With the increased popularity of ecotourism these days, going to the La Mesa Dam and EcoPark is an expected choice. Yet it’s ironic that we haven’t visited the place even if we work and live near it. So, during the 3 Kings celebration, we decided to have a picnic-lunch at La Mesa.
I didn’t think much of the place, a short-lived opinion that vanished into thin air as soon as we arrived. I thought it’s just the same boring patch of green plants and open space. But I was badly mistaken. La Mesa EcoPark is a perfect picnic place and I could say that with confidence even if my ONLY other picnic experience was at the UP Sunken Garden.
There are a number of open areas amidst the trees, shrubs and other greenery. Since we haven’t been to the EcoPark, our first instinct was to grab the first available open space nearest the entrance, thinking that, just like in a parking space during peak times, there might not be an available space up the road. We found out that there are many open areas as you go deeper into the Ecopark.
There are picnic tables in a number of places, but we decided to simply put a mat on the ground, under the shade of a tree. It’s rare that I get to lay down in open air, especially in the city. Now that I’ve done it again, my childhood “fear” of spears raining from the sky came back. The imaginary spears immediately blipped out, though, when someone said that lunch is ready.
Faucet/water stations are found all over the place, good for washing hands, plates or anything of that sort. You don’t have to fall in line or walk to the end of the earth just to look for tap water. There are a number of small stalls selling chichirya and meals. Comfort rooms are readily available. The staff go around to get the trash from the trash cans. The place is relatively well maintained, I must say.
Take all that, then add shade, fresh air and cool breeze into the equation, then add the following components: view of the La Mesa Dam (although taking pictures and video of the dam itself is unfortunately not allowed), the Flower Terraces, playgrounds for kids (there’s more than 1 playground), kid’s bikes for rent, boating, rappelling through the zip line across the boating lake (you’ll see one if you look closely at the right side of the boat, photo to the right), fishing, paintball gear and place, and the Butterfly Trail and Hatchery, and what do you get? Perfect picnic place for the kids (and the oldies).
Oh, I almost forgot — there’s a swimming pool, so better come prepared. For those who want to burn calories (or for us who are dreaming of burning fats), there’s a fitness trail. I might just go back someday to try the fitness trail and see if fresh air could help me lose weight faster. More details in directory.
The La Mesa Dam and EcoPark is found in Quezon City, which explains why QC residents enjoy a P10-discount in entrance fee. There are a number of entrance/egress from La Mesa, but only one going into the EcoPark is open to the public.
How to get there? From the Quezon Circle (which is near UP-AyalaLand TechnoHub, Trinoma and SM North EDSA), take Commonwealth Avenue past UP, Ever-Gotesco and Sandiganbayan. After the Mangahan Market (to your left), you’ll see Andok’s Litson Manok and KFC outlets (to your right) and MetroBank (to your right). You could turn right in a couple of blocks in that area, all of which will lead you to the EcoPark. Don’t hesitate to ask for directions. [See map and directions]
How much are the rates? Main entrance fee is P50, but Quezon City residents enjoy a P10-discount. There are separate fees for the swimming pool (persons above 3 feet — P80; below 3 feet — P40), boating park (P100 for 30 minutes per boat, good for 4 people), Butterfly Trail and Hatchery (P30).
There you go. Next time you’re thinking of having a picnic in the middle of the city while enjoying nature at the same time, think of La Mesa EcoPark, located at the La Mesa Dam.