To say that life in Metro Manila can be a bit stressful is an understatement. Between the daily grind of the morning commute and the tedious nature of office work, most people feel burnt out by the time Friday finally rolls around. Unsurprisingly, many of them can’t wait to pack up their families and get out of the city for a quiet weekend in the countryside.
Activities usually associated with the country life, such as picnics and horseback riding, are (mistakenly) thought to be available only outside the city bounds. However, one need not look so far afield to get their hands on some all-natural fun. Conveniently located in Quezon City, the La Mesa Eco Park is filled with outdoor activities catering to individuals, families and even (gasp!) work colleagues.
Where is it?
The La Mesa Watershed and Eco Park can be found within the land territory of Quezon City and consists of both a nature reserve and the La Mesa Dam. Commissioned in 1929, the La Mesa Dam is a critical part of the overall Metro Manila water system. The whole property is about 2,700 hectares.
While many urbanites are loosely aware of La Mesa, few appreciate the leisurely amenities on offer. To most it is merely a water source for the city. It will therefore come as a shock to know that La Mesa is quite well taken care of, in marked contrast to most parks and public spaces. One could be forgiven for saying the eco-park is downright pleasant!
A break from the concrete jungle
The La Mesa Eco Park is ideal for taking a quick break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Refugees looking to recharge their bodies and minds whilst preparing for another week of hardship will find the oasis they seek.
Rustling tree leaves and the peaceful sound of running water make La Mesa an ideal place for meditation. Designated trails make it easy, safe and relaxing to walk around and de-stress. For a breathtaking view, I recommend checking out the Shell Flower Terrace.
Developed and rehabilitated by the Quezon City Government with the help of ABS-CBN and MWSS, the Eco Park was designed to house a variety of attractions open to the public. In fact, said attractions were specifically set up to generate income for the continuous care, protection and rehabilitation of the La Mesa Eco Park.
Food and Other Activities
Given that picnicking is a particularly popular pastime for Filipino families, La Mesa is there to deliver. The Lopez Picnic Grounds provides a space to put down the blanket and also has provisions for grilling. The Overnight Camping zone serves as a place to get a first-hand experience in the great outdoors. Numerous Pavilions are also available for private functions.
If picnicking is not your cup of tea, there are a plethora of additional activities to choose from within the park. People who love the water can experience a relaxing swim at the public Salt Water Pool, which makes use of salt granules for its filtering process. Groups of friends, families or couples will surely enjoy the calm waters while riding on a boat at the Superferry Boating Lagoon.
For those who desire to get a bit of a workout in, the Petron Fitness and Mountain Bike Trail is an ideal place to either jog or bike while breathing in the fresh air and soaking in the breathtaking sights of the forest.
If you have a penchant for shooting at things and/or love playing Call of Duty, then paintball is probably your kind of game. Fortunately, La Mesa features a Paintball Field operated by Global Gluntz. If you’re looking for a less violent adrenaline fix, the park also features areas with ziplines, rappelling and wall climbing activities.
Nature Comes First
It’s not all fun and games however, the park also looks to serve a humanitarian and educational purpose. Prior to being rehabilitated and re-opened to the public in 2004, the park had been damaged due to squatters, poachers and illegal logging. Today, it stands as a proof that the environment can still be saved.
Exhibits around the park are set up to boost visitor awareness about the environment and (hopefully) create a better understanding and appreciation for nature. Of particular note is the Butterfly Trail and Hatchery, which includes a very interesting walking tour. The La Mesa Eco Park also houses the Eco-museum, which uses visual imagery to promote and educate people about the conservation of nature.
When visiting the La Mesa Eco Park, make sure to take a moment to bask in the fresh air and the breathtaking sights of the park. Please do your share of saving the Eco Park from damage by respecting everything in it. Throw your trash in the designated places and follow all the regulations of the park during your visit.
Published at: http://manila.coconuts.co/