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Where To Bring Your Balikbayan Friends

Ditch the nightclubs, after parties, and same old shenanigans.
PHOTO: (LEFT) Instagram/bernardlim88, (RIGHT) Instagram/genebob
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So you’ve got friends visiting Manila after god knows how long, and you’re just dying for a memorable reunion.

Ditch the nightclubs, after parties, and same old shenanigans. The Philippines has got so much more to offer, and you owe it to your nation to be the best tour guide there is.

Bambike Ecotour around Intramuros

Location: Real Street corner General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila

Intramuros’ old-world charm is the perfect backdrop for an afternoon adventure. If you’re up for a little exercise (and want to contribute to the greater good), take the Bambike Ecotour around the city’s cultural and historic sites while riding atop a beautiful, totally Instagram-worthy bamboo bicycle. Scour the walled city for one-of-a-kind treasures and vintage finds.  Or better yet, take advantage of the cobble stones and relive your favorite Game of Thrones episodes, because if you can’t pretend to be the lords and ladies of Westeros every chance you get, then are you really even friends?

Pinto Art Museum

Location: 1 Sierra Madre Street, Grand Heights Road, Antipolo, Rizal

This Mediterranean-inspired beauty is definitely worth the trip up the mountains. A perfect combination of art and nature, Pinto gives you a dose of contemporary masterpieces while treating you to a tranquil ambience with its lush green gardens. Be sure to bring a strong #OOTD game, because every corner of this space screams photo op.

Note: The entrance fee is P200 for adults. Students with a valid school ID get a 50 percent discount.

The Circle Hostel Baler

Location: Buton Street, Baler, Aurora

Wherever they may be coming from, one of the things a balikbayan will always miss is the sight of a true-blue Philippine beach. A trip to Baler makes for a sweet weekend, especially when you stay at this hipster joint. Ride the famous Aurora waves during surf season, indulge in the province’s rich history and cultural heritage, or relax with the friendly locals over ice-cold beer and stories.

University of the Philippines

Location: Vidal A. Tan Hall, Velasquez Street, Diliman, Quezon City

It doesn’t matter whether you are an iskolar ng bayan or not, a walk down good old Peyups is always a nostalgic treat. From taking IKOT jeepney rides to doing runs at the Oval to that classic dirty-ice-cream-and-isaw food trip while watching the sunset at the Sunken Garden, one can never go wrong with a simple, solid UP date.

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Note: Graduation season presents a breathtaking view when the University Avenue blooms with its iconic sunflower gardens.

Masungi Georeserve

Location: Kilometer 47, Marcos Highway, Baras, Rizal

Got an adrenaline junkie friend? Well then, you’re in for a natural high…literally. Imagine sliding down long, narrow nets and balancing on web-like ropes as you brave this incredible trek! The Masungi trail captures one of the prettiest yet most nerve-wracking views in Rizal—definitely a rush only nature can give.

Note: Trek reservations can be quite hard to secure. Make sure to book at least a week in advance.

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