Exciting Activities in Manila That Let You Live Out Your Favorite Characters (Real or Fictional)

Admit it or not, you sometimes dream of becoming someone you are totally not. This can be a fictional character from your favorite movie or novel, a mythical creature or even a real-life hero. But what if I tell you that you there are exciting activities in Manila that let you experience some of those fantasies even for just a day?

Here are some unique and exciting activities in the metro that let you emulate your favorite characters:

1. Be a ninja warrior

Ninja Academy
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If jumping, climbing, vaulting and other sick stunts on American Ninja Warrior are your definition of fun, then you should consider taking up Parkour. Also known as Free Running, Parkour teaches you how to move fluidly and efficiently through various obstacle courses. If you’re down with the physical and mental challenge, visit Ninja Academy, the first and only indoor Parkour gym in Manila.

Ninja Academy
Locations:
#155 Dr. Sixto Antonio Ave., Brgy. Rosario, Pasig City
Warehouse 2 BNM7210 Group Corporation, Manila Doctors Village Road, Las Piñas City
Price: ₱350 (for adults), and ₱290 (for students)
Contact: +63 917 565 8945
Website: http://ninjaacademy.ph/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NinjaAcademyph/

2. Train like a super spy

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Pens, books, and magazines are just some of the seemingly harmless objects Jason Bourne can turn into deadly weapons. And even without weapons, he is just as badass with hand-to-hand combat. Those insanely cool and nasty fight scenes were based on the Filipino martial art called, Kali, also known as Arnis and Eskrima. Matt Damon loved the practical and destructive nature of Kali and chose it to build on his Jason Bourne character. If you want to wield improvised weapons like Jason Bourne or simply want to learn street-based self-defense, train in Kali at these venues:

Pekiti Tirsia Kali Manila
Location: Basketball Court of Blue Ridge B, Comet Loop, Blue Ridge, Project 4, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Price: Contact directly for details on their current rate
Contact: ptkmanila@gmail.com | (0939) 910 6450
Website: http://www.ptkmanila.com/

Combat Kali Manila
Locations: Different training venues
The Roxy Events Place and Party Venue
Stardanz Fitness Studio
White Space Mind and Body Wellness Studio
Price: Contact directly for details on their current rate
Contact: combatkalimanila@gmail.com | 0917 934 9268
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Combat-Kali-Manila-350462064995312/

3. Fly like an acrobat

Flying Trapeze Philippines
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Don’t believe anyone who says you need wings to fly. You don’t need such negativity in your life. And clearly, that negatron hasn’t seen Cirque du Soleil. If you’re keen to fly like an acrobat or swing ala Spiderman or Tarzan, book a trapeze lesson at Flying Trapeze Philippines. But if hoops and silks are more like your idea of soaring, you can try aerial arts at Polecats Manila. Wings not required. Just balls to defy gravity.

Flying Trapeze Philippines
Location: Federacion Drive corner 9th Ave. Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Price: ₱1,000 to 1,250 per class
Contact: hello@trapeze.ph | 0917-242-0331
Website: http://www.trapeze.ph/

Polecats Manila
Location: 22nd Floor, Strata 100, F. Ortigas Jr. Road (formerly Emerald), Ortigas, Pasig City
Price: ₱800 (walk-in rate for Aerial Hoop and Silks)
Contact: info@polecatsmanila.com | 631-0818 or 0917-700-7653
Website: http://polecatsmanila.com/

4. Shoot like a Navy SEAL

Stronghand Shooting Range
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US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle is known as the deadliest American sniper. Some of the best shooters in the world, Navy SEALs were the ones responsible for the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011. If you want to become a sharp shooter, whether for competitive or self-defense shooting, you can try target shooting at Stronghand Shooting Range, which is Asia’s first and only toxic free indoor shooting range. If you prefer a PNP-accredited firing range, then head over to Commander Shooting Range.

Stronghand Shooting Range
Location:
La Défense Building, 1660 E. Rodriguez Sr. Ave., Quezon City
Price: ₱500 (range fee which includes 1 target board, eye and ear protective rental) + ₱500 gun rental) + ₱10* (cost per non-toxic ammo, which starts at ₱10) + ₱1000 (lesson)
Contact: shootingrange@stronghandinc.com | 721-7174 or 0927-424-3855
Website: http://stronghandshootingrange.com/

Commander Shooting Range
Location: #6 12th Avenue, Murphy Cubao, Quezon City, 1109 Cubao, Quezon City
Price: ₱250 (Firing Range Entrance Fee) + ₱200-500 (Gun Rental) + ₱9-35 each ammo.
Contact: 709-4076 or 912-2487
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Commander-Shooting-Range/313551155327597

5. Show off your detective skills

Are you a wannabe Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew? Do you enjoy cracking tricky puzzles and riddles? Fan of murder mysteries? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you’ll surely get a kick out of being locked in a room decoding puzzles to exit. Escape rooms are some of the newest and most exciting activities in Manila. Be sure to gather your deduction-obsessed squad and put your detective skills to the test at these interactive escape rooms:

Mystery Manila
Location: Unit 9A JW Plaza Building, 195 Eulogio Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Quezon City
Price: Starts at ₱550/pax for 1 to 2 pax, ₱500/pax for 3 pax, ₱450/pax for 4 pax and ₱400/pax for groups of 5 or more
Contact: 501 2824 or 0917 582 08 08
Website: http://www.mysterymanila.com/

Breakout Philippines
Location: Paragon Plaza, Ground floor Reliance St., corner EDSA, Mandaluyong City
Price: Starts at ₱600/pax for 1 to 2 pax, ₱500/pax for 3 to 4 pax, and ₱400/pax for 5 or more
Contact: support@breakout.com.ph | 0927-2571602 or 0928-8214531
Website: https://breakout.com.ph/

The Escape Hunt Experience Manila
Location: 5773 Ebro Street, Barangay Poblacion, Makati City
Price: Starts at ₱1,000/pax for 2 pax, ₱850/pax for 3 pax, ₱750/pax for 4 pax, ₱650/pax for 5 pax
Contact: manila@escapehunt.com | 751 9124 or 0915 596 8989
Website: http://manila.escapehunt.com/

6. Channel your inner Katniss or Hawkeye

exciting activities in manila: Sagittarium
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The government isn’t likely ever going to launch a Hunger Games-like entertainment. And the Avengers won’t likely need another archer anytime soon. But you never know, right? So if bow and arrow are your weapons of choice, then try hitting the bullseye at these archery schools:

Gandiva Archery
Location: Unit 703-705 One Corporate Center, Julia Vargas corner Meralco Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Price: ₱980 for 1 hour trial package
Contact: 638 8771
Website: http://www.gandiva.com.ph/

Archery Academy
Location: 5/F Intrawest Center, #33 Annapolis St. Brgy. Greenhills, Brgy. San Juan, Metro Manila
Price: ₱550 per head for 1 hour class pass
Contact: thearcheryacademy@yahoo.com | 0917-803-7422
Website: http://thearcheryacademy.wixsite.com/thearcheryacademy

Sagittarium Archery
Location: 4th Floor A & A Bldg, #37 Scout Borromeo St., South Triangle, Quezon City
Price: Non-members using range equipment: ₱600/hour (Weekdays), ₱750/hour (Weekends)
Contact: 576-0774 or 0915 1206966
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sagittarium.archery

7. Swim like a mermaid or merman

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Now, if you resonate more with Ariel, the Little Mermaid, then swap your legs for a monofin and try mermaid swimming aka mermaiding. These mermaid swimming schools in Manila will help make your Dyesebel (or merman) dreams come true:

Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy
Location: Various Metro Manila venues
Price: ₱1,500- 3,500 (depending on the lesson)
Contact: mermaidphilippines@gmail.com | 917 324 3947 or 0917 845 2752
Website: http://www.philippinemermaidswimmingacademy.com/

The Mermaid Institute
Locations: Various Metro Manila venues
Price: ₱1,500 intro session (1 hour 30 min of basic mermaiding)
Contact: roxybarrios88@yahoo.com | 0918-926-3830 or 921-28-48
Website: http://www.mermaidinstitute.com/

5 Fun Weekend Destinations You Can Reach by Bus from Manila

by Julia Escaño

It’s the weekend, and there is another mega sale in one – or God forbid, all – of the city’s many malls. You can already imagine the traffic that is going to lock the city down. The thought alone is stressful enough. So what better way is there to deal with Manila’s chaos than not having to deal with it at all? Perhaps this is the perfect excuse to head out of town for the weekend to properly unwind.

There are vast options for weekend destinations near Manila that you can reach by bus. Whether you decide to go north or south, there are beautiful outdoor destinations, cultural sites, and (best of all) delicious local flavors to enjoy. If a quick trip for a breath of fresh air sounds appealing, check out these awesome spots waiting just around the corner.

Angeles & Magalang, Pampanga

Start with a memorable meal at Bale Dutung
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Photo by louis r | CC BY

Start the weekend right with a 10+-course degustation by Chef Claude Tayag at his homey Angeles space called Bale Dutung. Chef Claude is most known for hosting Anthony Bourdain on his first visit to the Philippines. Now, part of the menus offered at Bale Dutung are the dishes Chef Claude prepared for Anthony Bourdain himself. Also offered are courses highlighting lechon, Kapampangan specialties, and Christmas dishes. The well-paced degustation is a whole day affair, starting at lunch until mid-afternoon.

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Wind down with some R&R at Abe’s Farm
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As if your day hasn’t been indulgent enough, Abe’s Farm is the perfect place to get away from it all. Luxuriate in their spa treatments and massage services, stroll in their beautifully manicured grounds, and (if you still have space for it) enjoy the delectable, nutritious dishes at their restaurant. While you get pampered, the kids can enjoy the pool and various ball courts. Finally, stretch your legs after a long, “hard” day at any of their huts, suites, and well-appointed rooms.

Website | Facebook

Finish it off with family fun at Zoocobia Fun Zoo
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Here’s something more exciting for the whole family. Have close encounters with beautiful tropical birds, learn about locally endemic animals, or go on a gravity car for a boost of adrenaline. Zoocobia’s “Zooc” is patterned after the Skyline Luge in Sentosa, Singapore and makes for one thrilling ride. You can also take your family on the giant slides or get lost together in the Maze. As one of the weekend destinations you can reach by bus, Pampanga has it all: great food, family fun, and the perfect escape!

Website | Facebook

San Felipe, Zambales

Nature Trip at Anghalo Falls
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If you’re looking for easy but outdoorsy weekend destinations near Manila that you can reach by bus, this outdoorsman’s heaven may just have what you need. For a chill hike with a high reward, check out Anghalo Falls in Liw-Liwa. There are two ways to get to the falls: the wider and shorter trail; and the more exciting one lined with tall grass and sometimes flooded by the next stream. At the end are the gushing waters of the falls and the cool, blue pool perfect for swimming in after breaking a sweat.

Recharge at Mommy Phoebe’s Place
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San Felipe is most famous for its surf, but it’s also gaining repute for its vibe and atmosphere. One such legend in this town is Mommy Phoebe’s Place. It started as a hole-in-the-wall cafeteria years ago and has evolved into a San Felipe staple. It is now frequented by surfers, boarders, sightseers, and passersby alike. After your hike, it’s the perfect spot to refuel with yummy comfort food prepared by Mommy Phoebe herself.

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Hang loose at Circle Hostel
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Rest your tired soles (pun intended!) after a day on your feet at Circle Hostel Zambales. It’s a cozy and casual joint where guests chill out and hang out while surfing their days away. What makes Circle Hostel unique are the hammocks where guests can stretch out and sleep. Just imagine the cool sea breeze as you swing lazily into slumber. After a good night’s rest, you can spend the day riding the waves and getting stoked with the hostel’s experienced staff. It’s the perfect weekend destination if you’re looking for some good vibes.

Website | Facebook

Bacoor, Cavite

Go with the flow at Flow House Manila 

Flow House is a fast-growing international chain famous for their Flow Rider. It looks like a slide and a wave pool combined and has water flow mimicking that of surf breaks. It’s a controlled surfing machine perfect for those who want to get a taste of riding the waves in a safe environment. Spend a day on your board at Flow House Manila mastering your balance, perfecting your stance, and getting your stoke on.

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Cool down at Digman Halo-halo
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There are a hundred thousand versions of halo-halo out there, but consensus has it that Digman’s is one of the best around. It has been around since 1969 and continues to make waves to this day. They are so popular, in fact, that even personalities and celebrities visit the small, unassuming restaurant for their specialty. Be ready when you visit though because, on any given day, Digman’s can be filled to the brim, just like their refreshing concoctions.

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Get in touch with the past at Bahay na Tisa
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The Bahay na Tisa has been dubbed as the “First Malacañan.” Before Emilio Aguinaldo transferred to Malolos, Bulacan, the seat of power was right in this house. It was originally owned by Juanito and Candida Cuenca and was used by Aguinaldo for the first 3 months of his presidency. It is widely believed that the first draft of the Philippine Constitution was written here with Apolinario Mabini. At present, the house serves as the residence of the Cuencas’ descendants while remaining one of Bacoor’s most beloved heritage sites.

Lipa, Batangas

Inject some sweetness at Milea Bee Farm
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Expand your horizons in this Lipa City bee farm. At Milea, you can participate in lectures about anything and everything bees and watch their dynamics firsthand during a tour of the farm. Fresh lunch prepared by the small staff is also served for everyone to enjoy. The passionate owners entertain guests themselves to add a more personal touch to the experience. Weekend destinations you can reach by bus are hardly ever this unique and educational! Just be sure to make reservations ahead of time as visits have to be confirmed in advance.

Website | Facebook

Go on a historical city tour 
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Lipa has a rich and vibrant history. Walk around the city center and admire many well-preserved structures from Spanish times all the way to the post-war years. You can visit Casa de Segunda, the well-preserved mansion of Jose Rizal’s first love. The Museo ng Katipunan meanwhile houses original memorabilia including one of the Katipunan’s blood-stained flags. The San Sebastian Cathedral is also a must-see for history buffs, for its 18th Century architecture. Finally, the Peace Tower is a post-WWII commemoration of our friendship with Japan.

Meditate at the miraculous Mt. Carmel Church
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If you are religious, a visit at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church is the perfect round-out for a weekend in Lipa. This church built right after WWII is famous for 2 supposed miracles that occurred here within days of each other. First was the apparition of the Virgin Mary to Carmelite novice Teresita Castillo as Mary Mediatrix of All Grace. A few days later, a mysterious shower of rose petals occurred. Thanks to these, Mt. Carmel is a popular spot for the faithful to connect with their spirituality.

Near the National Highway, Laguna

Rough it out at Hulugan Falls

Looking for adventurous weekend destinations near Manila that you can reach by bus? A few hours from Manila (plus a muddy 45-minute hike) is the Hulugan Falls. It’s a towering marvel at an estimated 234 ft. tall, with the water stream cascading forcefully down. Its fresh mountain waters are perfect for a dip after a long hike. There are no facilities like picnic cottages around, so for nature lovers who like their outdoors untouched, this is the perfect starting point.

Recharge at Kape Kesada Art Gallery and Café 
kape kesada: weekend destinations near manila
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About 45 minutes from Hulugan Falls, in the town of Paete, is this quaint art gallery cum café. The rustic café carries a variety of blends and creates coffee concoctions fit for even the most refined caffeine junkies. They also serve light snacks, all of which you can enjoy amidst the colorful local art displayed. If you’re lucky, you can even get a short guided tour of the place from the resident curator. Paete is also a great pit stop for the night before another adventure the next day.

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Comfortable adventure at Panguil River Eco Park
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For an outdoor experience without the inconveniences, check out Panguil River Eco Park. It features a scenic jungle trek to Ambon-ambon Falls where fresh mountain water for swimming and wading awaits. You can also try going on a balsa to cross to the falls or go tubing down the river. Once it’s rest time, cottages for rent line the way where you and your group can rest and relaxation. Overnight stays and camping are also allowed in the park for corresponding fees.

Main Image by Eugene/ CC BY

Awesome Adventures in Tarlac Perfect for Every Kind of Outdoorsman

by Julia Escaño

Sometimes, the best adventures are found right outside your door – or at least kind of close to it. Take Tarlac, for instance. It is only 2.5 hours from Manila and is a downright mecca of exciting activities. Sure, there is the famous Pinatubo trek, which tourists flock to, year in and year out. But not many are aware that there is so much more to see. Rappelling? Canoeing? Whitewater rafting? There is no shortage of outdoor pursuits in this province north of Manila. If Mother Nature calls out to you on a weekly basis, check out these fun activities in Tarlac that will surely quench your thirst for thrills.

From Above

Fly high on a helicopter ride

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Few things truly capture the phrase “experience of a lifetime,” but a private helicopter ride over the lahar canyons of Tarlac and the turquoise crater of Mt. Pinatubo is one of them. PhilJets, a renowned aeronautics company, offers private charters over the famous volcano. Guests can experience views few have seen, and appreciate one of the country’s most iconic destinations from a breathtaking perspective. PhilJets offers tours ranging from 1 hour and 25 minutes to up to 3 hour flights including a tour of Taal Volcano.

PhilJets
Contact: (+632) 851-0639
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Climb peaks and down waterfalls

Get your hands dirty and bones achy in a good way at San Clemente, Tarlac. Between a 2-day traverse to the peak of Mt. Damas and a 160-feet rappel down Ubod Falls, there’s plenty here to pump you up and cool you down. Mt. Damas is said to be one of, if not the most scenic spot in Tarlac with panoramic views of Mt. Pinatubo, Sawtooth Mountains, the Zambales-Tarlac and Tarlac-Pangasinan mountain ranges, and the plains of Tarlac. Outfits like the Mansibang Outdoor Institute organize regular climbs to these destinations.

Mansibang Outdoor Institute
Contact: (+63) 927-1377533
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On Wheels

Conquer trails on an ATV

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Looking for a more hardcore way to navigate the lahar? How about going on an ATV or a dune buggy through the various trails in Capas? Capas ATV Adventure offers 3 rides and 4 trails so you can choose your adventure. Beginners can get a feel for the ride on a 45-minute drive along easy lahar trails. More experienced (or daring) riders can choose between Maruglo Falls or Tambo Lake. And the truly hardcore can go on the 7-hour long journey to the Pinatubo crater. The deep rivers, jutting boulders, and rough terrain may wreak havoc on your booty, but the adrenaline rush and stunning views of lahar canyons would more than makeup for any discomfort. We promise.

Capas ATV Adventure
Contact: (+63) 917-5714357
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Quench your need for speed on go-karts

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If you’re less about the dust in your hair and more about the wind in your face, check out Kart City Tarlac (KCT). It’s a great spot for families with kids or barkadas who are kids at heart. The long track was newly re-asphalted in 2015, making it a smoother and faster surface. After basking in the adrenaline rush of racing at top speed, visitors can replenish their energy at Kart City’s al fresco dining hall. And if after all that you still have wind, private karaoke rooms are also for rent where you and the gang can sing your hearts out.

Kart City Tarlac
Contact:  (+6345) 491-4053
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In Water

Navigate whitewater on a kayak

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No need to drive far to the mountains of Kalinga or fly all the way to Mindanao to get your share of raging rapids. Just a few hours from Manila are Tarlac’s Camiling and Bulsa Rivers: the new hotspot for whitewater adventures. Unlike rafting, Tarlac’s version makes use of kayaks good for 2-3 people. All guests are paired with one guide each to help them steer their kayaks through the Class I and II rapids. It’s perfect for beginners, and even families since the youngest age accepted is 8 years old. Outfits like Rapid Stream, one of the original tour providers in the area, offer yummy, home-cooked comfort food to reenergize you after the feat. It’s P1800 per person inclusive of lunch, merienda, guide, kayak, and safety gears. The whole ride lasts for 2-3 hours and a total distance of 7.2km. This is a seasonal activity, usually July- October, so make sure to call and check if you can go rafting on your dates.

Rapid Stream
Contact: (+63) 921-5824789, (+63) 917-5843278
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On Land

Experience nature in every way

Whether you want to get in the water (kayak in the lagoon, swim in the Olympic-sized pool), go up in the air (zipline), get on two wheels (bike), or stretch your legs (stroll, airsoft), Tarlac Recreational Park has something for you. True to its name, this expansive park is designed for a day of chilling and taking it easy. You have the option to jump from one activity to the other, or not participate in any activity at all and instead just enjoy the peaceful grounds. It’s perfect for family picnics, barkada activities, and even corporate events.

Tarlac Recreational Park
Contact: (+63) 9983544261
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The Pinatubo experience

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Photo by Ian Amane | CC BY

No list of outdoor adventures in Tarlac is complete without mentioning Mt. Pinatubo. What was responsible for one of the country’s biggest natural disasters is now also one of the biggest tourist draws. Drive through magnificent lahar canyons, giant boulders, cool streams, and a seemingly alien landscape before reaching the deep turquoise waters of the mountain’s crater. At the top, you can rest in the cabana or have a beach-side picnic if the weather permits. Just be careful, though, since swimming is no longer permitted in the crater due to drastic changes in depth and temperature. There are now tens of companies organizing trips to Pinatubo every day. One of the best regarded is Trail Adventours, which also hold other outdoor expeditions around the country.

Trail Adventours
Contact: (+63) 802-3401, (+63) 9178116654
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How I Turned My Canadian Visa Rejection to a 4-Year Multiple Entry

by Julia Escaño

Canada’s Filipino community is arguably one of the fastest growing Filipino diaspora in the world. When we talk about Canada, it’s usually associated with family and friends who have already migrated there or are currently trying to. But despite having so many connections, acquiring a Canadian visa for Filipinos remain a tough and stringent process– especially those of us who don’t quite “fit the mold”.

In May of 2015, I tried applying for a Canadian Temporary Resident Visa. It was my first time applying for a visa in a Western country, and applying as a solo traveler. Up until then, I only had a multiple entry Japanese visa and stamps to 11 other countries in the region. I hoped this would suffice in showing the kind of lifestyle I led. In spite of these, I had no visas to any OECD countries (US, Schengen, Australian), which held more weight in their eyes.

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From the get-go, I knew my chances were slim. I was young, single, had no dependents, no property, and worst, I worked as a freelancer online. That meant I can work anywhere, as long as there’s internet. I was also traveling with my Canadian boyfriend, for the purpose of meeting his family. Essentially, there was nothing on the documents I submitted showing ties to home and strong reasons for coming back.

After two weeks, I got the letter from the Canadian Embassy saying that I did not meet their requirements. My application for a Canadian visa was denied. It said that I failed to establish to the Immigration officer’s satisfaction that I will not overstay. It ended by advising against reapplying until my “situation has changed substantively.” With the number of Filipinos abusing admission, it’s no surprise that more is required from us to prove our integrity. This made the rejection even more frustrating, knowing that I had no intentions to violate their laws.

After a lot of thought and with the help of my boyfriend, I consulted with a Canadian immigration lawyer as to what my options were. The idea of ending a lifestyle I loved for an 8-to-5 office job just to get a tourist visa seemed extreme. I needed advice on how to prove that I was an honest and honorable traveler, even if I didn’t fit the mold of what they considered trustworthy.

With the lawyer’s counsel, I reapplied after two months and was granted a single entry Canadian visa. I visited for 6 weeks, abiding by the limits of the TRV. A few months after my return to the Philippines, I reapplied again and was granted a multiple entry TRV, valid for as long as my passport. With this, I now have the freedom of movement and flexibility to travel whenever I wanted, without having to go through the process again.

Are you planning to apply for a Canadian Visa but aren’t sure if you’ll qualify? Check out the steps I took to ensure that I presented myself in the best light. Though visa approvals and refusals are always a case to case basis, it never hurts to cover all bases.

Request a letter from a Canadian MP 

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If the person you are visiting is a permanent resident or citizen, they can contact the office of their local Member of Parliament and ask for assistance. The moment he found out about my Canadian visa refusal, my boyfriend immediately emailed his MP asking for advice. He also described at length why he thought the decision was unfair. Honestly, I initially scoffed at him for such an idealistic and seemingly naïve reaction. To my surprise though, he got a response from the office within a day. Not only did they entertain our concerns, they also enumerated the ways they could help out! It was stunning.

The MP’s office suggested that we acquire the detailed notes made by the consul who reviewed my application. Then we should forward it to them for assessment. Once they had all the information they needed, they offered to give me a letter signed by the MP herself. It was essentially a character reference, stating that they find me trustworthy and would vouch for my honesty in abiding by the rules of my visa. So yes, this government office that had nothing to do with me did all this to help, because a constituent asked for it. Also, this is all free of charge.

Acquire you reviewing consul’s notes

You can acquire this through the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website. For 5 CAD , a citizen can get the any information they want through email, a digital file on a CD, or a printout sent via snail mail. It took two weeks to receive the notes, which provided a lot of insight. It showed me how I was perceived by the officer and what he found lacking in my papers.

This crucial guide I built from my second application allowed me to address all the weak points in my documents. For instance, he found it positive that I have extensive travel experience, but he found it a red flag that I was traveling with my boyfriend. Knowing this, I had a clear idea which aspects of my life I needed to expound on, and which I could relax about.

Illustrate why your life is worth coming back to

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Unfortunately, in most cases, the sole basis of the merit of one’s life in the Philippines is money reflected in documents. This is why finances and investments are the major factor when being granted or denied a visa. Not only is this unfair, it is also very limiting. We Filipinos especially know how great things can be, money or no.

Thus in my second application, I included in my cover letter a detailed description of my life. I talked about my tight-knit family and how we were all living comfortably in the Philippines; my career and the time it took to build a network as a freelancer; my home and how much I loved it; and my lifestyle as a “digital nomad”, and how much emotional investment and sacrifice I put into making it possible. I then emphasized that none of these things are worth sacrificing, especially to just become an illegal immigrant.

By doing this, I was able to show the officer something that bank documents and ITR’s cannot show: relationships, personal values, and priorities. This showed me as a real person with a happy life here – not just another Filipino trying to leave the country.

Get citizens to vouch for you

Immigration officers put a lot of stock on the word of Canadian citizens, especially if they have good records and are upstanding individuals. The underlying purpose of a letter of invitation isn’t only to assure that you have a place to go, but also to give them information about who will be responsible for you during your stay.

If you can ask for letters from several people, particularly all the ones you will be visiting, it will give the officers a good idea of how to track you. The more open you are about all your plans, the more they will trust that you have nothing to hide. If Canadian citizens can confirm these plans and put their good names on it, then even better.

In my case, I included letters from my boyfriend and his parents. They stated not only their plans for my stay, but also emphasized how they fully intended to take responsibility for me and watch over me while I was in Canada. Not only did this show the immigration officer that there were Canadians expecting me, but also that they’d be keeping an eye on me. According to the lawyer, this is something they find very reassuring.

All told I submitted a mountain of documents. While some weren’t necessary, they painted a more complete picture of me and why I deserved a Canadian tourist visa.

Manila Attractions and Activities Beyond Your Usual Intramuros Tour

Intramuros is almost synonymous to Manila attractions. It’s one of the first tourist spots that comes to mind when we think about places to see in the metro. And it’s not hard to understand why. Intramuros is quintessentially the old Manila—forever frozen in #ThrowbackThursday with its rustic, Spanish houses and centuries-old churches. However, beyond the walls of Intramuros await the new Manila we’ve come to love, despite its countless quirks. If you’re done with Intramuros, here are some other exciting attractions and activities in Manila:

1. Go on a Binondo food trip and or Dampa seafood tour

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When you smell Chinese spices and incense wafting through the air, you know you’ve reached the land of legit dimsum and dumplings in Manila. Known as the world’s oldest Chinatown, Binondo is a go-to stop for those spur-of-the-moment Chinese cravings—from hakaw, hopia, mami to lumpia and more. Long before Tim Ho Wan and Din Tai Fung invaded Manila, there were Wai Ying, Dong Bei and many other value for money and belly-approved hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Binondo food trip is quite easy to DIY. But if you prefer a guided and trivia-filled tour, then book with The Big Binondo Food Wok!

If fresh seafood sounds more palatable to you, a dampa or seafood market would be your best bet. This is perfect for big groups, balikbayans, and foreign friends or small groups and duos with big appetites. Can’t go wrong with buttered shrimps, baked mussels, and scallops, and salmon sinigang. Southerners can visit Seaside Macapagal in Pasay or D’ Original Dampa in Parañaque to satiate their urgent seafood needs. While Northerners can give Dampa sa Farmer’s Market in Cubao or Dampa sa Libis a go.

2. Experience the Stunning Manila Bay sunset

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Manila Bay is most famous for its glorious sunsets. As such, many locals and foreigners come to Manila Bay to witness one. And it’s pretty easy to catch on your own. Just head over to Roxas Boulevard or SM MOA by the Bay around the magic hour and get ready to snap an IG-worthy sunset. But if you want to upgrade the experience, get a buffet dinner reservation at Sofitel’s Sunset Bar. It offers arguably one of the most scenic settings for sunset viewing in the city. Bae will surely approve. You can also get on a boat and savor the amber skies and whiskey sun together with other sunset worshippers on board. Take tons of selfies if you will. Or you can put away your phone for a second and enjoy that dreamy, fleeting moment with your companion(s). Besides, not everything should be documented and broadcasted. After feasting your eyes with the golden hour, time to feast on tasty dinner spread as you cruise along Manila Bay. Two companies that regularly offer Manila Bay sunset tours are Prestige Cruises and Sun Cruises.

3. Meet and greet with aquatic friends at Manila Ocean Park

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No need to fly to Hong Kong to see Ocean Park. The Manila Ocean Park is a state-of-the-art facility where you can watch and in some cases, interact with different sea animals—from fishes, sting rays, sharks and more. This aquatic theme park takes pride of its Oceanarium, which is Asia’s largest viewing tunnel and where you can be practically surrounded by marine life. Shows featuring sea lions, penguins and birds are also a must-see for both kids and kids at heart.

4. Get mind-blown at The Mind Museum

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If science bored you in grade school, you’d never look at it the same way again once you step inside The Mind Museum. This world-class science museum is the ultimate playground for the science geeks, history freaks and perpetually curious minds. It boasts of 250 interactive exhibits and programs discussing some of the marvels of the world, universe rather—like an atom, technology, earth, life, nature, space, etc. Explore the Mind Museum to rediscover your child-like sense of wonder that you’ve probably lost when adulting kicked in. Don’t forget to download for free The Mind Museum’s mobile app to further boost your science learning and experience.

5. Have a good laugh at comedy and improv shows

Pinoys are happy campers. We seem to find humor even in the nastiest situations. No wonder we are consistently ranked as some of the happiest people on the planet. If your day sucks and internet memes just won’t do it, watch a stand-up comedy show and get set to LOL. Make sure you have gastritis meds handy for all those kabag-inducing jokes and punch lines. And oh, some venues have open mic sessions. So if you’re an aspiring comedian yourself, give it a try and who knows this might be the break you’ve been looking for to carve out a new career path or side gig. Check out Comedy Manila for their upcoming comedy shows Comedy Manila’s website and Facebook page.

Also worth seeing are improv shows by SPIT (Silly People’s Improv Theater) Manila if you like pun-filled spontaneous acts. Not your usual, run-of-the-mill comedy performances, improv shows have zero script and rehearsals, which is quite refreshing. More interactive, too, as the audience are encouraged to engage. Check out Spit Manila’s upcoming gigs: Spit Manila’s website and Facebook page.

6. Get drunk with Manila PubCrawl

When comedy is not enough to cure all the pains or stresses you have, you might need a little reinforcement in the form of alcohol. And party is most likely your definition of remedy. Say no more. Just join Manila PubCrawl’s bar hopping activities, where you can meet, play games and dance with party animals from around the globe, and of course, get hammered to your liver’s content. Cheers! From Boracay’s white sands to Makati’s tall skyscrapers, PubCrawl remains true to its slogan, “Turn Strangers into Friends.” No doubt, you’ll wake up the next day hungover and a few friends richer.

Main image by Rolandave Bola/ CC BY

12 Cheery Events In Manila This Week

Here at Ellry, we’re all about making everyday feel like an adventure. We’ve got ideas on how to make the most of your time, even when you’re not leaving town! Find out what’s happening in Manila with Ellry’s weekly guide.

50 Shades50 Shades! The Musical Parody

If the book had your toes curling with excitement and the movie got you ants in your pants, the hilarious, sensual stage show 50 Shades! The Musical Parody will definitely make you roll on the floor giggling, a comeback after its productive run early this year. Let your holidays sizzle with laughter through this musical theater interpretation of the bestselling novel, which includes pleasurable dance acts and 11 original songs like “I Don’t Make Love”, “How Much Can I Take?”, and “There’s a Hole Inside of Me”. A word of warning though, it’s strictly for those 18 years and above.

December 15 – 16, 2016 | 8:00PM
December 17, 2016 | 4:00PM and 8:00PM
Music Museum, Level-C, Shoppesville Arcade, Greenhills, San Juan
Tickets: Php 1,200 (Balcony); Php1,800 (Orchestra); Php2,400 (VIP)
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5 Rooftop Bars in the Metro That Won’t Break Your Budget

by Geninna Ariton

When you hear rooftop bars, you immediately think, ka-ching ka-ching, you need to bring a lot of moolah because it ain’t going to be cheap.  And why shouldn’t it be expensive? Most rooftop bars in the city will leave you breathless. Especially with sunset and city views that you can only see if you own a top floor condo in a highrise tower. And these rooftop bars are usually found in hotels, or fancy office towers meant to target the people working there whose salaries go higher than a thousand bucks a month.

But don’t fret, we’ve found these rooftop bars that will let you enjoy local beers (from P50- P85) and cocktails (less than P230 per glass) on a budget. Imagine that! Without further ado, here are rooftop bars all around the metro where you can enjoy affordable drinks and scenic views of the city.

BunkBar

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This place has the cheapest drinks, ever! Local beers are just P50 and cocktails range from P80-P120. You cannot get a better deal than this. Plus there is this artsy vibe, complemented by the astonishing murals and the decor. They have bean bags and banigs if you feel like lying down and watching the stars. Not to mention they have events like poetry reading and live entertainment, just check out their FB page.

The location isn’t hard to find either. Although there will be no signs up front, look for Jovan Bldg. along Shaw Blvd., in front of PCSO. Do not be misled by the guards and do not ask them about opening hours and such. Bunk is open from 5pm, and the last call is 12mn, though you are welcome to stay until 3am, Tuesdays to Sundays.

Address: 8th Floor, Jovan Building, Shaw Blvd, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
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Z-Hostel Roofdeck

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Yes, it’s a hostel. And yes, they have a rooftop bar that is open to the public. And another yes, there’s nothing like watching the sunset against the Makati skyline while sipping your drinks and enjoying the melting pot of nationalities. And they have events, guest DJs, live bands, and so much more.

Local beers cost P85 while cocktails start at P160 on an average night, though you can get these cheaper during happy hour, which is Mondays to Thursdays 5pm to 8pm. You’d also have to get an RFID, which is a bracelet that you top up at the check-in counter, the minimum amount is P150 + P50 for the bracelet. You’ll be using this to purchase the drinks at the bar. To get here, you’d have to reach Kalayaan Avenue in Makati and enter Don Pedro St., the one with a Mini-Stop shop at the corner.

Address: 5660, Don Pedro, Makati, Metro Manila
Phone number: +63 927 965 2692
Website | Facebook

Roof Deck Bistro

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Though it’s more of a sit-down restaurant serving sumptuous Filipino dishes, the reason why this place is included in the list is that of their really cheap drinks. Local beer will set you back a mere P60, and cocktail pitchers, YES, pitchers, starts at P230. All the other cocktail prices mentioned in this list are individual glasses, except for this one.

The ambiance is soothing as well, after hiking up the stairs to the roof, don’t worry it ain’t that high, you’ll be welcomed by traditional capiz windows and lanterns and wooden decor all over. They also have live entertainment on certain days. The Roof Deck Bistro is located at the Times Square Bldg., Examiner St. corner Times St. in Quezon City. They’re open Mondays to Saturdays, 5pm to 2am.

Address: 57 Times Square Bldg, Examiner Cor. Times Sts., West Triangle, QC
Phone number: +63 915 818 6018
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Dencio’s

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We all know good old Dencio’s. Local beers are priced from P55 and cocktails start at P100. They even serve unlimited cocktails for P305! Now tell us if that isn’t a great deal. But you might be wondering why Dencio’s is on this list and which one are we talking about.

Tucked away in Capitol GreenStreet, this branch of Dencio’s has a great view of the Capitol Hills Country Club. It’s roof deck location, al fresco dining and of course, affordable booze is why you should visit it. To reach Dencio’s, head on over to HillsRoof Deck, Capitol Greenstreet, Capitol Hills Drive in Quezon City.

Address: HillsRoof Deck, Capitol Greenstreet, Capitol Hills Drive, Old Balara, QC
Phone number: +63 2 952 9356
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Verona

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Don’t get taken aback by the location; Verona is on the 23rd floor of Enderun managed Privato Hotel. Sounds flashy and posh, and yes it is. But it doesn’t mean lashing out of budget while at the bar. Local beer starts at P75 and cocktails are priced at P165. It’s a great deal, especially with views of the Taguig skyline.

The decor is classic. You have comfortable couches facing the view. Though there’s no live entertainment here, you will find yourself wanting a place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and just want to sip on your drinks and watch the sunset. Verona is open from 11am to 12mn, Mondays til Saturdays, and only until 10pm every Sunday. The hotel is located at 706 Shaw Boulevard, Ortigas, Pasig City.

Address: 706 Shaw Boulevard, Pasig, 1605 Metro Manila
Phone number: +63 2 318 5888
Website | Facebook

Where to Best Experience Christmas Spirit in the Philippines

Saying Christmas season is a huge deal among Filipinos is an understatement. Being a predominantly Catholic country, the Philippines just can’t help but live and breathe Christmas. We excitedly start the countdown as soon as the “ber” months roll in. The anticipation further builds up when radio stations start filling the airwaves with Jose Mari Chan’s Christmas songs. And for some reason, we automatically start LSS-ing to its catchy tunes, much to our dismay or guilty pleasure. Then Christmas-themed events and bazaars, both old and new, begin to pop-up everywhere. So if you’re looking for places where you can truly relish the spirit of Christmas, don’t miss some of these top Christmas attractions in the Philippines:

1. Ayala Triangle Gardens’ Festival of Lights

Photo by Marc Gerard Del Rosario | CC BY
Photo by Marc Gerard Del Rosario | CC BY

Conde Nast Traveler deemed The Festival of Lights in Ayala Triangle Gardens as one of the most spectacular places in the world to see Christmas light displays. Like a destination straight out of fairy tale, this miniature forest right smack in the middle of Makati CBD transforms into an enchanting paradise at night. Its millions of twinkling lights that hang from trees and Christmas hymns that fill the air will surely melt even the Grinchest of hearts. Now on its 6th year of offering holiday cheer, this synchronized lights and sounds show runs daily until January 8 from 6pm-10pm every 30 minutes.

2. Silay City’s Christmas Village

Photo by Tj Samson
Photo by Tj Samson

Christmas celebration is a serious matter for the Silaynons. Every year, participating barangays in Silay City, Negros Occidental goes head to head and vie for the best belen and arc. These intricately-designed Christmas belens and arcs are exhibited at their public plaza that they meticulously convert into a Yuletide-inspired museum filled with colorful lanterns, life-sized angels and a giant Christmas tree. Silay’s Christmas Village also holds yearly Christmas carol competition and even a dance contest for moms, aptly called “Dancer si Mader Competition.”

3. Greenhills Christmas on Display

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Greenhills Shopping Center should be high up on your list this Christmas season. Not only because it’s where you can score gifts for your godsons and goddaughters without going broke. But this bargain hunter’s mecca is where you can also watch the much-anticipated and time-honored Christmas on Display aka C.O.D. This year’s theme, “One Life. One Story. One Fairy Tale,” revolves around famous princes and princesses. If you want to see your favorite royalty mannequin in action, be sure to visit Greenhills Shopping Center now until January 1, 2017. The Christmas on Display runs every half hour from 6pm-10pm. To accommodate your late-night Christmas shopping, the Christmas Night Market is also now in full-swing and starts from 6pm-12mn until January 1, 2017.

4. Star City’s Snow World Manila

Just when you thought you could never have ‘white Christmas’ in a tropical island such as the Philippines, here comes Star City’s Snow World. If you want to experience Christmas that’s colder than your ex’s heart, this is the place to chill literally and metaphorically. No need to go to the Harbin Ice Festival in China to experience subzero climate and marvel at stunning ice sculptures. Of course, don’t forget to glide down Snow World’s ice slide, the country’s longest. This modern indoor snow attraction also features two coffee shops for when your inner Elsa the Snow Queen needs some warmth and a little breather. Located in CCP Complex in Pasay City, Star City is open from 4pm onwards from Mondays to Thursdays and from 2pm onwards during Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

5. UP Lantern Parade

Photo by Myra Siason | CC BY
Photo by Myra Siason | CC BY

The University of the Philippines has been holding this annual Christmas affair for nearly a century now (since 1922). Before they go on their Christmas holiday, students and faculty members from different colleges and campuses, including affiliated organizations join the march to showcase their larger-than-life lantern entries around the Academic Oval. These lanterns and floats do not only aim to dazzle but also to depict messages concerning various social issues and current events. Definitely not your average Christmas lantern procession. As always, lantern entries from the College of Fine Arts never disappoint as the event’s fitting highlight and finale. The night’s festivities also include performances from several UP Performing Arts groups, fireworks display, music, dancing, and food. This year’s UP Lantern Parade is set on December 16, 2016.

6. San Fernando Pampanga’s Giant Lantern Festival

Photo by Caryl Joan Estrosas | CC BY
Photo by Caryl Joan Estrosas | CC BY

True to its title as the Philippines’ Christmas Capital, San Fernando, Pampanga is Christmas personified. It is home to some of the country’s finest and biggest lantern makers. A lot of these colossal lanterns are as tall as 20-feet and come in psychedelic colors and disco lights. To complete the Christmas vibe, these giant parols are usually accompanied with Christmas tunes that seamlessly sync to the dancing lights. Because of San Fernando’s proximity to Manila, it understandably draws many Manileños and also folks from neighboring provinces to witness its glorious lanterns. Be sure to check out Giant Lantern Festival’s website for this year’s schedule of events and exhibits.

7. Baguio’s Christmas Village

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Still dreaming of frolicking in the snow this Yuletide season? Then head up north to the City of Pines. Baguio Country Club’s Christmas Village is a winter-ful spot to experience instant ‘white Christmas’ sans going abroad. Here you can savor the faux snow, watch the nightly nativity shows and even hunt Pokemon. That’s right. The club jumped in on the Pokemon craze to make the event extra festive this year.

So expect to see Pikachu and his pocket monster squad hanging around the village as well. Of course, to stay committed to Christmas tradition, classic holiday décors like Christmas trees, belen, and sparkly lights still adorn the resort. And like in the previous years, about 80% of the Christmas décor that they used are recycled materials, such as wine bottles, plastic utensils, old key cards, golf balls and old sewer pipes. The Christmas Village is now open and will run until January 8 from 10 am-10pm on weekdays and up to 11pm on weekends.

8. Casa Santa Museum

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Remember the day you found out Santa Claus doesn’t exist? Sucks, right? Well, it looks like you’ve been lied to. It turns out St. Nicks from all over the world have been converging at this Santa sanctuary in Antipolo. Just 30-minutes (excluding traffic jam) away from the metro, Jardin de Miramar’s Casa Santa Museum exhibits roughly 3,000+ Santa memorabilia from different countries, of varying sizes, colors, and characters. Yes, they even have Yoda and Darth Vader Santas! If you’re nuts about Santa or Christmas and want to experience it all year round, then this is the place to be. Casa Santa Museum is open daily from 8am-5pm.

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10 Delightful Happenings in Manila This Week


Here at Ellry, we’re all about making everyday feel like an adventure. We’ve got ideas on how to make the most of your time, even when you’re not leaving town! Find out what’s happening in Manila with Ellry’s weekly guide.

01 Christmas CarnivaleChristmas Carnivale Bazaar

Still cramming for your Christmas shopping? Look no further because you might find what you are looking for at the Christmas Carnivale Bazaar. Go on a spree with the entire family where you and your kids can enjoy some balloon twisters, jugglers, clowns, and other carnival attractions. Shop till you drop while you support the projects of Zonta Club of Alabang in providing maternal health talks, initiatives addressing violence on women and children, and other programs for women in the community. You can also hang out at the food court for some great eats as you listen to Christmas carols and other entertainment.

December 9 – 11, 2016 | 9:00AM – 9:00PM
Cuenca Park, Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa
Fee: Free admission
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13 More Unlimited Wine Promos for your Vino Obsession

Just can’t get enough of those oaky reds and buttery whites? Fret not because we heard your plea. Since you loved this list of all-out wine promos in Metro Manila, we’re giving you even more! Choose from this updated roster to satisfy your tongue and satiate your soul (yes, your soul). Whether it’s for your brunch cravings, post-dinner drinks, and weekend unwinding, these unassuming wine meccas are waiting for you with open arms.

Motorino

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Motorino is a Neapolitan-style pizza place with beautiful interiors, freshly made pasta, and a pizza menu to die for! For starters, you might think that pairing pizza with wine is sacrilegious as pizza’s most common alcoholic buddy is an ice-cold bottle of beer, but prepare to get your mind blown when you wash down a slice of their Quattro Formaggi with a chilled glass of Montepulciano, among others. It’s a partnership made by the Neapolitan gods.

The Promo: Wine All You Want

Possibly the most affordable unlimited wine option on this list, Motorino’s wine buffet costs only Php395. The only catch is that this is only good for the first 90 minutes, and then you’ll have to buy your wine by the glass or by the bottle. But hey, an hour and a half of their wine aren’t bad for such a low price! You can avail of this promo in Motorino’s BGC, Greenbelt 3, and SM Mall of Asia branches. Their last call for the promo varies per branch so make sure to call ahead of time to check!

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No Reservations

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The once-secluded and borderline abandoned United Street of Kapitolyo has now become a bustling hub for foodies and drinkers alike. No Reservations is one of the reasons for this with its delectable menu of Asian comfort food, from their famed Thai-style Ribs to their Beijing Duck.

The Promo: Unli-Wine Tuesdays to Fridays

Php399 for unlimited red and white wine is a sweet deal, wouldn’t you say? So come on over to No Reservations, every week from Tuesday to Friday from 7pm-11pm, to treat yourself with their fine Merlot and Chilean vinos. If you prefer a hard tipple, they also have unlimited scotch for Php499. Just make sure you’ve got your designated driver tagging along with you!

Address: 2/F 16 United Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Phone number: +63917 605 5365
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Torch

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This international fusion restaurant offers a truly satisfying experience with its medley of different dishes from all over the globe. While some restaurants only serve one type of cuisine, Torch chooses to showcase the best of international cuisine all at a very affordable price. What’s more, they’ve got the wines to suit every palate!

The Promo: Wine-All-You-Can Weekdays

When the lights have been dimmed, and the stresses of the office are still pounding away in your mind, head on over to Torch for their unlimited wine Weekdays promo from Monday to Thursday, 6pm to midnight. For just Php400, you can partake of all the wines your heart desires until your troubles are but a distant memory. The best part is this promo is available in all Torch branches: Greenhills, UP Town Center, Trinoma, Greenbelt 5 and Circuit Lane.

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Escolta, The Peninsula Manila

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Escolta’s mouthwatering assortment of food never goes out of style! With live cooking stations, freshly baked pastries, artisanal desserts, and free-flowing wine, what more can a food lover ask for? While the prices may be a little steeper than most, with 5 stars to its name The Peninsula gives you a lavish experience that’s worth every penny.

The Promo: Champagne Brunch at Escolta

Available every Sunday from 12 noon to 3 pm, the Champagne brunch includes a buffet with Escolta’s signature brunch delicacies along with a sumptuous assortment of desserts, and of course, drinks! If you’re only in it for the food, the buffet would cost Php 2,350 for adults and 1,200 for kids under 12.

But if you want the full wine and dine experience, you can get the food along with free-flowing beers, juices, and sodas for Php 3,150. You can even step it up a notch on the luxury scale as for only Php 3,450, and you can get the full food experience along with free-flowing Champagne.

Address: Ground Floor of the Makati Tower, Ayala Corner Makati Avenue, Makati City
Phone number: +632 887 2888
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Cerveseria

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This little rustic gem amidst the hustle and bustle of the business district is sure to draw in wine lovers from all over the metro, mostly thanks to its very straightforward name. Cerveseria serves a staggering selection of tapas amidst other mouthwatering Spanish dishes, and, of course, an impressive selection of wines from all over the globe.

The Promo: The Wine Buffet

Pick your poison – white or red? For just Php688 net, you can indulge in the house wines of your choice for 2 hours. In the red corner, our contenders are Spain’s Montefrio Tempranillo, Chile’s Santa Luz Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and Australia’s Benchmark Shiraz. In the white corner, you can take your pick from Spain’s Candidato Viura, South Africa’s Leopard’s Leap Lookout Chenin Blanc Chardonnay, Chile’s Terra Vega Sauvignon Blanc, and Australia’s Benchmark Chardonnay.

Address: Ground Floor, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati City
Contact number:
+632 757 4791
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El Cangrejo Crab, Seafood and Steak Bistro

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Just when you think comfort food can’t get any better, El Cangrejo goes and serves it up all-you-can-eat. This cozy joint in Sergeant Esquerra has fresh, meaty, seafood served with no frills to let their natural flavors explode. They also have large slabs of steak grilled to perfection. And if that’s not enough to entice you, they serve it all unlimited. Now, take the time to let that sink in.

The Promo: Unlimited Wine and Oysters

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 6pm to 10pm, you can get your hands on all the wine and all the oysters you can handle. The combo promo costs Php865, which comes with the fresh seafood swimming in a secret sauce made with its brine. But if you want more space for your bubbly, you can also avail of the wine-only promo for Php640. For extra special occasions, you can opt for the crabs and steak + wine promo for Php1,350 every Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Address: 34 Sgt. Esguerra Street, Quezon City
Phone number: (+632) 351-0700, (+63) 927-1462332
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Nobu City of Dreams

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Make your gustatory dreams come true with Nobu’s sumptuous selection of Japanese-Peruvian fusion delights! With only 32 outlets all around the world, Nobu’s signature dishes have that touch of exclusivity and luxury that’s right within your reach at the City of Dreams.

The Promo: Sunday Brunch

From 11:30 am to 3:00 pm, you can go on a Japanese-Peruvian dining spree for just Php 3,188. But why stop there when you can cap off your brunch with a host of wines, beers, mocktails, cocktails, and free-flowing Moët & Chandon for just Php 5,070 net? How can you resist?

Address: Asean Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard, Entertainment City, Paranaque
Phone number: +632 691 2882
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Eleven Tables

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Fancy eating your whole meal on sticks? Try Eleven Tables’ fondue sets for affordable prices. The cute little resto is strewn with wooden benches and tables, to maximize the sharing fondue experience. They offer courses from appetizer to desert, with different vegetable, meat, bread, and sauce combos.

The Promo: Wine All You Can

For Php500 you can drink up all you want for the first 2 hours. If, after that, you still haven’t gotten your fill, you can keep going with your unli-wine for an additional Php200 per hour. If you can “sip” these slim flutes like a boss, that price tag leaves you with a very sweet deal.

Address: G/F Ace Plaza Building, United cor. Brixton Street, Kapitolyo
Phone Number: (+632) 654-6748, (+63) 917-8114582
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Comfort Tuesdays

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Unwind after a hectic day or just chill during the weekend at Comfort Tuesdays. This bright little corner sitting on a busy spot in Century City Mall is enough to brighten up your mood just by looking at it. But it’s not the relaxing ambiance that draws people here. It’s the generous servings of familiar flavors, inspired by flavors from home. From pizzas to pasta to ribs to salads, all of your favorites are found here.

The Promo: Wine Anytime

The name might say Comfort Tuesdays, but comfort can be found here daily with their unlimited wine promo. Come by whenever you need some soothing and help yourself to the wide selection of vinos lining the restaurant’s walls. For only Php535, this promo is available all day, every day.

Address: 4th Level, Century City Mall, Kalayaan Ave. corner Salamanca St., Brgy Poblacion, Makati
Phone number: (+632) 938-0958
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Lobby Lounge, EDSA Shangri-La

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Class it up any time of day with EDSA Shangri-La Hotel’s Lobby Lounge. It’s open 24 hours and serves a variety of cakes, pastries, artisanal delicacies, and local and international favorites. A lush garden serves as your backdrop while you are serenaded by soft live music in the background.

The Promo: Wine Buffet

For 3 hours from 6pm to 6am daily, the Lobby Lounge offers a selection of whites and reds that you can enjoy to your heart’s content. It costs Php1,062 net per person and is best accompanied by their special night owl menu or cheese samplers. Between 6 choices each for reds and whites, good food, and stellar company, this is the kind of place to while the night away.

Address: 1 Garden Way, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong
Phone number: (+632) 633-8888
Website

The Bar, The Peninsula Manila

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If you want to impress, this is the place to go. The rich, dark interiors and lush furniture are conducive to substantial conversations. This is probably why it’s a popular spot for business meetings where deals are closed over whiskey and cigar.

The Promo: 3 Flow Free Flow

Wind down after the week’s work or jumpstart your weekend with The Bar’s 3 Flow Free Flow unlimited wine promo. Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 7pm to 12mn, The Bar offers free flow of various wines, as well as a selection of spirits, cocktails, and beers. With the quality of drinks and the unique ambiance, it’s definitely Php1,280 well spent.

Address: Ground Floor of the Makati Tower, Ayala Corner Makati Avenue, Makati City
Phone number: (+632) 887-2888
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Pampas

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Set your palate alight with the punchy flavors of South American fare at Pampas Latino Bistro and Bar. This casual dining spot in Uptown BGC offers a unique dining experience where you can pick your appetizers right off carts roaming around the resto. Just make sure to leave space for the real scene-stealers: slow-roasted meat tenderized and seasoned to perfection.

The Promo: Siesta Fiesta

Drop by Pampas for Happy Hour from 4 to 7 pm daily. For only Php690, you can enjoy unlimited refills of their Chilean and Argentine reds and whites. Alternatively, you can chug on local beers with their Buy 1 Take 1 promo. Can you think of a more perfect cap to fine steaks and smoky Latino flavors?

Address: Uptown Parade, 36th Street cor. 9th Avenue, BGC
Contact: (+632) 946-3802
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Fino Deli

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Fino Deli is one of the newest haunts in Marikina, and perhaps also one of the most special. Its laid-back but sophisticated ambiance is perfect for date nights. Meanwhile its small but well-curated menu proves that a deeper level of thought has been put into creating the Fino experience. Their entrees, such as the tomahawk pork chop and pan-seared salmon, are crowd-pleasers. But their pizzas pastas cannot be missed either.

The Promo: Wine All-You-Can

Come by Fino Deli every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 3pm to 10pm to get your hands on their selection of fine vinos. For Php699, you have access to an extensive collection of reds and whites by Castel Starmina, makers of fine wines from Romania.

Address: 151, Dao St, Marikina Heights,Marikina City
Contact: (+632) 997-5024
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