My eyes were craving for green vibrancy and my skin longed for a touch of fresh air. Last night, my friends cancelled on our plan (Mt. Balagbag Hike) and it broke my heart so much I tried to search for convenient escapades — especially for people who would be roaming alone.
Luckily, I remembered I was curious about the La Mesa Eco Park. I know La Mesa Dam from my childhood but I didn’t know where it was back then. That was when I decided to visit the place. The ticket costs 50 pesos per person, but if you are a resident of Quezon City, you only have to pay 40 pesos. If you are a QC student, the entrance fee is just 20 pesos, and is free for QC senior citizens. Take note that a proof of residence/ Valid ID is required.
As it was a Sunday, the place was a little crowded with families, and it added to the pleasant sight.
Upon entry, the entrance to the Butterfly Haven would be visible. However, there is a fee of 60 pesos per person if you would like to see the butterflies. There is an educational tour throughout your trip in the sanctuary.
You would also hear a faint yet joyful noise as you walk deeper into the ecopark. The joyful noise is comprised of children’s laughter and the inviting flow of water. This is the park’s Swimming Area.
There are two swimming areas within the La Mesa EcoPark. Those who’d like to take a dip in the water or enter the pool premises have to pay for 80 pesos, but it will cost only 40 pesos for children who are 3ft and below. Proper swimming attire is strictly enforced.
Since I did not prepare to go for a swim (and since I was alone), I decided to resume my walk through the park. I came across a little pond filled with water hyacinths. I was half expecting to see frogs, but only tadpoles were there.
There was also a river, which I assumed to be manmade, but I was not able to see any activities in it.
Since La Mesa Eco Park is maintained with the help of various organizations and corporations, there is a Flower Terraces built by Shell Philippines. There is staircase that will lead you to the top of the flower terraces.
Somewhere near the place is a Koi Pond, but unfortunately, I was not able to see it. The station for horseback riding is also near the flower terraces. There were a few ponies for rent: 50 pesos for a single ride and 150 pesos for a calesa ride.
Somewhere further, I learned that the river I saw before was a fishing lake. I saw three men holding fishing rods, but unfortunately, I was not able to witness their catch.
The place also boasts of a waterbike lake, smaller than the fishing lake, where you have to pay around 60-200 pesos per 30 minutes, depending on how many people would like to ride the waterbike. Children below 4 years old are not allowed to ride, even with the presence of adults.
In the middle of the lake was a statue of a man and a woman atop a giant turtle. However, there was no description about the statue anywhere near the lake.
Since the place was really meant for family outings and gathering, there were a lot of cottages for rent. I’m not sure how much the rent for the cottages cost, but they are big enough to accomodate around 10-15 people each.
A little near the end of the ecopark is the Petron Amphitheater. It is a big lot which is suitable for picnics. It’s quite amusing to think that even in this place, Shell and Petron are located side by side.
Overall, the trip in the ecopark was quite refreshing. Despite the great heat in Metro Manila, the air within the park is a lot fresher and cooler. It is a good location for family gatherings and mini-outings, but is also welcoming to individual travelers like me
HOW TO GET THERE:
From the southern parts of Metro Manila (i.e., Pasay, Makati, Taguig, Pasig), you can ride a bus that will go to Fairview/ Tungko. Ask the conductor to drop you off at Winston St. in Fairview, Quezon City. There is a tricycle terminal there which can bring you to the ecopark.
If you prefer to ride the MRT, you can ride from any station and alight at the North Avenue station. There are a number UV Express vehicles that can bring you to Fairview, and similar to the bus directions, ask to be dropped off at Winston St. and ride a tricycle to the ecopark.