How to Burn it Off
Don't worry: Metro Manila is not short on options for burning off all the calories you consumed on your food trip.
WALK & RUN
Walk This Way, with actor, activist, and ex-New Yorker Carlos Celdran, is a signature guided tour that’s part stand-up routine, part history lesson, and part social commentary, all rolled into one. Truth be told, the actual cardiovascular exercise you might get from this tour is from a good belly laugh, but it provides a lot of enlightening opinions on Manila’s history and present state of affairs. Tours start from the gate of Fort Santiago (map) and will take you around points of interest within the walled city of Intramuros. Choose from the dates listed on the website—if Mr. Celdran isn’t available on your preferred date, his page lists other walking tour guides who can show you the ins and outs of Metro Manila. Tours cost Php 1,100 for adults; Php 600 for students.
As for the real exercise: Running has gained a lot of ground in this city (see what we did there?), so there are quite a few places to lace up your shoes and pound the pavement. Circuit Makati (A.P. Reyes Ave. & Hippodromo St., Carmona, map), on the northwestern end of Makati City, is a 21-hectare redevelopment of a former horse-racing track where you can run (or skateboard, or play Frisbee) in the afternoons or evenings. Smaller but no less pleasant is Ayala Triangle Gardens (map), with a 1.2-km loop that’s just enough to defeat the eating guilt without making you look too serious about running (of course you can go around more than once). The bonus (or detriment!) is that a few good dining places are clustered along its short side, including Kanin Club, where we found quite a few must-try dishes on our Manila food list. Another option is Rizal Park (a.k.a. Luneta, map), a 58-hectare national park that is a stone’s throw away from the Manila Hotel. Traditionally where Manila’s well-heeled citizens would stroll or ride through on horse-drawn carriages, the park is now a long rectangle broken up into various sections that you can conveniently duck into for additional points of interest: botanical gardens, the National Museum, a relief map of the Philippine islands, a children’s playground, fountains, a bandstand, and more. Walkways are wide enough to accompany runners.
If you want to explore the city on two wheels, Bambike offers bamboo bicycles for rent (Php 300 per hour) as well as guided, 10-location tours for Php 1,200 inside Intramuros, the historic Spanish-era walled city. Tours are scheduled twice a day every Tuesday through Thursday; private scheduled tours can also be arranged. The actual bamboo bikes are handmade using fair-trade labor and sustainable building practices, giving you further incentive to hop on and ride. Book online, or drop in at its headquarters at the Plaza San Luis Complex (Real St. at General Luna St. in Intramuros; map).
Prefer heights over distance? The most centrally located branch of Power-Up Climbing Gym in Metro Manila is inside the R.O.X. Shop (Recreational Outdoor Exchange outdoor shop) at Fort Bonifacio Global City in Taguig (63-8564638; B1, Bonifacio High St., map). Climbing hours are 1pm to 10pm on weekdays, and 11am to 9pm on weekends. Pay the Php 250 fee and climb till your arms go numb. Harness and shoe rentals will cost you another Php 200 (unless you bring your own, of course)—all told, a small price to pay for the incredible exercise you get and the fun, friendly people you’ll encounter here. (Climbing novices are definitely welcome.)