Visit a Winter Wonderland
Yes, you read that right: You can experience winter in the Philippines. All you have to do is head over to Star City (near the CCP Complex), and you can experience the aptly-named Winter Wonderland for yourself. Be sure to bring your nicest, warmest jackets, so you can pose against a snowy backdrop and take a photo for memory's sake.
Alternatively, you can also visit the Trails to Antarctica at the Manila Ocean Park. There, you can watch live Humbold penguins in action, or take photos of yourself at the Snow Village. As you can see, you don't need to be in Antarctica to experience Antarctica.
Dive Into a Swimming Pool
While the Philippines has plenty of cool beaches (some of which are worth a second look), there's no need to go all the way to them just to beat the heat. If you're having a summer staycation in Manila, take a trip to a swimming pool or two near you.
For example, Makati has the Makati Aqua Sports Arena (MASA), which is remarkably well-kept despite being a public pool. Between the crystal-clear pool and the spacious changing rooms, you'll feel like every bit of your Php150 is worth it.
Other pools you can visit in Metro Manila include the Ace Water Spa (a luxury pool in Pasig and Quezon City), the Marikina Sports Park, the Philippine Army Wellness Center (also known as the Philippine Army Gym) in Taguig, and RAVE in Pasig. If you want to know whether they're worth the trip, call them up and ask about facilities, rates, and other important information.
Have a Cup of Cold Dessert
Remember halo-halo, the Filipino version of parfait? No matter where you go in Metro Manila, there's bound to be a halo-halo vendor in every corner. You can grab one of the cheaper versions at fast food chains like Chowking and Razon's, or take your pick from the best places in Makati to buy halo-halo.
If halo-halo isn't your cup of tea, let the dessert parlors in Makati come to your rescue. Try a bowl of Korean bing su at Café Seolhwa, enjoy Hokkaido-style ice cream at Dojo Dairy in Little Tokyo, or sample a wide variety of Asian desserts at The Dessert Kitchen. With these many choices, you'll hardly run out of tasty ways to beat the heat.
Believe it or not, shopping can cool you down. Since most malls in the Philippines are airconditioned, they're great places to stay if you want to escape the scorching heat outside. As long as you sit down instead of walk around, you can keep your body temperature steady and stable.
Of course, the downside of staying in shopping malls is you'll be tempted to, well, shop. One way around this is to find a lounge area (most of these are close to the entrance), and stay there for as long as you like. Granted, it can get boring after a few hours, but if you're not in the mood to break your budget at the moment, it's your best option.
Use Other Ways to Stay Cool
Previously, we wrote about 12 ways to stay cool in the Philippine summer that don't involve air conditioning. To wit:
- Drink plenty of cool, clean water. You can get this from bottles sold in convenience stores, refilling stations, or boiled tap water.
- Cut down on foods that heat you up. Some foods that can raise your body temperature include ginger, coconut oil, and warm beverages like coffee and tea.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes in bright colors. The brighter the color, the cooler the outfit.
- Take a bath as often as you can. Unless you're concerned about your water bill, this shouldn't be much of an issue in a country where temperatures can get as high as 51˚C.
- Use an umbrella outside. Whether it's sunny or rainy, umbrellas always come in handy in the Philippines.
- Unplug your appliances when they're not being used. Even when they're turned off, electrical appliances emit heat as long as they're plugged in. By unplugging them, you reduce the heat circulating within your house.
- Place a damp (but not dripping wet) sheet on your bed before you go to sleep. This will help you stay cool at night.
With these tips, a cool summer despite the sweltering heat is within reach. How about you? What tips and tricks to stay cool do you swear by? Let's hear them out in the comments.