We often think of arts and culture as luxuries that we can’t afford. But, in cultural hubs like Manila, there are several free shows and cultural activities around town that you can enjoy. Don’t believe us? Check out this guide to a day of awesome things to experience in and around Paco, Manila.
Start the Day Right!
Begin your day with a good work out. Build up a sweat for free by catching a tai chi, arnis, or zumba lesson held regularly at Rizal Park (or Luneta). No time for a class? Take in the sights of this historical landmark. A good walk around this sprawling park will give you your exercise for the day, and your free daily dose of Vitamin D.
Afterwards, keep your energy up with a nostalgic visit to Museo Pambata (Children’s Museum). They often have dance and music performances and arts and crafts activities for free. It’s a treat for the young and the young at heart! Manila residents can get in for free every Tuesday (just present an ID with your residential address). Manila residents also enjoy a 50% discount on other days.
Score a free, healthy meal at the Khalsa Diwan Sikh Temple. Located right in Paco, Manila, the gurudwara or Sikh temple’s kitchen or langar is open to all, regardless of faith. Here, you can taste a free vegetarian meal of authentic Indian food, in an ambience that truly can’t be bought. Be sure to dress modestly and ladies should bring a scarf to cover their head. Don’t miss a cup of the masala tea at the end of your meal!
Beat the afternoon heat
As the noon time sun becomes way too oppressive to spend time outside, find refuge in the air conditioned halls of the National Museum. Open from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10 am to 5 pm, the museum is completely free for everyone, everyday. The complex is made up of three historical buildings. Marvel at the country’s history in the Anthropology building and see Juan Luna’s massive Spoliarium at the Fine Arts building. Also, explore the newest addition to the National Museum complex: the Museum of Natural History. This wing features the Philippines’ rich variety of flora and fauna–including a life-size replica of “Lolong” the crocodile–plus interactive activities and models. Who knew that something free could be so enriching?
Another cool afternoon option is checking out the Film Development Council of the Philippines’ Cinematheque. The complex has a 101-seater theater, film museum, classrooms, cafe, and a library. Showing everything from Filipino to foreign, classics to contemporary, the Cinematheque often offers free screenings, conferences, and workshops. Check Cinematheque Centre Manila for schedules.
Loop back to Rizal Park once the sun has gone down. There are free musical dancing fountain shows Mondays to Thursdays from 6 pm to 10 pm; and Fridays to Sundays from 6 pm to 12 mn.
Or end your day with a musical experience at Paco Park. Every Friday evening at 6 pm, Paco Park Presents holds musical concerts in an open air amphitheater. Orchestra, bands, singers, music school students, and dancers perform regularly at Paco Park Presents. Check out their schedule here.
Indeed, the best things in life are free and Manila is a city full of opportunities and possibilities for new experiences that won’t cost you a cent. The perfect place to live is where you can enjoy all of these. Avida Towers Intima is one such condo in the heart of Paco, Manila that situates you in the center of the city’s culture and arts scene. Now, all you need is some free time!