Is there any free (or nearly free) local entertainment to be found in Manila?
Free entertainment can be found in local beauty pageants and singing contests mostly during little town (barangay) fiestas.
That said, you can enjoy some nightlife entertainment for a fee. It does not cost a lot; most bars with live music will ask at most USD 2, and it usually comes with a beer.
The good news is that there is a string of these places in Manila, so you can just bar hop and watch different performances, try Patio Papa, Bedrock Bar and Grill, Calle 5, and if none of these is to your liking, go to the next-door neighbor!
Be aware though that some places ask for a “foreigners fee” which is a tad higher than their usual USD 1-2 entrance fee.
Where/How can I party like a local?
Locals love to drink and stay up partying until the sun rises – they move from party to party.
To party like a local, you will need a lot of money. They dish out huge amounts of money even if that means they will be living on close to nothing until their next salary comes.
What are the best places to drink on a budget in Manila?
The ONLY place to drink on a budget will be in your own Airbnb.
Just kidding, but do note that drinks are significantly higher than their supermarket price, and you must be prepared to spend at least USD 5 for a night out. However, that amount can quickly skyrocket to USD 50 if you are not careful.
Z Hostel has a rooftop bar with impressive views, but you need to pay an entrance fee of USD 7, which can be used for drinks at more affordable places.
Bunk 5021 Hostel has a budget-friendly bar, which a lot of backpackers frequent, so you might even end up making a friend!
Sky Deck at The Bayleaf Intramuros is also a great place to drink on a budget. Do not get turned off by the fancy hotel and great location, you will get your money’s worth at that place.
Oarhouse Pub of Manila which was featured in Bourdain’s Parts Unknown also offers budget-friendly prices and a great atmosphere.