Breathe in Fresh: Spots Inside Manila to Help You Unwind
by Anne Marielle Eugenio, January 24, 2019 2:05pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
It's an ultimate pet peeve when someone puffs his or her cigarette smoke to your face, or when smoke belchers speed up on the highway engulfing us in dark smoke—sadly, we accept these as a normal part of our daily grind. So even after a short walk along EDSA, our faces feel the need for washing and our lungs scream for fresh air.
Metro Manila is not always as bad as it seems if you know where to look. In the middle of the towering buildings, traffic, and pollution, there are still spots where you can enjoy nature (and fresh air).
La Mesa Ecopark
La Mesa Dam Compound, Greater Lagro, Quezon City,
La Mesa Ecopark is more than just a park for leisure; it is also a means to provide funds via the entrance fees (priced at 20php for QC students, 40php for adult QC residents, and 50php for non-resident) to sustain the La Mesa Watershed. The watershed protects the La Mesa Dam and Reservoir—the primary source of potable water of 12 million Metro Manila residents.
This 33-hectare park is a perfect place for picnics or team-building activities with their many attractions to choose from. If you are an adventure lover, the eco-park offers activities like hiking and zip-lining. If you prefer to hang out and chill, you can try horseback riding, paddle boat ride or visit their orchidarium.
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Belen, Paco, Manila
Who would think this lively spot was once Manila's municipal cemetery during the Spanish Colonial Era? Paco Park could be your next venue for a quiet afternoon picnic; there’s even a playground within the park kids can enjoy! Paco Park is also a spot for free concerts and cultural events on Friday nights in case you are interested.
Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife
1100 Diliman Quezon City, Philippines
Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife is dubbed as the “Nature Park in the City’s Heart”. This nature park is a venue for various recreational activities. You can rent their amenities—the fishing village, a teahouse, picnic shed, and an amphitheater—for special events. The Biodiversity Management Bureau also protects this 22.7-hectare area which houses a Wildlife Rescue Center, a temporary shelter for confiscated, abandoned, or donated wild animals.
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Rada, Legazpi Village, Makati, Metro Manila
In the middle of Makati’s skyscrapers lies this small green area. The Legazpi Park is perfect for runners (they have a jogging path with way-finder), picnics, or even a place to simply unwind. Legazpi Park also holds Sunday Markets wherein you can find gourmet finds, gift items, and accessories that may interest you.
Arroceros Forest Park
Antonio Villegas St., Ermita, Manila
This 2.2-hectare mini forest is home to over 3,000 trees among which are Balete, Narra, and Acacia. The Arroceros Park is like a small green patch within the busy and gray areas of Manila, which is why it is aptly called "Manila's last lung." But even the last lung is in danger for the Manila government and Universidad de Manila to construct a gymnasium right at the mini forest’s location.
These small patches of nature are our saving grace from the pollution and noise of the Metro. If ever you feel the need a short break from the city without going too far, you might want to pay these spots a visit.
Have any green spots you would like us to feature? Share them with us!