A Forest right in the heart of Manila?
You bet, and it is very accessible from anywhere in Metro Manila; an hour’s travel from downtown Manila and mere minutes from the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.
The watershed Eco Park in Fairview, Quezon City is a perfect place to spend a quiet leisurely walk or recreation with loved ones. It is excellent for health buffs, too. It has great outdoor amenities for the family: picnic grounds, swimming pools, camp sites, boating area, playgrounds, a butterfly nursery, an amphitheater, and biking—all under the shade of a protected forest.
Taking Commonwealth Avenue as one exits the Quezon Memorial Circle in Philcoa, the road takes you directly to the Regalado area in merely 25 minutes. Regalado is just 15 minutes past the Sandigan Bayan building on the right side of the road.
In Regalado, directional posts are visible, through the Filinvest Subdivision up to the site. A marker is the steel bridge separating Filinvest from the park, past of which are the first sights of the forest. Right there is the parking area.
The entry gate welcomes alighting passengers in the parking lot—for a small fee—and a lone road leads to the middle of the forest; Eco Park. A shuttle vehicle brings visitors to various areas of the park, but walking can be an option—and a delightful experience.
Giant trees, wild shrubberies, and steep hills line the entry road. There are streams around teeming with fattened, local fish. But fishing in the streams is prohibited. There’s a huge pond where fishing is allowed—again for a small fee.
At lunch time the aroma of grilled food often emanates from the picnic grounds. Families huddle together for mouthfuls of their packed lunches. Food kiosks are spread in the area for extra servings. Now and then page updates from the sound system disturb the periodic chirps of birds and hidden insects.
The major site lots of people come to look at is the majestic water-shed dam that supplies big portions of the metropolis. A long flight of steps leads to the summit where a magnificent view of the dam slowly unfolds as one climbs higher.
The climb up and down is a sure calorie burner and works out the lungs with healthy oxygen from the forest. Both the young and elderly may be seen traversing the steps in the morning to work up a sweat.
The gently rolling side of the dam is carpeted with bright colorful flowers flocked by multitudes of hopping butterflies. From up the summit looking down, the bed of dazzling flowers is reminiscent of the summer capital, Baguio.
The Eco Park in Quezon City is an affordable getaway, alone or with loved ones, to escape city life a while and enter the enchanted lure of deep forest life—still there, right in the city.