Summer has always been a great time to start new things. It's when our parents used to sign us up for those swimming/acting/dancing workshops to learn something interesting or, at the very least, to have fun. Continue the tradition by trying out things that you've never done before. Here's a list of great activities that you can turn into hobbies to kick off this awesome time of the year.

WHAT: Swimming
What better way to beat the summer heat than to do a few laps in the pool? Summer brings about a lot of swimming workshops which cater to beginners. Aside from learning how to stay afloat on water, you'll also be able to pick up techniques that can make you more confident when you hit the beach.

WHERE: One of the many good places to start learning is at Ace Water Spa in Kapitolyo, Pasig. Coaches from the Lozada Swimming School hold classes there, and if you're early, you can have a short one-on-one session that will make your investment more than worth it.

WHAT: Writing
Level up your witty hugot phrases by learning how it's really done from experts. Be it a literary workshop or feature writing 101, learning how to put your thoughts into words can be a very rewarding experience. You can even earn a few pesos by going freelance once you're more confident about your style.

WHERE: Writer's Block Philippines regularly holds workshops for aspiring writers. Check out their Facebook page for more details.

WHAT: Mixed Martial Arts
Many folks are now catching the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fever, and with famous female fighters like Ronda Rousey taking the spotlight, women all over the world have never been more eager to ground and pound. A mix of striking and grappling techniques, MMA isn't just about great workout—it’s also about real-world self defense. Many gyms offer MMA training, while some specialize in separate striking or grappling.

WHERE: You may want to try the prestigious Lakay MMA Tap Team gym if you live up north in Baguio. If you're into developing your ground game, drop by Orijins BJJ in Alphaland, Makati. You can also visit Yaw Yan Buhawi in Marikina for a taste of Filipino MMA.

WHAT: Calligraphy
More and more people are beginning to rediscover the beauty of calligraphy. Even those who haven't been introduced to Speedball, the handwriting bible, can create beautiful texts with a bit of practice.

WHERE: Ink Scribbler, founded by FN Amazing Filipina Alexis Ventura, has a great workshop for beginners. Don't be worried about having bad penmanship as instructors will patiently guide you through forms and techniques.

WHAT: Cooking/Baking
It may be hot to be in front of the stove this summer, but the sense of accomplishment you get for having cooked a good meal is more than worth it. Sign up for one of the many great cooking or baking classes being offered this season.

WHERE: A good place to learn is Kitchen Hobbies Cooking Center. You can also visit culinary schools that offer short courses, such as the Center for Culinary Arts, which has an interesting Mommy & Me Series for those who are up for a bit of family bonding.

WHAT: Pole Dancing
Gone are the days when people thought that pole dancing was taboo. Now, everyone acknowledges it as a skill honed through hard work and discipline. It's pretty sexy, yes, but it's also a legit way of getting fit and developing strength and grace.

WHERE: Polecats Manila is top-of-mind when it comes to pole dancing.
They hold lessons in Ortigas, Katipunan, The Fort, and Alabang.

WHAT: Painting
It's a great way to channel your creative side and unplug. From your innermost desires to your daily frustrations, playing around with color on canvas can help you get in touch with your emotions.

WHERE: Head down to Sip & Gogh in Quezon City to try your hand at painting still life. The glass of wine the session comes with isn't bad either.

PHOTO: Kerri Lee Smith/Flickr Creative Commons; GIFS: Giphy

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