology, on the other hand, is where you can learn more about the history of the Filipino people through ancient artifacts, dioramas, and other audio-visual instructional aids.

Not too far from the National Museum is the Calvo Museum, located in Calle Escolta. The Calvo Building, where the museum is found, is a heritage piece in itself, having been around since 1938. Stepping inside Calvo Museum is like taking a trip down memory lane. On its walls are photos of what the City of Manila and the Manileños looked like back in the day. The museum also has a collection of vintage bottles, old movie posters, and an OPM library featuring songs from the days of yore.

The Presidential Museum and Library has an astonishing collection of books and artifacts (some of which date back to the early Spanish era) that illustrate the history of Malacañan Palace and the Philippine presidents. Trips to the museum are strictly by reservation only. Dress code is smart casual (no shorts and slippers!) and late comers will not be entertained.

The National Museum
  • Located at Padre Burgos Drive, Manila
  • Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Entrance fee: Free

Calvo Museum
  • Located at Calvo Building, 226 Calle Escolta, Manila
  • Open from Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM; and Saturday, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
  • Entrance fee: PHP 50.00 (Regular) or PHP 20.00 (Discounted)

Presidential Museum
  • Located at Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace, J.P. Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila
  • Open from Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, and 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, excluding public holidays
  • Entrance Fee: PHP 50.00 (Regular) or PHP 30.00 (Discounted)

2. Go Artsy!


Whether you’re an artist who’s in dire need of inspiration or just a simple person looking for a creative outlet, 98B Collaboratory is the place for you. This independent artist-run project serves as a “community + network + kitchen + shop” where young artists can harness and showcase their talents. The people behind 98B Collaboratory are also encouraging people to visit Escolta to revive the glory days of this once bustling business and financial center. Some of the workshops and programs are free of charge while others have very small fees. For the schedule of events, you can follow them at their Facebook page or visit their website at www.98-b.org.

While you’re there, you can also check out HUB: Make Lab, where you can go window shopping (or maybe even splurge a little bit) for a wide range of artisanal merchandise and food items. Aside from drawing inspiration from the products you’ll find, you are also supporting local and budding artists and young entrepreneurs as well.

98B Collaboratory and HUB: Make Lab
  • Located at First United Building, 413 Escolta Street, Manila
  • Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM

3. Watch a Film
Launched in December 2015, Cinematheque Manila offers you an alternative to mainstream cinema. The theatre was designed to bring “Filipino films to the Filipinos” by featuring classic and contemporary Filipino movies. On some dates, foreign films are also shown at this 101-seater state-of-the-art theatre.


The Cinematheque also houses the Museo ng Pelikulang Pilipino and the National Film Archives of the Philippines.

Cinematheque Center Manila
  • 855 T.M. Kalaw Street, Ermita, Manila
  • Open from Tuesdays to Fridays, from 10:00 AM to 7:30 PM; and from Saturday to Sunday, from 1:00 PM to 7:30 PM
  • Ticket prices range from PHP 50.00 to PHP 100.00, depending on the films being shown. For embassy-sponsored film festivals, screenings are usually held for free.

4. Watch a Concert

Photo by: Angelyn Marquez via Wikimedia Commons

Paco Park is more than just a tranquil area in the heart of the city. Aside from being a popular place for weddings and some history (the park once served as the burial place of Dr. Jose Rizal), Paco Park is also a concert venue! Paco Park hosts “Paco Park Presents,” a free concert featuring various local and even foreign musicians and performers. The concert is held every Friday, starting at 6:00 PM.

Paco Park
  • Located at Belen, Paco, Manila
  • Open every day from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Entrance fee: PHP 10.00

5. Go on a Food Trip
When it comes to cheap but delicious food, Manila does not run out of options, and Binondo happens to be the perfect hotspot for that. You can find a lot of affordable and scrumptious offerings in the world’s oldest Chinatown. One of them is New Po Heng, a popular hole-in-the-wall known for its authentic lumpia, which costs only about PHP 70.00.

Photo by: Heidi Gutierrez via Wikimedia Commons

Another Chinatown favorite is Masuki, known for their steaming bowls of savory mami. A regular serving of the original mami costs PHP 130.00, while the special bowl is PHP 140.00. It is best paired with their asado siopao, which is only PHP 55.00.

New Po Heng Lumpia House
  • Located at Quintin Paredes Street, Binondo, Manila
  • Open every day, from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
  • Budget: PHP 100.00 per person

  • Located at Benavidez Street, Binondo, Manila
  • Open from Sunday to Thursday, 7:00 AM to 10:30 PM; and from Friday to Saturday, 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Budget: PHP 400.00 for two persons

  • Go to list of Manila resorts and hotels