Friday, June 5, 2009

An afternoon delight at La Mesa Ecopark

It was again one of those unplanned visits. Cruising along the busy road of Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City looking for a place to chill, relax and spend the lazy hours of a Sunday afternoon dragged me to La Mesa Ecopark. Built around the watershed of the same namesake that provides water supply to Metro Manila and nearby provinces, one can wonder how such place exist right smack in a bustling metro of cramped with millions of people that adds up to all sorts of pollution you can think of (noise, air, garbage, etc.).

Entrance fee to the park is PHP50 for adults, PHP40 for Quezon City residents with valid identification, PHP20 pesos for Quezon City students with valid identification and FREE for senior citizens.

After paying the entrance fee, an electric, solar-powered shuttle is available to transfer visitors from the entrance area to where the cottages and tables are. Most people prefer to do a 5-minute walk and breathe the fresh air instead.

This is where the shuttle drops off and picks up riders, located where a few stalls selling food, drinks and souvenirs are.

Locals enjoy the place as a quick alternative to having picnics. It is expected to see people carrying food containers, drink coolers, water dispensers and cloths that is spread out either on the grounds or on the tables scattered around the park. Everyone is strictly prohibited from bringing inside the grounds dangerous weapons and alcoholic drinks.

There are certain areas designated as picnic place, and here is where you will see the tables or cottages available for use. If in case you don't find any of these facilities vacant, you are free to sit on the grass and enjoy an authentic-styled picnic camp.

dog sitting on a table

A number of places and facilities are also available for kids to play and spend the lazy weekend under the cool shed of the trees.

Other areas around the park include the Shell Flower Terraces and if you are lucky to drop by on the right season, you will see the abundance of colors brought by the flowers to the area.

stairs to climb up the flower terraces

Of course, there are lots of trees around the area. People, mostly friends, tend to find their perfect spot to chill and spend the rest of the day under trees like this.

Petron Amphiteatre is also available for big events.

Activities inside the park includes horseback-riding, fishing, biking or even boating.

Another interesting area in the park is the Petron Fitness Trail. It is not just a trail where one can walk but over the course of the trail, you will see 17 exercise stations and is a hit to early morning visitors of the park.

me in front of balance beams..

.. and on the monkey bars!

And obviously, you can enjoy just walking around the fitness trail if you prefer to. Seemingly endless greens and nature surroundings will keep one on his feet to health.

A sculpture of what the locals believe to be "Malakas" (Strong), and "Maganda" (Beautiful), a Filipino local epic characters.

photo opp!

Walking a couple of hours around the park made me thirsty. On the way out, I saw a vendor selling cold and fresh coconut juice (my favorite) and I hastingly indulged into drinking one. I should have got two for myself!

Exiting the park grounds, I chanced by again the rainforest-like entrance (actually the gate where the guards may stop you for inspection), and I personally like the ambience of this gate, giving visitors a feel of what to expect inside.

In a way, I was a bit disappointed because I expected the park to be really massive. I know for a fact that there are other places I didn't visit like the boating lagoon and the paintball field, while the butterfly trail and hatchery was closed for some reason at that time. Perhaps I expected too much but nevertheless, it was a good experience to finally visit this place I've been longing to go to for a number of years already. Also not shown here is the public pool, including the salt water swimming pool where one can dip into the pool that was treated using salt granules instead of chlorine. An additional PHP80 admission for those above 3 feet or PHP40 for those 3 feet and below will be charged to those enter the premises, whether they will be using the pools or not. If you plan to use the pools, make sure to bring with you proper swimming attires as it is strictly implemented.


escape said...

i too expected something more but maybe because of budget constraints though now it should be improving as we can see more and more people go there.

next time ill go there ill just jog and try the mini slide for life.

aceychan said...

love the huts and wooden bridge! and trees!