a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

100-Peso Adventure : Makati Park & Garden & Pasig River

I woke up that morning broke, but eager to explore.


With some running gear on, I walked out of the house with a destination in mind -  a park which caught my attention on my home the other day. Checking good, old reliable Google map I took mental notes on how to get there on foot and threw away all worries that I’d get lost. (I’m quite bad with city directions, you know :P)  

Roughly 4 kilometers away from home, after an hour of dodging cars and wandering around like an excited field tripper, I arrived at the main gate of Makati Park & Garden. Opened in April 2000, this serene, well-manicured escape within the city was a project of former mayor Jejomar Binay.
A monument built in honor of one of the Philippines' famous hero, Andres Bonifacio
There are no entrance or parking fees to be paid. The guards, were quite welcoming and got curious when I took out my camera to take photos. It was one of the few things that fit inside my teeny tiny waist pack from Nathan Sports. (Okay, I just need to talk about it a little bit because this is a good brand.  My waist pack’s a discontinued model – Shadow Pak, but it’s still quite reliable, contents don’t bounce off and after moving around, I actually forget I have a mound of essentials strapped near my butt. :P)
Plants near the Bonifacio monument
So the guards, were friendly and even asked where I came from since I had this excited, goofy expression on my face after seeing my immediate surrounding which was even more awesome than I imagined. I was surrounded by trees, flowers and shrubbery. No vandals on walls, clean grounds, friendly street sweepers and best thing of all – no crowd!

They found it funny that I actually just came from a neighbor city but acted like I just arrived in the country. I think that when you stop being excited about things, life becomes heartbreaking-bland so I try to find things that excite me each day, such as this park. :) 
Flowers, I love them alive! 
Perhaps a downside, but I'm not going to throw any judgments  as I don't have enough information about it, are the huge cages of birds in the park. Personally, I prefer  seeing animals in their natural habitat. They look very healthy though, plump actually, the color of their feathers were vibrant and the cages looked clean. 
Stone benches with a good view of the lagoon where you can relax, preferably when the sun's down :P
I ignored the heat and the thirst  that was settling in my throat as the sun pierced through the tree branches. I had a cap on and felt enamored to roam some more. 

Even stone paths allows runners and walkers to be able to circle the park. I perceive it to be around 500 meters per round. :P There's also a bunch of gazebos where small groups can gather. 

Another happy sight for me apart from the plants and enormous trees was the view on top of the amphitheater  Supposedly a venue for events, it can also be used for stairs training if you're planning a hike soon. 

I climbed up, peeped curiously over the edge and was surprised to see... 
(left) 50-meter pool; (right) kiddie pool
Ahh, the turquiose man-made wonders of Makati Aqua Sports Arena (MASA)! :) It's just next door and is open to the public from Tuesday-Sunday, 8 AM-12 noon, then 1 PM-8 PM. Non-Makati residents like me will have to pay a hefty 150 Pesos while fortunate residents only have to pay 50 Pesos (ID required).

There's a 7 Eleven across MASA where I bought some Pocari Sweat (37 Pesos). It was an excellent choice for rehydrating after a long hot walk. After that, I was ready to walk home again. 
Pasig River's one of the views when you take a stroll along JP Rizal Avenue. It's not actually a pretty scene with
the dark water and garbage along the bank.  
To cap off my adventure, I boarded a motorized boat (different from the Pasig River Ferry  service) that transports passengers from Guadalupe to Mandaluyong. I didn't know it existed and only found out about it that morning while I was walking along JP Rizal Street and happened to glance at the water. The boat had a green roof, a color I love so dearly, which is why I was drawn to it. The short ride lasted for barely a minute and cost just 4 Pesos. From Mandaluyong, I hailed a tricycle home (30 Pesos). At 11:00 AM, the heat just became overbearing!
Friendly boatman gamely posing for a souvenir shot :)
This little escapade of mine left me with some change from my 100-Peso budget and though my destination wasn't as exotic or as daring as I wanted it to be, it felt very good to just get out there and see new things. 

Makati Park & Garden
Dr Jose P. Rizal Extension, Makati ‎(across University of Makati)
Open daily until 9:00 PM (forgot what time it opens)
Map here


Notes : 
When walking along JP Rizal Street, walk in the morning and walk with a brave swagger. Standard precautionary measures must be taken. 

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