Inside the La Mesa Ecopark
Entering the La Mesa Ecopark through its canopied entrance is like being transported out of the city and into a forest in a blink of an eye.
Recently, I managed to do what I have been wanting to do – to go back to the ecopark, which is one of the places right at my ‘doorstep’ but haven’t been to, in a long time. The first and only time I went there was more than a decade ago.
The first of the two trips I took there again was on a weekday. There were fewer people and some of the kiosks/food stalls were closed. It was amazing, just to walk around. I brought my daughter and she got antsy so we left after more than an hour or so.
I came back on a Saturday since I missed exploring parts of the park. There were a lot of people – families carrying picnic stuffs, and groups just going around the park like my companions and I opted to do. The park was more alive. Some of the kiosks that were closed on a weekday were opened. Nevertheless, it was still very relaxing and peaceful to be there, as you can sit just in a corner, under the trees, and do some deep thinking, contemplate life and the universe (magmuni-muni) if that is what you would like to do, like what I want to do sometimes, or write the next chapter of my stories!
La Mesa Ecopark offers a variety of activities and points of interest for everyone, aside from taking in as much of the over abundance of nature around you.
• Butterfly Haven. A guide walked you through the stages of the development of a butterfly and see full-grown ones up close inside a small enclosure.
• Swimming. La Mesa Ecopark has two swimming complexes. One is near the entrance and the other one is near the fishing lagoon. The second time I was there, I thought of going in and see the inside of the first of the two swimming facilities. However, I was unable to do so as the place was booked for a private event. As for the second pool, I only caught a glimpse the first time I was there. It does look quite inviting from what I could see of it.
• Picnic. Fancy eating al fresco under the canopies of trees? You can do it through the designated picnic places at the Lopez picnic grounds. The use of the concrete picnic table is free of charge.
• Food stalls. There are some food stalls/kiosks in the park, just in case you don’t want to carry picnic stuffs.
• Fishing. You can try your hand at fishing in the lagoon. Standing at the other side of the lagoon, picnic area side, I did see some big fishes. If you are not into fishing, just looking at the lagoon is very relaxing and there are picnic huts for rent at the other side.
• Climbing the flower terraces. The view from the top of the Shell Flower Terraces is breathtaking. You also get to see the dam and the surrounding areas, and in the process, get a bit of exercise too, climbing up the many steps to the top!
• Exploring the amphitheatre. The Petron Amphitheatre looks like a small rice terraces. Two people brought a tent and pitched it at a vantage point of the amphitheatre the second time I was in the park. Quite a nice set up. Looking at them, I imagined myself bringing a laptop next time, and doing that too!
• Communing with nature at the mini-forest. Beyond the amphitheater is the mini-forest. You can hike around and enjoy the cool air whilst looking at the trees and beautiful foliage around you. There are walking paths and you will not get lost (as one of the guys with a high-powered camera we chanced upon, when we were about to venture into the forest, assured us, and he was right!) It was very peaceful doing so.
• Going around the orchidarium. From the lagoon side, you can explore and have a relaxing time inside the Drilon Orchidarium. There was a group of students doing some activities when we were exploring the place.
• Zipline (Zip across the flower terraces). Bungee fun. Water bike. Calesa/Horseback riding. These are some of the other activities you can try in the park. There is a boating lagoon, according the map I got, but when I asked the park reception about it, as I was unable to locate it, I was told that they don’t have it anymore.
• Walk around. If you are not keen on swimming or doing other strenuous activities, you can just stroll around the ecopark and enjoy nature without having to travel far out of the city.
I left the place happy. Next time, I will bring a picnic and try one of the pools, or the tent with the laptop near the amphitheatre. For the two times I have been there, I was just contented with going around the park, especially at the mini-forest.
For more information about the La Mesa Ecopark (opening hours, rates, facilities, and various activities you can do, how to go to the place, please click on this link).