20 Best Cheap but Fun Date Ideas in Manila


Originally published at Guide to the Philippines

Running out of date ideas in Manila? We’ve got you covered in this article! Manila offers a ton of activities perfect for dates aside from just strolling in the mall or watching the latest movies. You don’t have to break the bank to give your special someone the best date ever.

From interactive museums, indoor parks, escape rooms, live music, food trips, rooftop bars, and more, check out this list of highly-recommended unique, fun, and cheap date ideas in Manila!

1. Cycle Around Intramuros on a Bamboo Bike

Want to go sightseeing with a fun twist? Go on a bambike express tour and explore the walled city of Intramuros together. This local initiative called “Bambike” was created to raise environmental awareness, urging travelers to reduce carbon footprints and support sustainable tourism.

Biking is fun, but it’s even better when you have someone close to you enjoying the cool breeze and sights of the city. For a more romantic bike date, treat your significant other to a bambike sunset tour.

2. Explore Old Manila on a Horse-Drawn Carriage

If you want to treat your mi amor to a classic date, exploring Intramuros and other areas of Old Manila or Intramuros by joining a horse-drawn carriage tour is a must!

You’ll be passing through various historical sites such as Fort Santiago, Casa Manila, and Rizal Park; a brief testament of our colonial past. Indeed, there’s nothing more enriching than learning about the heritage of Manila on a horse-drawn carriage tour with someone dear to you.

3. Visit Lakbay Museo

This interactive museum will fulfill your wanderlust as you’ll have the chance to discover the Philippines without leaving Manila! Walk hand-in-hand as you pass through various exhibits that showcase everything Filipino when you buy a Lakbay Museo ticket for two.

Make sure to take photos of each other (and together) when you pose in front of the 11 landmarks such as Bicol’s Mayon Volcano, Bohol’s Chocolate Hills, and the classic jeepney.

4. Go Museum-Hopping at National Museum Complex

Show off your extensive knowledge in art or learn about it together by treating your date to a National Museum of the Philippines tour. There are four major sections within the complex such as the National Museum of Arts, National Museum of Anthropology, National Museum of National History and Planetarium.

The good news is that you and your date can enjoy the various exhibits often included in National Museum tours in one day! Museum-hopping isn’t for everyone, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a chance! After all, you’ll have the chance to share your thoughts about the different pieces of artwork and artifacts within the complex.

5. Have a Sweet Time at Dessert Museum

Plan a sweet escape by buying a Dessert Museum ticket for two! It’s one of the most trending date spots in the metro.

They have 8 mouthwatering instagrammable rooms where you can jump, slide, and strike a pose together, such as the Marshmallow Room, Piñata Pit, and the Banana Beach. You can even surprise your date by buying him or her candy-themed gifts at their confectionery shop!

6. Break Out of an Escape Room

Get an adrenaline rush without having to leave the city! Figuring out how to navigate and break out of an escape room is an exciting way to bond with your date.

It will test both your communication and problem-solving skills, after all. There are plenty of escape rooms in Manila you can try such as Mystery Manila, Breakout Philippines, Asylum Manila, Left Behind Philippines, and many more.

7. Go on a Binondo Food Crawl

They say that the best way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, which is why a Binondo food tour is a great idea for a casual or spontaneous date.

While trying out Binondo tours, make sure to visit popular and hole-in-the-wall places, and try Filipino-Chinese delicacies such as dim sum, dumplings, stuffed shrimp, oyster cake, lumpia, milk tea, and the infamous Soup #5. After all, nothing breaks the ice more than great food and great conversation.

8. Play at Indoor Playgrounds

Feel like a kid again when you bring your date to indoor playgrounds, such as a trampoline park or ball pit! Jump up and down the different trampolines, dive into the huge foam pools, play basketball and dodgeball, and more when you visit the popular ones in Manila — Jumpyard and Trampoline Park.

You can also try diving into an adult ball pit by visiting Ball Pit Manila! Reminisce and share childhood stories with your date as you enjoy this unique activity.

9. Watch Movies at Unique Cinemas

Nothing is sweeter than watching a romantic flick or an action film (or both!) with someone you like, sharing popcorn and small fits of giggles throughout the movie. If you’re tired of the same old routine, spice it up by bringing your date to unique movie theaters, which are mostly located in Quezon City.

Looking for an indie film to watch? Go to Cinema ‘76. Fan of the classics? Visit Cinematheque Centre Manila. Want to have a foot spa while watching? Blue Day Water Spa is calling. Curl up with your loved one and get the full cinematic experience.

10. Have a Blast at Upside Down Museum

No need to conceptualize the perfect date in Manila as Upside Down Museum will take care of it! With 15-themed rooms, you have many options to choose from to get that creative pose with your partner.

Hold hands at the Cupid’s Corner, test your flexibility at the Levitation Area, practice domesticity at the World of Comfort, and much more. It’s one of the best family-friendly museums in Manila; a must-visit if you’re looking for laughs and a good time.

11. Channel Your Creativity at Sip & Gogh

Show your artistic side by bringing your date to Sip & Gogh, the first paint studio in the metro. They have various workshops; one of them is dedicated to couples wanting to learn more about each other through art. It’s a creative way to catch a glimpse of your significant other’s inner world.

The good news is they have multiple branches in Manila alone! If you have kids with you, you can bring them with you as the establishment is family-friendly. Cap off your date by keeping each other’s artworks, gushing about them while on your date in Manila, and hanging it on your wall after the date.

12. Have a Maginhawa Food Trip

If you’re tired of the usual restaurants and bars, bring your date to Maginhawa in Quezon City! It’s known for its mixture of food stalls, instagrammable diners, eclectic food parks, and a fusion of local and international delicacies.

Try out Friuli Trattoria’s Margherita pizza, Tomato Kick’s pesto marinara, Crazy Katsu’s chicken katsu, Van Gogh is Bipolar’s lover’s feast, or go to StrEAT (Maginhawa’s Food Park) and choose among the multiple food options. After all, sharing meals is an intimate way to get to know each other.

13. Hold Hands at Ayala Triangle Gardens

Ever wanted to walk hand-in-hand with someone you like in an urban city? Head to Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati. This natural oasis has a casual yet romantic ambiance, perfect for getting to know each other more in the middle of the business district.

What’s more, is that you can enjoy their lights and sounds show during the holiday season. It’s one of the best places to spend the Christmas season in the Philippines. Cap off the night by treating your date to dinner at a restaurant within the area.

14. Unwind and Relax at La Mesa Eco Park

Have some quality time at La Mesa Eco Park in Quezon City with your date! It’s an eco-park that features an abundance of flora and fauna.

Aside from admiring the beautiful gardens and towering trees, you can try some of the activities such as fishing, swimming, biking, horseback riding, bird-watching, butterfly trailing, archery, basketball, overnight camping, and many more. Whether it’s the first date or an anniversary, you can’t go wrong with bringing your date to this lovely nature park!

15. Stroll Around MOA By The Bay

Did you know that SM Mall of Asia (MOA) isn’t only famous for being the largest shopping mall in the Philippines? Their Bay Area (often called “Seaside”) is a popular date location for a majority of couples, and we couldn’t agree more.

You can stroll around, watch the sunset, admire the sea, dine in at one of the restaurants in the area, or try their amusement rides such as Barn Stormer, Bumper Car, and the MOA Eye.

16. Ride a Gondola at Venice Grand Canal Mall

Tired of the usual shopping malls in the metro? Take your date to Venice Grand Canal Mall, a picturesque lifestyle and shopping center that is reminiscent of Italy’s romantic city. It’s one of the most photographed locations and is a part of a Manila Instagram tour.

Stroll hand-in-hand, get some ice cream, secure a love lock, eat delicious pastry, and more with your date. You don’t have to go to Italy anymore for that romantic gondola ride!

17. Listen to Live Music

Going to a gig or chilling at a pub with live music is a great way to spend the night with your significant other. Not only will you get to discover each other’s music taste, but you’ll also be able to support OPM and local artists.

Some of the acclaimed bars and pubs in Manila that you can bring your date to are Saguijo, Route 196, ‘70s Bistro, Jess & Pat’s, Black Market, Single Origin, and others.

You can even serenade your date by participating in one of their open mic nights or suggest a song for the live band to sing. Trust us, it’s the perfect date spot to make your partner happy!

18. Chill at Rooftop Bars

Nothing screams “romantic” more than sumptuous food, a glass of wine, and astounding views of the city. Luckily, there are a lot of rooftop bars in the metro that offers a gorgeous panoramic view of Manila’s skyline.

Firefly Roofdeck Bar, Z Hostel Bar, and Antidote are just some of the popular ones in Makati. Treat your date to a lovely dinner and get to know each other more until sundown.

19. Play at Boardgame Cafes

Roll the dice and break the ice by bringing your favorite person to a board game cafe in the Manila area! It’s a great idea for casual dates and random hangouts as you get to test each other’s strategies and wits.

Some of these popular board game cafes you should visit include Play Nation Philippines, Shakes & Ladders, Ludo Boardgame Bar & Cafe, Chemistea, and more. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose! By the end of the date, both of you are winners for putting the effort into getting to know each other better.

20. Race your Heart out at Kart Racing Circuit

Get competitive without breaking the bank by trying out kart racing at Circuit Makati! It’s a challenging activity as you get to race your heart out in a 600-meter course for 12 minutes.

Racing gears are provided and your racing time will be recorded, giving you and your partner an opportunity to rematch should you want to have a second date. Have a smooth ride on the track together by trying out this fun and challenging activity.

Make Your Date Unforgettable!

Whether it’s a first date or your 10-year anniversary, you don’t need to spend a lot to plan an unforgettable date. It’s more of how you treat your significant other in ways that would draw him or her closer. At the end of the day, what really matters is having a laugh and sharing a meaningful conversation that both if you will remember for years.

Plan the perfect date by checking out some of the best Manila tours and activities in the Philippines. If you want a date outside the city, you can also check out day tours from Manila.

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