La Mesa Ecopark and Watershed: A City Sanctuary
By: Nathalie Santos – Dayo
A short history on the The La Mesa Ecopark and Watershed
The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) own the property which is the main source of clean water for many of Metro Manila’s residents.
The watershed fell into ruins because of lack in funds and illegal activities. By 1999, ABS-CBN (one of the largest TV Networks in the Philippines), created Bantay Kalikasan (Nature Watch), partnered with MWSS and the Quezon City government to help rehabilitate the Watershed. In 2004, it was opened again to the people and was given a new name The La Mesa Ecopark. Six years after its reopening, it has now become a popular place for educational trips, Sunday picnics for families and an alternative to going out to the malls.
How to get there:
From Cubao, Quezon Avenue:
Ride a jeepney or bus with a signboard in front that says Fairview
My experience in the La Mesa Ecopark
After hearing about this sanctuary for more than 4 years, I finally got the chance to visit the park last August 2009.
The reason for the first visit, I got invited to participate in a Pre-Nuptial shoot in the park. After the shoot, my friend and I decided to explore the grounds of the park a little bit more.
The first thing you will see upon entering the park is this long trail, above is a canopy formed by tree branches and its leaves.
On one side of the trail, there is a shallow ditch with clear, clean running water. The sound of the running water is relaxing, while walking along the path to go deeper into the woods in the city.
The butterfly hatchery was a quite a walk away. We had to walk up a rough path to get there but it was well worth the effort.
After paying the entrance fee to the hatchery, we proceeded to look at the different specimen on display. We saw different types of pupa, a very fat caterpillar which was probably getting ready to cocoon itself, and a stick insect (it looked so much like a twig until it started moving). It was very educational even for us.
Before going home, we decided to climb up the rough road again to go to the butterfly house. It’s a shed with nets from roof to the ground. Inside, you will be transported into a world filled with beautiful butterflies of all types, colors and sizes.
It’s an unforgettable experience. I was able to extend my hand to the butterfly and it just jumped onto my hand. The butterflies were so used to having people inside its house that they in my eyes, they started not to mind those who take their photos.
Going back to the Ecopark
I enjoyed my first visit so much that I made sure to be able to go back there again with more time to explore most if not all of the park’s amenities and attractions. Last Sunday, the 13th of June, I went back and walked around the park.
Going back to the Ecopark I enjoyed my first visit so much that I made sure to be able to go back there again with more time to explore most if not all of the park’s amenities and attractions. Last Sunday, the 13th of June, I went back and walked around the park.
The owners of this table sell products made from honey. They offer classes for bee farming and how to make organic items from honey.
Their products include bath soap, oils, mosquito repellents, lip balm and other hygiene related consumer products and of course, bottled honey. I asked about the bath soap, it was made from olive oil the price was Php70.00, very cheap for an organic product.
Operating days: Saturdays and Sundays
Other areas to visit within the Park Area
The picnic grounds – the huts are for rent and you can go to the paging and information section to rent it.
The calesa and horse back ride – located near the Petron Ampitheater are the horses. You can opt to ride the calesa around the park or go horse back riding along the trail.
Climb the more than 100 steps to get a view of the La Mesa Dam.
Shop for native souvenirs in the many shops located around the park.
Decorate your skin in the henna tattoo and face painting area
Enjoy painting ceramics and create wonderful works of art, your own!
Swim in the salt water pool inside the park. I didn’t get to enjoy this as I did not bring change of clothes and a swim suit. The entrance fee is Php80.00 for adults and Php40.00 for children. The park has a total of 4 pools, 2 kiddy pools and 2 for adults, with the other one having an Olympic Lap section.
Before going home, we went to the Adventure Zone and watched other people enjoy the following activities:
It was so great seeing families ride inside those boats. Enjoy paddling in the lagoon with ducks swimming beside your vessel. I got so absorbed watching the ducks, they were not scared of the people in the boats.
Other activities in the Adventure Zone
Wall Climbing – pay Php100.00 and climb the wall. There are instructors and safety personnel to help you climb and rappel.
If you’re confident enough, try the Zip Line – get strapped in and zip away
And my favorite activity:
The Paintball Zone
Play this military simulation game and shoot each other with guns using water soluble paint. It’s a GREAT, stress reliever.
The rental fee is Php350.00, inclusive of protective mask, vest, and the gun with 50 bullets, Php450.00, inclusive of protective gear and 100 bullets.
I had a wonderful time walking in the Ecopark. The next time I go back there, I’ll be more prepared. I will try the zip line, wall climbing and if I can convince a couple of friends to join me, I’ll make sure to try and play paintball and see what its difference with playing airsoft. The ecopark is not just nature’s sanctuary in the city, it’s also a fun place to bring friends and family in for a nice Sunday picnic.
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