You Need a Solo Staycation in Manila

Ched Sarthou Pagayatan

Go solo for a day, or two and enjoy some me time.

We’re often so busy with our “real” lives that we fail to experience everything this incredible place we live in has to offer. That is why taking a solo staycation in Manila is so important and, actually, so great. All it takes to see and appreciate Manila as those who do not live here enjoy, is to check in at a hotel like St Giles Makati and explore the city with fresh eyes. A staycation is also about indulgence, so don’t hesitate to have too much fun. This is about you!

Take a Break from the Hustle and Bustle
What’s the best part about a solo staycation? Being your only priority (if only for a few days). Use this time to take care of your body and your mind by treating yourself to a luxurious spa treatment. Not just any regular massage but something out of the ordinary that will make you feel like royalty.

The Spa Wellness Manila Staycation

Some treatments to check out are the Zen-inspired Hanakusumi Nourishing Ritual at the Neo Day Spa in Bonifacio Global City, the Light and Luminous Facial at The Spa in Mandaluyong City, the Reviving Coffee Scrub and Theta Healing at Transcend Spa and Nails in Fort Bonifacio, or the Total Indulgence service at The Spa in Greenbelt, Makati City. Looking for something more active? Sign up for a session at Bikram Yoga Manila in Makati City.

If you felt burned out before your solo staycation, after your spa ritual, you’ll feel like you can take on anything.

Fun and Games
Going to bars and restaurants isn’t the only way to have fun anymore. These days it’s cool to be a little bit geeky. You do you.

If you’re in the introspective and artistic mood, schedule a visit to Sip and Gogh at the Century Mall. Sip and Gogh is an art studio that encourages anyone and everyone to explore him- or herself through painting, no judgments. Painting, though, is only half of the fun. There is also the part where you get to sip some wine—or a lot of wine, your call. How’s that for bringing out the Van Gogh in you?

Quiz night is a great way to meet new people, and maybe flaunt and flex that beautiful mind of yours outside of the office. It’s just fine if you don’t bring a team with you; chances are a team would be willing to take you in. Go to Murphy’s Makati, the place that started the local quiz night trend, if you’re ready to battle on Jeopardy-type questions. If you’re more interested in pop culture, head over to 121, also in Makati, for a quiz that covers anime, showbiz, and comics.

Manila Walking Tour
Most of the time the only chance city dwellers get to see the streets of Metro Manila is while aboard some sort of transportation. When we’re always rushing to get somewhere, we don’t really have the time to appreciate the little things that make our city special. Now that you’re on a staycation in your own hometown, use the time to discover the nooks and crannies of the city as you get lost in a tour of Manila.

Walking tour of Manila

You can scour the Internet for walking tours, photography tours, biking tours, jeepney tours, sketching tours, and night tours. The point is this: tours aren’t just about looking at stuff anymore. At some of them, you might actually get to exercise—or discover—a passion you never knew you had. You will also get to know the city you love on a more personal level. Check out Old Manila Walks for some of the best ways to explore Manila on foot, or Carlos Celdran Walking Tours for a Manila tour that will leave you in stitches.

Catch a Show
Take a break from your everyday life and catch a show in the city. TV and movies are great, but they will hardly move you the way a live performance could. You can choose to catch a play at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC Plaza, a ballet at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, or a concert at the MOA Arena. Allow yourself to be pulled into the experience.

Wine and Whiskey Tasting
Wine or whiskey appreciation events, whichever is your poison, is about waking your senses to the subtle tastes in the different varieties of spirits. It might not be something you would do every day, but then again, you’re on a solo staycation! This is not the moment to be timid and hesitant. Indulge yourself and don’t question for a second that you deserve it. Wine lovers will find some great wine tasting events at Yats Wine Cellars, while whiskey aficionados will enjoy LIT Japanese Whiskey Bar and Mandalay Whiskeys and Cigars.

At the end of your date with the city, you’ll be surprised to see how much you have uncovered and how much more there is to unwrap, both about you and the city.


Ched is a writer and a mother of two young children. She enjoys reading, home decorating, and the occasional glass of wine.