Want to go on a picnic in a forest setting without leaving Metro Manila? Well, you should seriously check out the La Mesa Ecopark, which is within the La Mesa Dam watershed in Novaliches, Quezon City. Officially named as the La Mesa Watershed Resort and Ecological Park, the ecopark provides weary Metro residents with a respite from the polluted downtown areas.
The park was inaugurated on April 28, 2004 and is a product of the joint effort of the Quezon City government, MWSS (the water supply government agency), and ABS-CBN’s Bantay Kalikasan Foundation, among other donors.
Among the things you can encounter in the park is the centerpiece salt-water swimming pool (supposedly healthier than chlorine-treated fresh-water pools and quite visible in Google Maps), a really extensive orchidarium, the Shell Flower Terraces, a fishing pond, and a lagoon where you can go row-boating a la Burnham Park in Baguio City.
Photo by Harold Heindell Tejada.
You can get to the La Mesa Ecopark by entering the East Fairview Subdivision from Commonwealth Avenue. The entrance fee is at an affordable 40 pesos per adult; Quezon City residents even get a 50% discount (with a valid ID). The swimming pool has its own (cheap) entrance fee (60 pesos for adults, 30 for kids). Possibly the only problem you might have with the park is that it’s so popular (with hundreds of people visiting everyday) that it’s almost impossible to find a nice quiet spot inside to indulge in your solitude.
If you want to read more about the park from people who have visited it, try our sister blog, the Pinoy Travel Blog, or a Manila Bulletin article by Annaliza Villas, or this travel guide from ClickTheCity.com.