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Yes, you need a third place. Here’s where to find one

It’s no secret that recent times have found us to be more individualistic than before. Despite having occurred four years ago, the pandemic’s effects on our socialization remain, adapting us to loneliness and daily routines without a sense of vigor.

Nine-to-fives are often spent at work or school, and it understandably becomes too easy to simply want to head straight home. Free time at home and after work often turns into a rabbit hole of mindless scrolling, which can leave us feeling rather unfulfilled. If this sounds like something you find yourself struggling with, a third place may be the solution you’re looking for.

Third places refer to any social surrounding or space that is neither the home nor the workplace

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Third places refer to any social surrounding or space that is neither the home nor the workplace. Urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg argues that a third place allows for public relaxation and the establishment of a sense of place or belonging. 

Oldenburg describes third places through eight characteristics, but the most notable descriptions and qualifiers deem an ideal third place as a “home away from home,” without the imposition of attendance. 

People in and with third places visit and exist in these spaces voluntarily, as opposed to the mandatory nature of work-related activities. There’s a variety of third places available for different people with different interests. We’ve rounded up some examples around the city that allow you to express and explore your interests, meet new people, or simply be without obligations


Arguably the most popular third place would be the local cafe. Its popularity can be attributed to the way it serves as a comfort zone for those used to spending most of their time at work and at home. That is to say, it’ll be easy to get used to cafes as a third place because they fit into your usual work-home routine but can also facilitate a smooth transition into getting a space between these two.

Cafes are conducive places to do extra work without the pressure that comes with being at the workplace. However, the point of a third place is to separate yourself from work and home, and cafes are flexible enough to serve as spaces for various forms of leisure. 

For example, those working in central business districts such as Makati and Ortigas can immerse themselves in places like Panco Cafe, which has branches in Legazpi, One Ayala, and The Podium.

Another unique example would be “cupsleeve” events—celebrations primarily organized by K-pop fans to surround each other with fellow fans to commemorate important milestones in their idols’ careers, such as birthdays and debut anniversaries.

A recent cupsleeve event was held at Fifty Nine Flower Cafe to celebrate the debut anniversary of NCT DoJaeJung. This served as a space for fans to enjoy delicious meals and drinks within the blooming, spring-themed ambiance. True to the definition of a third place, this fan event felt extra cozy and playful, thanks to the unity and bonding among fans that made the space feel even more welcoming.

Interest-based spaces

On that note, the fastest way to familiarize yourself and connect with a space is to find common ground from the get-go. Interest-based communities, events, and spaces are perfect for those who already have established preferences and hobbies. Some examples include gyms and fitness studios for the health-conscious, book clubs and museums for the creatively inclined, or even bars for those looking for after-hours fun.

Like cafes, bars also come in different forms and serve various purposes. Some in particular are dedicated to certain genres of music. Metro Manila is home to various jazz bars, including Cubao’s Tago Jazz Cafe. Newcomers can enjoy Filipino jazz music on weekends in a cozy, welcoming atmosphere with new shows every week. 

READ: Get your groove on at these 4 Manila jazz bars

For those with active and competitive spirits, options range from gaming cafes to bouldering gyms. High Grounds Cafe boasts Predator gaming computers with up to 500Mbps Wi-Fi. Students may also be more familiar with Techtite, an esports lounge with branches conveniently located near universities such as Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University. 

Meanwhile, you can try your hand at a new sport at the Bouldering Hive, the metro’s most popular rock climbing gym. Its location places it as an ideal post-work activity to let off steam and integrate a new kind of physical activity into your routine.


Experts on third places claim that these spaces’ effects are best highlighted through physical, in-person communities. Physical activity helps in better situating yourself in a more tangible sense of place, as movement does a good job in keeping us grounded to our surroundings. It’s worth noting though that physical activity doesn’t always entail the usual exercise you may have in mind. 

Makerspaces—anywhere where you can work on and create tangible items with your own hands—can provide that feeling of physical groundedness you need. The first thing that comes to mind would be art studios, especially those dedicated to painting classes and workshops. 

For a more hands-on (pun intended) experience, a pottery studio may be worth a try. Like most art forms, sculpting clay may seem like an intimidating feat for starters but luckily, many pottery studios offer beginner-friendly classes and workshops that introduce them to a new craft. 

Laro Ceramics in Katipunan and Wabi Sabi Studio in Kapitolyo are pottery studios that offer mug-making and wheel-throwing classes suited for all levels. The studios’ aesthetically pleasing interiors are highly conducive for creating Instagram-worthy ceramics. 

Community hubs

Can’t seem to find yourself committing to a certain interest or hobby to justify a physical space just yet? No worries. There are third places that transform into something new at every visit. One weekend, there’s a flea market. The next, a rug tufting workshop.

Endless possibilities await at Makati’s Comuna, a space that calls itself “your creative community.” The creative space is composed of different, smaller spaces ranging from a bookstore owned by Sarge and Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta to a cafe serving comfort food and drinks. Past Comuna events range from quiz bee nights to art exhibits—perfect for today’s hip and quirky souls.


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