Off the Beaten Path – 11 Unnusual Things to Do in Manila Philippines

I have been to Manila a couple of times. And while it’s true that it might seem overwhelming as a megalopolis, we still found a list of unnusual things to do. Actually, we didn’t find the list, we created it by going out and exploring, thinking what the usual tourist won’t do. And we did them. Here it is, Manila off the beaten path, unnusual things to do in Manila, Philippines.


  1. Trek on An Active Volcano on an Island where No One Lives

Wait, did anyone say volcano when talking about Manila? Yes, Taal volcano is just a couple of hours away from Manila and it can prove to be an incredible hike with amazing views over the crater, lake and the ocean! On your way up make sure you take a hat and plenty of water as it can get very hot, and possibly a mask, sometimes there’s a lot of sulphur coming to the surface.

2. Have The Ride of Your Life in A Jeepney

Where: anywhere on the street (just hail it) or Baclaran, Parañaque, Metro Manila, Philippines

You might see this sort of buses all over Asia, but in the Philippines there are some of the coolest ones. In FIlipino they call them Dyipne and they are buses redesigned by locals, some of them boasting their owner’s creativity to the point of art. Catching a ride in Manila on one of these is going to be unforgettable. A lot of them have loud music on and generally a good atmosphere,but it might be that you get on one where no one talks as they’re on their way to work. You can grab one from everywhere, as they don’t have fixed stops, or from the Baclaran Bus Terminal and it will let you go off where you need to.

3. Try Duck Embryo, Balut

Where: Lagazpi Sunday Market

Mostly sold by ambulant vendors, balut is one of the most extreme foods you can try in the Philippines, probably around the world and while in Manila. You can find balut even when you walk out of your hotel and wander about on the streets. But you can also try it in one of the bigger local food markets, such as Lagazpi Sunday Market.

4. Visit the Red Light District of Manila

Where: 5010 P Burgos, Makati, 1210 Metro Manila, Philippines

Located in the business district, the Makati City Red Light District has been a stopover for people coming here to have fun and enjoy Manila’s nightlife to the maximum. You might find some of the experiences to be weird or extreme, but worth it if you’re looking for a wild night out.

5. Ride The Metro Like a Local

Where: MRT-3 Ortigas station, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines

Who would go out and about in the heat by foot to try and find the metro station in Manila? Hmm probably no tourist ever. Well, if you’re up for a day full of adventure, hop on the MRT and leave the rest to chance. I suggest you bring a lot of water with you, sunglasses and a hat,as this trip could be longer than expected. There are no signals, usually no announcements or signs of the stops, so going on the metro here is going to be an unexpected journey.

6. Shop for Groceries at a Farmer’s Market

Where: 19-a General Araneta, Cubao, Quezon City, 1109 Metro Manila, Philippines

The interesting thing about Manila is that you can be in a business district and still go around local markets to shop for food, flowers or any other local products. The Farmer’s Market is an experience in itself, and a more organised market in the centre of Manila. It’s perfect if you’re looking for fresh fruits.

7. Take a Look at the World’s Largest Pair of Shoes

A weird visit to the worlds’ largest pair of shoe may turn out to be just a normal day in Manila. You can see them on display at the Marikina City Footwear Museum.

8. Eat Lechon at a Local’s Favorite

Where: 26th Street Corner 7th Ave, The Fort Entertainment Complex, BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY

Rico’s Lechon is the local’s favorite when it comes to the best traditional pork dish. Their recipe makes it probably one of the best lechon you’ll try and the restaurant is a family owned business brought from Cebu.

9. Wander Through Bazaars

Where: Quiapo Market

Such a colorful market to spend your afternoon in and shop for Chinese products. The market can be very crowded and I recommend you take care of your belonging while strolling around. If you’re not into shopping dubious brands, you can take photos of the colorful bazaars. Quiapo Market is one of the best and more diverse markets in Manila.

10. Explore the Old Manila

Where: Intramuros, Manila, 1002 Metro Manila, Philippines

Sometimes Manila can become overwhelming and all you want to do is escape to a part of town where you can peacefully walk around. One of those areas is Intramuros, the Old Manila.This is a district with a strong Spanish influence that’s worth a visit if you’re in Manila for more than a day. However, it might be a bit of a hassle getting there and spending some time in the taxi.Once you get there, you can either go by foot or go on a bamboo bike. You can start your tour at Fort Santiago and walk your way through the neighbourhood.

11. Marvel at Urban Art

Where: Bonifacio Global City

A great place to see urban art in Manila is the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. Local artists, as well as international ones, have put their works up on the walls for display. This street is also a good photo spot.

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