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Philippines Nightlife: The Tourist Guide

philippines nightlife

Say goodbye to idle nights, and say hello to a plethora of choices for Philippines nightlife!

Everything from laser light discos, exclusive VIP clubs, karaoke bars, and underground music gastropubs can now be found in the Philippines nightlife scene. So whether you’re here to stay for just a weekend, or looking to spend years in the country, you’re bound to enjoy your stay if you know the right places.

Why experience the Philippines Nightlife?

#1 Friendly attitude towards foreigners. Filipinos are known to be hospitable people. Historically, it has had ties with the Spaniards, Americans, and the Japanese, making these races closest to the Filipino heart.

Before, everywhere foreigners go, they are often treated like celebrities and are also mildly expected to spend like one. But because of the thriving BPO industry nationwide, working-class Filipinos have encountered many expats almost every day in the workplace, thus seeing them more as peers. This may be slightly different in low-end establishments. But one thing remains the same: Filipinos love showing foreigners around!

#2 English-speaking nation. One of the advantages of partying in the Philippines is that most of the population is young and English-speaking. Even the poorest urban communities can accommodate tourists without a problem. In fact, expats can even navigate the entire country without ever touching a Filipino phrasebook. See more guides on how to backpack the Philippines.

#3 Unique beer and food. The Philippines is the place to enjoy a variety beverages such as flavored cocktails, craft beer, and homegrown coffee. A local drink to try is San Miguel Beer, simply called “San Mig”. It’s a Filipino beer brand that has become the Filipinos’ pride, and costs cheap at often $1-2 commercially. San Mig is particularly well-loved among the Japanese.

Aside from beer, there are many recognizable American fast food restaurants here, as well as international brands of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisines inside the malls. For variety, try to go to Sunday food markets and nighttime food bazaars that offer unique flavors under one roof. Sampling street food is also a must. Our favorite pulutan or finger foods that go with beer are pork sisigchicharon, calamares, liempo, or anything grilled.

#4 Love for KTV and live music. If you’re a frustrated singer, you’ll be happy to find that the karaoke machine is an indispensable element to Philippines nightlife. Saying Filipinos are fond of singing is an understatement, as they are known as world-class performers. Even the most remote islands devoid of electricity somehow have karaoke machines! But don’t worry about hitting the right notes. Letting go of your inhibitions by belting it out in the mic is the spirit.

In case you’re more of a listener, Filipino music played in bars are mostly in the rock and alternative genre. Because of the heavy Western influence, you can find that the performers also know the latest Billboard-topping music often played in the clubs. While concert events feature bigger acts from both of local and international artists, you can find popular local bands frequenting certain bars in the metro. Watch live performances or dance to other genres such as indie, reggae, or jazz.

manila nightlife

Are you from the capital city? Read this more comprehensive Manila nightlife guide!

 

 Things to Know about the Philippines Nightlife

#1 How to commute. Should you own a car in the Philippines, you’ll face the massive traffic that the cities are known for. But at least you’ll save yourself from the sweaty hustle of inner city commute. Otherwise, you can find a variety of public transportation to get from one place to the other.

In Metro Manila, the fastest way around the city is via the train stations of the MRT and the LRT. Note that it becomes tight during rush hours in the morning and in the afternoon. The last rides are usually at 10 PM as well, so do not expect that you can ride them later in the night.

Land transportation such as air-conditioned buses, vans, multicabs, and the local jeepney (fondly called “King of the Road”) are available nationwide. To navigate within inner alleys or more remote destinations, you can take a tricycle (motorcycles with side cars), habal-habal (back ride motorcyles), and pedicab (bike with side cars).

For convenience, expats often choose to ride taxi cabs. But a rule of thumb is to make sure that the taxi meter is on before proceeding. You can also use popular ride-sharing apps such as Uber or Grab.

#2 Best time to visit. Summer season is always the best time to experience the Philippines nightlife. During the months of March to May, people usually flock to party in the nearest beaches or city clubs. Friday nights and weeknights are often the days when the dance floor is packed.

Summer in the Philippines is also the time when universities have school break, so you can expect a younger crowd. You can also take note of the festivals all over the country because these are the great ways to experience not just the Philippines nightlife, but also its culture!

#3 Staying safe. Like most Southeast Asian countries, safety in the Philippines on the street level can be a cause of concern. You must have a degree of vigilance for petty crimes such as theft and pickpocketing.

When out and about, keep your valuables such as your wallet and smartphones secure in case you have one too many drinks. Try to avoid wearing eye-catching and expensive items such as watches, jewelry, and gadgets.

Want more tips? Here’s how you can have a safe travel in the Philippines.

 

#4 Dress codes. The Philippines nightlife is the perfect excuse to dress up. You’ll never know if you’ll meet your future partner here or rub elbows with celebrities!

Many dance clubs disallow guests from wearing of slippers and sleeveless shirts for men. But most city gastropubs, have a dress code-free hangout. Whatever you’re wearing, be presentable and stay comfortable!

philippines nightlife

The Rest of the Philippines: Nightlife Destinations

Metro Manila is the best place to find a wide array of entertainment and nightlife options. Each of the cities have their unique personalities that you can identify yourself with. Here you can find the biggest superclubs, concerts of the most popular stars, and just about any genre of music with accompanying communities! The Manila nightlife is another topic in itself, so do read that section too!

Meanwhile, it pays to discover some of the nightlife to find outside of the capital city. Outside of Metro Manila, you can still find nightlife and even red light districts. You’ll find that former US military bases and world-famous beaches have attracted a throng of expats looking to party and enjoy the night.

#1 Metro Manila. Because the capital city is another story in itself, check out my separate post about Manila nightlife.

#2 Angeles City. Interestingly named, Angeles nightlife is brimming with clubs and “AGogo” bars that attract many expats looking for some serious adult entertainment. It’s been dubbed as the “sin city” of the Philippines because of the rampant sex working. Compared to Manila, tourists can find less inhibition in Angeles City, as if nothing here is impossible.

#3 Boracay Island. Considered the Philippines’ official party island, you can find a handful touristy bars and nightclubs along the white-sand beaches of Boracay. The entire island never seems to sleep!

Bars often host live music and parties featuring the coolest DJs with crowds from all over the world. Booze also flows freely through the night. The best time to go here is on January, in time for the Ati-Atihan Festival in Aklan where the Boracay nightlife last for more than a week.

philippine nightlife

#4 Cebu City. Located the Visayas Region, the Queen City of the South is famous for its historical and cultural value. But in the recent years, it’s also famous for Mactan Island and Cebu City nightlife, luxury hotels, and casinos near the beautiful beaches.

For clubbing in Cebu, the Ayala Entertainment Center and Cebu IT Park are your best bet, having multiple pubs and restaurants where the younger and more affluent crowd goes. For your dose of adult entertainment, the sports bars, GoGo bars, and nightclubs are found in Mango Avenue.

One of the best times to experience Cebu is also on the third week in January for the Sinulog Festival. The party swells into the streets, where it’s all about loud music, colorful paint, and chanting, “Pit Señor!” By nighttime, the bars are filled with Cebuanos and foreigners dancing the night away.

#5 Davao City. Though paling in comparison with most cities, Davao nightlife is the best you can find in Mindanao. You can find music bars and nightclubs here, albeit with very few options to choose from. This may be attributed to alcohol control and curfew imposed in the city, forbidding the sale and consumption of alcohol in public spaces by midnight. Still, you’ll can try the local night markets and KTV bars!

 

If you’re an expat looking to discover the Philippines beyond tropical islands, massive malls, and natural wonders, take this guide with you. Go to the club or pub nearest you to relax and mingle with the locals. You’ll soon find there’s nothing like the Philippines nightlife anywhere in the world!

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50 Comments

  • Reply
    Vyjay Rao
    November 5, 2016 at 7:02 PM

    Philippines is known for its numerous and lovely islands and beaches. Here you have presented a fresh and different perspective of this lovely country. The night live in Philippines seems to be vibrant and coulourful too.

  • Reply
    Anita Zych
    October 20, 2016 at 1:45 AM

    This is very useful post. Well done! I wish to go to Philipines one day, for sure I will try San Mig, I am curious about local breweries, when I travel 🙂

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 21, 2016 at 3:34 AM

      Good to know you wanna try the Filipino beer!

  • Reply
    Rebecca Hall (Bex)
    October 18, 2016 at 4:57 AM

    Interesting observations about the culture and the people. I agree re: karaoke! I spend 5 weeks on a container ship with mostly Filipino crew and every week was a special karaoke party night!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 18, 2016 at 9:55 PM

      Hahaha! So amazing that you got to observe that, Rebecca! Hope you joined the crew. Haha.

  • Reply
    Sara Broers (@TravelWithSara)
    October 18, 2016 at 2:32 AM

    Looks to be a great guide~ You caught me with English speaking, as that’s what this American would be searching for! Live music is always a plus for me, as well.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 18, 2016 at 9:48 PM

      That’s great Sara! Hope you’ll drop by the Philippines — be it in Manila or any of our wonderful beaches! 🙂

  • Reply
    Yan
    October 12, 2016 at 11:21 PM

    Good read! Filipinos regard tourists so much that’s why it’s so easy to get around here and not get lost, someone will always show you the way (nevermind if you get scammed 9/10 times lol). Boracay is love! It’s perfect for anything, mapa-nightlife or chill chill lang, it can accommodate anything haha.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 13, 2016 at 3:16 AM

      Boracay it is! Haha. I haven’t been primarily because of that though! #Introverted. But pretty soon, I’ll be covering that one too! 🙂

  • Reply
    Stargazer
    October 12, 2016 at 10:47 PM

    Nice guide. I am from Davao and I only go clubbing when I visit Manila. I have been to Prive, Republiq and Chaos.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 13, 2016 at 3:11 AM

      Can you tell me more about nightlife in Davao?? This is a legit question. Thanks!!! 😀

  • Reply
    Nya
    October 12, 2016 at 6:02 AM

    This is a really helpful post for those who plan to enjoy the night life in Philippines. I admit I never been to Philippines before but if I ever travel there I’d surely want to at least give a try to the night life. Even if just once

  • Reply
    Sydney Fashion Hunter
    October 11, 2016 at 3:39 PM

    While I am a big past my ‘prime clubbing years’ where I partied every night I still love a great night out every now and then! The hangover is just much harder to shake at 40 than 20! I love that is seems like there is something for everyone and who doesn’t love a gastro pub! I think the petty crime you mentioned can happen anyway. You always have to stay vigilant, especially after a few drinks!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 11, 2016 at 9:17 PM

      Hi there! It’s so interesting that you were a party person before. I never was! Hahaha. I agree with your points, and I’m glad you think staying vigilant is universal. Lots of people can get over-cautious when in PH that they can’t enjoy the night. 🙂

  • Reply
    Michi (@michisolee)
    October 11, 2016 at 8:16 AM

    You have a comprehensive post. This article is really helpful for those people who are looking for night life. I agree with Boracay, there are so many events at night that foreigners can enjoy. But I did not try it when we’re in Boracay because I’m not a party person.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 11, 2016 at 8:23 PM

      Same here Michi!! I think I would go to the nightlife more as a social scientist than a partyphile. I’ll just observe. Haha.

  • Reply
    omniyafareed
    October 11, 2016 at 5:47 AM

    I will definetly be using this post when i head to the Philippines. this is a great post, especially for people who love nightlife. I love how you added tips for people who visit from other countries like how people speak english and how there is unique food. You should consider doing another awesome post like this about other places in the philipinnes like el nido, etc

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 11, 2016 at 8:23 PM

      Hi Omniya! Great suggestions. Although, I’ve included the cities above because they’re more known for that. Last time I did research on El Nido, there’s not much of a nightlife there. The place is remote, and electricity is sporadic. So most of it is quiet by nighttime. That’s its own charm, I guess. Hope to see you here!!!

  • Reply
    Maaya Legaspi
    October 10, 2016 at 12:01 PM

    Gone are days for boring nights. Philippines now can cater to different night life. Whether its partying or singing your heart out. I am guilty for the karaoke bars here. Haha! It’s of my favorite past time. 🙂

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 10, 2016 at 11:56 PM

      Haha! Good to know Maaya. I’ve always felt certain connection with people who’d take the mic without hesitation. Hahaha.

  • Reply
    cykaniki
    October 9, 2016 at 11:40 PM

    Yes I totally agree, Filipino people are really partying goer, more so on them entertainment lover, I’m from Cebu but in Mactan Island, Me and my husband love to visit main Cebu especially Sinulog, and most of all night before Sinulog proper because you can see people on the streets shouting for their prayers and all people’s are dancing after the mass.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 10, 2016 at 11:44 PM

      Hi Cyaniki! Lucky you for living in Cebu! My bf stayed in Mactan Island for two weeks, and he says it’s very happening in its own way. I would love to see Sinulog someday! That is, if I don’t get too claustrophobic as an introvert. Haha. 🙂

  • Reply
    Cai Dominguez
    October 9, 2016 at 9:36 PM

    Well written article here! I’m not a party person but If Im a foreigner looking for party here in the Philippines. This would be helpful. And oh! San mig is really a well loved beer. Kahit sang country ako mag punta. I always order san mig hehehe. Maybe you should include the party scene of Manila. Particularly, makati and taguig.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 10, 2016 at 11:41 PM

      Hi Cai! Manila will come this week! Stay tuned 🙂 Never thought that San Mig isa that lovable. Lots of people also patronize Red Horse because it’s much stronger. Haha.

  • Reply
    Bea De Guzman
    October 9, 2016 at 1:22 PM

    Pinoys really know how to party! We went to Cebu last June and we stumbled along Mango Avenue. They really have a lot of adult entertainment there. We went to the karaoke na lang tuloy. Boracay bar hopping party and Sinulog is definitely on my list. Nice article, btw!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 9, 2016 at 8:00 PM

      Thanks Bea!! Boracay and Sinulog Festival are my #goals too to experience the PH nightlife 🙂

  • Reply
    momi berlin
    October 9, 2016 at 1:21 PM

    A nice way to entice the expats to try the Philippines for both fun and more fun. Though i am not a party person, i find it cool seeing pictures of millennials and even those of age partying hard. Life is beautiful and it should be spent with some fun and thrill.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 9, 2016 at 7:58 PM

      Unfortunately I don’t belong to those list of millennials who party hard. Haha. This really made me realize how much I don’t know the Philippines-at-night scene.

  • Reply
    Dominic
    October 9, 2016 at 12:47 PM

    It’s nice to help out tourists by creating a blog post about nightlife in the Philippines. For commuting, I would suggest to use taxi cabs or uber/grab because that’s the safest transportation they could use. It would be too early too if they used the LRT/MRT which closes at 10pm. Boracay and Cebu have great nightlife parties . Angeles though is a different story, though may night life, these are usually places people go to to have ONS.

    http://thetopknotters.com

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 9, 2016 at 7:57 PM

      Yeah true! But I included it anyway to cater to different people, those who like the backpacker method and the luxury ones, those who like the sex trade and those who like the clean fun. I actually had no idea Angeles City was particularly popular til I did this research… and then I was reminded of a documentary of Angeles City’s half-and-half kids without fathers.

  • Reply
    Veronica
    October 9, 2016 at 3:58 AM

    The nightlife is something that I missed when I was traveling to the Philippines. I was staying on a small island (Panglao) and the only night life I had there was at the refrigerator lol. Everyone was asleep by 10 pm lol.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 9, 2016 at 8:40 AM

      Haha! That’s the provinces for you. But the neighboring island, Cebu City, is partly wide awake at that time. Great insights Veronica 😀

  • Reply
    More Like Twins (@moreliketwins)
    October 8, 2016 at 9:18 PM

    I love the night life in Metro Manila, especially in Makati and Taguig. I’ve been to the rest of the places you’ve mentioned but I haven’t been able to enjoy their night life since I am usually with my family when I’m out of town. Boo. Hopefully I’ll get to experience it though. I heard Davao and Bacolod night life are fun too 😀

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 9, 2016 at 1:19 AM

      Hi there! Wow, never heard about nightlife in Bacolod. And I only hear so little about Davao. What have you heard?? 🙂

  • Reply
    Eleanor
    October 8, 2016 at 12:03 PM

    Very informative post Ms. Sam. I am not a night owl but I do love going out with my sisters when there is time. I love tasting variety of foods especially the ones I haven’t tried and enjoy my favorites. And if there is live music, then it’s a double treat.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 9, 2016 at 1:18 AM

      A fan of food and live music too! Here’s to gastropubs 🙂

  • Reply
    mumwrites (@vixquips)
    October 8, 2016 at 10:30 AM

    This is a very insightful post about the Philippine nightlife. Indeed, people have loads of choices here and depending on their preference and interests, nightlifers have way too may options around. I am an acute introvert and am not too fond of nightlife, but I sure could use an evening out with the girls, every now and then.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 9, 2016 at 1:17 AM

      Me too! I’m very introverted. And writing this article made me realize the time I partied that’s not work or writing related is back in college. Seriously missing out!

  • Reply
    kriswanders
    October 8, 2016 at 9:05 AM

    Tourists who will stumble upon this blog will surely get useful tips. I like the way how you feature the nightlife and incorporate it with philippine culture. That’s another way of saying na Yes, Philippines know how to party! Haha!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 9, 2016 at 1:17 AM

      Yeah, we do! Wait for my Manila nightlife cover! 😀

  • Reply
    Carola
    October 8, 2016 at 12:31 AM

    Great post! I’ve never been to the Philippines, so this would really help me. It’s always nice to read that many people speak English. That makes it so much easier to find your way in a country. Great information about going out! Love live music!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 8, 2016 at 1:07 AM

      Thanks Carola! It’s great you found it helpful, since this guide is specifically made for foreigners/tourists! Hope to see you in PH soon 🙂

  • Reply
    Thelittlelai: Beyond limits
    October 7, 2016 at 5:34 PM

    Wow, reading your blog post remind me so much about how beautiful our country is for not just having and amazing destination, merely for having a colorful night life as well. I may not be that fond of night life, but I invariably go out for a VideoK session with some of my friends. A well written article about our beloved country the Philippines.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 7, 2016 at 10:41 PM

      Thank you Ariel! Nice seeing you on my blog! I also am not fan of nightlife TBH. Writing this article made me realize that the last party/club I went to was way back in college!

  • Reply
    ROBERT LEE
    October 7, 2016 at 4:38 PM

    Good post and general information for tourists. Except for Angeles City. I SWEAR I am never returning. I do not like the … you know the trade they do there. Other than that, the Philippines is really one of the best places in the world for nightlife. Culturally, it is a little different from say… western countries. But in urban cities, let’s say people are more open minded. Beware though of the predators preying on tourists for money.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 7, 2016 at 6:10 PM

      Haha! Prior to my research, I actually didn’t know much about Angeles City. But red light districts are also part of the PH nightlife so I included it anyway. I agree, Filipinos have different approached with foreigners. 🙂

      • Reply
        ROBERT LEE
        October 9, 2016 at 7:14 PM

        When I went on a two week travel to the north by myself, I was basically driving and stopping wherever I find myself in. On the way back to Manila, I stopped for one night at the city of Angeles. On the main road outside the former US base, there were clubs here and there.

        I found a decent looking hotel and went to my room after checking in. It was dinner time so I left my stuff and went to talk to the receptionists. I asked them where I could find good food. All three female receptionists there told me, I could go to one of the clubs and take home girls.

        I WAS LIKE… HUH??? I go there by myself and it was INSULTING to my person when they assumed I was there for women. Besides, I was asking about food.

        So there. A ‘small’ reason why I do not want to go to Angeles anymore. 🙂

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