Alternative and Meaningful Summer Activities in the Philippines For Pinoys, summer almost always means two things: hitting the beach or hanging out in cold places like Baguio, Tagaytay, or in malls. However, summer must not only be about having fun and spending two months' worth of savings. You should also make it a point to make your summer activities meaningful and enjoyable for the whole family or barkada. Here are some alternatives to the usual summer activities we have been used to already.

1.Visiting Museums – the Philippines is more than just fantastic beaches and other summer destinations.Our country is also rich in culture, with a lot of really talented artists both mainstream and underground. Museums are a great way to douse yourself in all the arts and culture that you like. Not only is it a fun family activity, it's also very educational. Plus, museums are found not only in Manila. If you are heading off to Baguio for your summer vacation, you could plan a visit to the BenCab Museum, owned and maintained by National Artist for Visual Arts Benedicto Cabrera.

The museum exhibits not only his own works, but works from other great artists as well, both young and old, contemporary and traditional.

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2.Watching broadway productions and plays – Filipinos are also very artsy and musically talented, and this is apparent in the lineup of awesome plays this 2011. We may not have big stadiums and stages compared to those in other countries, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the artists are any less talented. Here are just a couple of the plays that are worth checking out:

Caredivas – produced by the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), this is a “dramedy” about 5 transgender care givers who emigrate to Israel. To make ends meet, they work as care givers by day, and drag queens by night. Showing until March 13 at the PETA Theater Center in New Manila.

Rent – already a classic broadway show that's been remade a number of times in different countries, Rent takes on a 2nd cycle this year. Still produced by 9 Works Theatrical this year, the show is on until March 6 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC Plaza, Makati.

3.Going on day tours in Manila – if you want to see Manila in whole new light,there are a number of different day tours usually offered for foreign tourists but could also be joined by local ones. For instance, take an educational and very mouthwatering guided walk in Ongpin and the whole of Chinatown as you try dishes in hundred-year-old restaurants, learn about the history of the town, and maybe even get to meet one or two pioneer residents of the city who could get to share some of their pre and post war stories. The food, as well as their amazing stories, are really filling.

The infamous Carlos Celdran is also known for giving these Manila tours, and each tour his tour is different from the previous one. Another fun and enlightening family bonding activity to try this summer.

4.Visiting zoos – Manila Zoo is not the only zoo in the Philippines, as probably some teenagers nowadays think. In previous years,

people only get to visit zoos as part of their school's field trip, which is actually sad if you think about it. There are a lot of wonderful zoos in the country that are easily accessible. Avilon Zoo in Rizal that used to be known only to house a lot - and I mean, A LOT - of birds, is now the biggest zoological park in the Philippines. While Zoobic Safari in Subic is the only tiger safari in the country. But these are only two other zoos you could visit, there's still the Paradizoo and the Residence Inn mini zoo that are famous in Tagaytay, the Malabon Zoo, and a lot more.

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5.Exploring Aquariums – if you want to explore marine life but doesn't enough money to hit the beach for the summer, visit aquariums like the Manila Ocean Park or Ocean Adventure in Subic instead. Get to encounter dolphins, whales, sea lions, and different fishes and learn a lot about marine life. Not only is it educational, but it could be as much, if not more fun than just hanging out at the beach.

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6.Revisiting your childhood through theme parks – theme parks in the Philippines are not just for kids anymore - unless kids could stomach riding the 11-story-high roller coaster in Enchanted Kingdom. Theme parks like EK and Star City is a fun way to do away with all the stress from work or school. Scream at the top of your lungs while atop the Wheel of Fate or experience a 4D movie experience in Rialto.

While there is nothing wrong in spending your summer vacations in the beach, it could get tiring, not to mention give you sunburn. That's why it's always fun to try something new, and in this case educational, because the Philippines has a lot to offer - particularly, a lot more to offer than white- sand beaches. So if you haven't planned your summer vacation yet, consider trying out the mentioned alternative summer activities.

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