tFirst dates are always a tricky business. You want them to be fun and memorable, but you also don’t want to go all out when it comes to your spending. The ideal first date place should also offer a good selection of interesting sights and sounds you both can talk about, and should be fairly accessible in case you need to bail for some reason.
Fortunately, Metro Manila offers a wide selection of awesome first date locations that offer all of the above. Sure, a nice bar or restaurant can do the trick, but where’s the fun in that? Here are a few legit awesome first date places in Metro Manila that will help seal the deal for more dates to come.
If you and your date aren’t averse to some walking, Old Manila’s walled quarter offers a ton of attractions that are sure to interest all but the most boring types of people. The walled city has an extensive selection of museums, restaurants, and literally hundreds of points of historical interest. If you or your date are an avid student of history, it’s difficult to absorb it all in just one day. It’s an especially attractive option if your date is into photography or if they’ve never lived in Manila before. You can join one of the many guided walking tours, such as Carlos Celdran’s Walk This Way, but for a first date, you really should consider exploring the city at your own pace.
While ukays are quite a bit more expensive these days, cheap thrills are still to be had if you know where to find them. Ukay-ukays and other similar thrift shops are always chock-full of weird and wonderful items and what your date likes or finds interesting can give you an insight into her personality. Anything she finds will also remind her of you, which is definitely a good thing. An afternoon scrounging for awesome deals can also be a wholesome bonding experience, which can hopefully lead to a series of less-wholesome bonding experiences later on.
Here are some of the better-regarded ukay-ukay spots in the metro:
- Starmall Alabang
- Anonas Mall
- Bambang Market
- Carriedo St., Quiapo.
- Greenfield/MRT EDSA Shaw Station, Mandaluyong
- Makati Cinema Square
- Raberly, North Edsa
- Ukay-Ukay Wagwagan, Pasay City
3.) Quezon Memorial Circle
While Quezon Memorial Circle may have certainly seen some better days, this large open-air park is an exceedingly rare green oasis in the middle of Metro Manila. It’s easily accessible and is a great place for jogging and people-watching, which most of us can agree are totally legit activities on most first dates. A number of museums, restaurants, and activity spaces in the area also offer a ton of variety to suit all tastes. The government is also currently investing quite heavily in the area, with a future MRT station currently being built on the premises, and a number of beautification projects currently underway.
The location is also highly accessible to a number of other spots in Quezon City, including UP Diliman, Maginhawa, as well as dozens of malls, making it a good jump-off point for the rest of your day.
Bookstores are a perennially popular location for a first date for a number of reasons. They’re quiet, the books offer a wide number of things to talk about, and they’re a good way to get a better understanding of things that interest your date. There’s also a number of things you can do at bookstores – you can tell each other corny jokes from joke books in the humor section, talk about which languages you’d love to learn at the language books section, or buy your date a book you’d think they’d enjoy. You can also critique fashion books together or talk shit about people in the biography section – the possibilities are endless.
While popular chain bookstores are fine, the less-known bookstores may be a more memorable place for a first date. Here are a few you should definitely consider:
- Jerbs Bookstore, 5-A No. 2, Ground Floor, Guadalupe Commercial Complex Makati, Burgos corner EDSA, Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati
- Chapter IX Bookstore and Gallery, 2nd floor, Circle C Mall, Congressional Ave, Quezon City, Philippines
- Books From Underground, Lagusnilad underpass, Padre Burgos Ave. Manila
- Bookay-Ukay- 30 Mahusay, Diliman, Quezon City
5.) Dog shows
Your date will definitely remember you if you take her to a dog show. The Philippine Canine Club website has a list of all the major dog show dates. Best of all, they also show dates for shows from other canine clubs, which means you’ll have an easier time finding shows that will be held somewhere convenient for both you and your date. You can then talk about which dogs you like, dogs you’ve owned or currently own, or why you’re more of a cat person.
6.) National Museum of Natural History
Located along Agrifina Circle in Rizal Park, Manila, the museum is now mercifully free of the crowds that choked its halls during its opening. With more exhibits being added and only relatively few guests these days, the National Museum of Natural History has a number of interesting exhibits and offers a quiet, relaxing place for those on their first date to get to know each other a bit better. After your date, you could take a relaxing stroll along Rizal Park for some quality first-date people watching.
Binondo isn’t just your run of the mill Chinatown – it’s the first ever permanent overseas Chinese community in the world. With over 400 years of history and countless restaurants, cafes, shops, and other establishments in the tightly packed streets, you and your date are sure to find something to talk about. It’s best if you already have some idea of where to go, however, as Binondo offers a bit too many choices for some people. As with Intramuros, be sure to bring a camera, as you’ll find more than a few things you’ll want to take pictures of.
8.) Fairs and festivals
Metro Manila has no shortage of fairs and special celebrations at any given time. While most of these are religious festivals and not really our idea of a place for a first date, there are still a good number of events that will surely remind your date of you each time it comes around.
We listed some popular fairs and festivals below. Make sure to look up each one for the specific dates.
- UP Fair, UP Diliman, Quezon City
- Fête de la Musique, Makati, various locations
- Cinemanila International Film Festival, CCP Complex, Manila
- Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, CCP Complex, Manila
9.) Ayala Triangle
This park is one of the last patches of green left open to the public in Makati. With runaway development, it remains to be seen if it will continue to be that in a few years. Nonetheless, Ayala Triangle gives you plenty of peace and quiet in the middle of an otherwise hectic city. It’s the perfect place for a stroll or a first date jog, and it also has a good selection of restaurants for all budgets. It’s also easily accessible, which is a good thing if you need to bail – or go somewhere a little more private.
10.) Record stores
Despite what you might think, you don’t necessarily need to own any vinyl to appreciate vinyl records. The oversized sleeve artworks, the smell of old records, and the warm sound of vinyl under the needle all contribute to create a memorable first date experience. Rummaging through the piles of records to together can also be a fun, fulfilling activity, even if you don’t end up buying anything. Who knows? You might just end up collecting records together.
- Satchmi 4F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall AND 2F Cinema Building, UP Town Center Phase 2
- Treskul Records & Café, 641 Boni Ave Cifra BLDG, Mandaluyong
- Various stores, Makati Cinema Square basement, Makati
- This Is Pop, Legaspi Towers 100, 148 Legaspi Street, Legaspi Village, Makati
- Yesteryears Music Gallery and Vinyl Store, 87 Maginhawa cor. Magiting Streets, UP Village, Quezon City
- Various Stores, Cubao Expo, Gen. Romulo Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City
Sure, nightclubs are great places to have fun let your freak flag fly – but are they good places for a first date? Well, it depends. Loud music isn’t always conducive for conversations and for getting to other people better. Clubs, in our view, are better places for picking up women, or even second dates after you’ve gotten to know each other better, and not really the places you should bring someone on that first date. That said, many women do enjoy the dance floor, and if they want to go dancing on their first date with you, who are you to deny them of that? Here are just a few that won’t disappoint.
- Black Market, Warehouse 5 on Sabio Street corner with Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati
- Valkyrie, 9th Avenue corner 36th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
- Chaos, Upper ground floor, City Of Dreams Manila complex, Roxas Boulevard,Tambo District, Parañaque
- 71 Gramercy, 71/F Gramercy Residences, Kalayaan Avenue Corner Salamanca St, Makati
- House Manila, The Remington Hotel, Resorts World Manila, Pasay
For better or worse, malls are central to life in Metro Manila. They’re not just shopping areas, they’re also the most popular meeting places in the Metro. We might be used to them these days, but globally-speaking, our malls are crazy, performing all the functions of parks and featuring all the entertainment choices you can possibly need. They can get pretty crowded at times. Off-peak hours, however, they can be the ideal place for a first date, offering tons of things to look at and talk about and sweet, sweet air-conditioning which you won’t find at many of our other picks. Try to pick a mall that has a good mix of stores and entertainment, as well as interesting architectural features.
- SM Aura, 26th, cor. McKinley Pkwy, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
- SM Mall of Asia, Seaside Blvd., Pasay
- SM Megamall, EDSA, Ortigas, Mandaluyong
- SM North, North EDSA, Quezon City
- Robinson’s Galleria, EDSA, Ortigas, Mandaluyong
- Robinson’s Place Manila, Pedro Gil, Ermita, Manila
- Estancia, Shaw Blvd. Pasig
- Century City Mall, Kalayaan Ave. Makati
- Greenhills Shopping Center, Greenhills, San Juan
- Glorietta, Ayala Avenue, Makati
- Greenbelt, Legazpi St., Makati
- Power Plant, Rockwell, Makati
- Trinoma, North EDSA, Quezon City
- Shangri-la Plaza, EDSA cor. Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong
- Ayala Town Center, Alabang-Zapote Road, Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa
- 168 Mall, 918 Soler St., Binondo, Manila
13.) Bars and restaurants
Like malls, bars and restaurants are kind of a cliché place to bring someone for a first date. However, they’re popular for a good reason. They’re public places that also give the both of you a bit of privacy, but not too much, an important distinction that can put your date at ease. That said, because there are literally tens of thousands of restaurants and watering holes all over Metro Manila, it’s difficult to offer solid recommendations that would please everyone. Instead, we’ll give you these guidelines.
What to look for:
- Places that offer unique cuisine or some novelty your date might enjoy
- Not too crowded, but not totally empty
- No pressure to leave after you’ve finished eating
- A place that also offers alcohol
What to avoid:
- Big chain restaurants
- Places she says she’s been to before
- Family-style restaurants during peak hours
- Excessively loud bars where you can’t talk over the music
Bonus tip:Be generous, but avoid spending too much on your first date. Not only does it look pathetic, you probably don’t even know what she likes. You can also risk making some women uncomfortable if you spend way too much the first time around. You also want to protect yourself – you’re not even sure you like this person that much yet. But if you’re not really after a long-term relationship, well—who are we to judge, right?
What other fun first date activities do you suggest? Comment below!