Nature parks and green spaces in Quezon City – Travel Up

Much has been written about the benefits of nature and green spaces. For many people who have been cooped up inside their homes the past months, a simple walk in a park can really help boost one’s mood. Nature parks and green spaces can provide a respite from the stress of urban life and offer city dwellers a place to relax and recharge.

Unfortunately, many cities around Metro Manila really lack public parks, nature areas, and green spaces that are easily accessible to the public. Quezon City, which prides itself on being a green city, has a few places where you can enjoy natural surroundings.

Photo taken in 2019

With everyone cooped up for the past year and a half due to the pandemic, many people are looking for places where they can enjoy outdoor spots, and natural surroundings safely. Here are a few nature parks and outdoor areas with green spaces that you can visit in Quezon City.

Based on the latest rules of the IATF, children are allowed in the following areas:

  • Parks
  • Playgrounds
  • Beaches
  • Biking and hiking trails
  • Outdoor tourist sites as defined by Department of Tourism
  • outdoor non-contact sports courts and venues
  • al fresco dining establishments

Outdoor areas of places like malls, which are considered mixed-use indoor/outdoor establishments, are still off-limits to children as of July 12, 2021..

The Quezon City Government has identified 19 safe zones for minors, mainly several city-owned parks managed by the Quezon City Parks Development and Administration Department (PDAD), and some parks inside residential subdivisions. This includes the Quezon Memorial Circle, Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, Quezon City Hall Urban Farming Area, Amoranto Stadium, Project 6 Park, Masambong Park, Manresa Park, Dapitan Park, IBP Park, Camerino Park, Project 4 Park, Bernardo Park, Roces Park, Hayaville II Park, Toro Hills Park, Project 4 Park, Blue Ridge B Park, Mira Nila Park and CP Garcia Park.

Here are more details on some of the best nature spots in the city.

The Quezon Memorial Circle is a national park located inside a large traffic circle – Elliptical Road – in Quezon City. It is known mainly for the 66-metre tall mausoleum containing the remains of Manuel L. Quezon, the second official President of the Philippines.

The QMC serves as the main park of the city, housing a shrine, museums, recreation spaces, and green spaces. The bustling urban park features several smaller gardens within its grounds including a flower garden, a tropical garden, and a demo urban farm.

Aside from being a refreshing place to jog, walk and go biking and hold picnics, QMC is also a great place to buy potted herbs, ornamental plants, succulents and other home gardening essentials. The park has several playgrounds and walking trails scattered in different spots around and offers bicycle rentals for adults and kids.

NOTE: Some attractions, bike rentals, and indoor museums inside QC Memorial Circle may not be operational yet due to IATF restrictions.

The Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife (NAPW) is a serene urban park containing a zoological and botanical garden located in Diliman, just across the road from Quezon Memorial Circle. There’s a minimal entrance fee to visit and the management has put a cap on walk-in visitors, which means it won’t get as crowded as some other public areas.

The area contains a small man-made lagoon, an aquarium, a playground, botanical garden and a Wildlife Rescue Center, which the Department of Environment and Natural Resources uses as a temporary shelter for confiscated, retrieved, donated, sick, abandoned, and injured wild animals.

There are interesting corners around the park’s landscape including various trees that provide shade to several picnic areas and a few cottages. Pets are allowed in the park except for the Wildlife Rescue Center. As of our visit, there was no place to buy food inside, but you can bring your own snacks and drinks as long as you dispose of your waste properly.

  • NAPWC is open every Wednesday to Sunday from 7AM to 5PM.
  • Walk-ins are allowed
  • There’s a cap of 500 walk-in park visitors per day
  • Private and commercial photo and video shoots with prior reservations are accepted, provided that park facilities shall be rented. Walk-in requests for same day photo/video shoots not allowed.
  • Operating of drones for photo/video shoots is not permitted.
  • All park visitors and clients with vehicles shall enter and exit the park through the North Avenue Gate (Gate 2). Pedestrians are allowed to enter and exit via the Quezon Avenue Gate (Gate 1).
  • Bring your own food and drinks. The canteen is no longer operational. Food deliveries shall not be allowed.
  • Park facilities for reservation include:
    • Fishing Village – Maximum of 70 people at a time
    • Tea House – Maximum of 30 people at a time
    • Amphitheatre – Maximum of 250 people at a time
    • Picnic Shed – Maximum of 5 people at a time

The campus of the State University of the Philippines is not just an educational establishment, but it serves an urban oasis as well. This 493-hectare flagship campus is like a gigantic park with tree-lined avenues and wide grassy areas where all sorts of outdoor activities are held. The academic oval is a 2.2 kilometer loop popular with cyclists and joggers especially during the weekends.

For many QC residents, the UP Diliman campus is space where you can enjoy a picnic on the grass, take a nap under the trees, fly a kite, or go for a leisurely walk with friends.

The fire trees that bloom during summer, and sunflowers which are planted to mark graduation rites, have become annual attractions for many people in the city.

  • UP Diliman’s main academic oval is still closed to the public as of July 2021
  • Some portions of University Avenue are still frequented by bikers and joggers.
  • All photos were taken before the pandemic.

La Mesa Eco Park is a 33-hectare public park located along the natural boundary of the La Mesa Watershed Reservation. This natural park contains gardens with tropical plants, ponds and walking paths, an eco-trail, as well as a butterfly garden, an orchidarium and swimming pools.

The park used to offer hiking, biking, horseback riding, rappelling, zip-lining, and fishing. Visitors can also enjoy paddle boat rides in the lagoon. As of May 2021, due to pandemic restrictions, the only allowable activities are jogging, walking and meditation. Only the main access roads and Open-air ampitheatre are accessible to the visitors.

Guidelines (as of May 21, 2021)

  • Walk-ins are accepted
  • The park will follow a limit of 100 guests at the park at any given time
  • Minimum donation of P40 per head is charged.
  • Concessionaires, amenities, photo/video shoot and picnic activities will remain closed until further notice

The La Mesa Nature Reserve is a protected area that preserves the only major watershed in Metro Manila, which serves as the primary source of drinking water for those living there. It contains the last remaining rainforest of its size in this area.

There are several activities that you can do in the nature reserve, including trail running, hiking and biking (you need to bring your own bike), trekking and bird watching (bring your own binoculars).

Guidelines (as of May 21, 2021)

  • Booking and reservations required for all visitors
  • The park only accepts 50 pax per day
  • Entrance fee: Minimum donation of P200/head for groups of 5-10 pax, minimum donation of P1,000 for groups of 1 to less than 5
  • Each group will be assigned 1 guide
  • Maximum of 3 hours per group inside the Watershed

Circulo Verde is a mixed-use complex along the Marikina River in Quezon City, bordering with Pasig. The riverfront area is primarily residential, but it also has commercial establishments like Calle Industria, a lifestyle mall with some al fresco and rooftop restaurants, a bike shop and cafe, and several small outdoor parks and spaces.

Circulo Verde contains The Bike Playground, the first bike park in the Philippines, which has an asphalt pump track and 1-kilometer outdoor trail and a kids’ track. The pump track can be for bikes, skateboards, scooter, rollerblades, and roller skates. They also offer pump track/MTB coaching, and bike/skateboard rental. The area also has a CV Quad, a convertible court for basketball, volleyball, badminton and futsal, a football field.

For those with pets, the area contains Hachi Park, a small dog park named after teh famous Japaanse dog Akita dog, Hachikō. The park is equipped with benches and dog stations including water vessels and rubbish bins, and is secured by a 1.2 meter-high fence.

  • Walk-ins are not allowed.
  • Up to 10 bikers are allowed per hour.
  • Visitors can book slots individually or block the whole hour for exclusive use via their Booking Form.
  • Fee is P100/head/hour. Guests are allowed to book for succeeding hours separately.
  • No Show guests will not be allowed to book or declined reservation for 10 days or pay the booking on the next visit.

The Balara Filters Park is a 60-hectare park located in the Diliman village of Pansol in Quezon City, adjacent to the University of the Philippines Diliman main campus. It’s one of the oldest recreation areas in the city, having been first opened to the public in 1953.

Postcard of Balara during its glory days

The park occupies part of the old Balara Filtration Plant complex, one of the main treatment facilities for water coming from the La Mesa Dam. While the area has some playgrounds, and notable heritage structures like an old water tower, old fountains and a filtration windmill, unfortunately, the whole area has become sadly run down, and doesn’t feel all that welcoming to visitors.

The place is interesting enough for urban exploration and for a quick nature fix. You can still find a few picnic tables in shaded areas under the trees and some local eateries in the vicinity.

Note: Some areas and playgrounds may be restricted to visitors.

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