Posts Tagged A Closer Look

Getting fit by the bay

Of all the malls in the metro, the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, popularly called MOA, is the least one I go to because it is a bit far from where I live. The one time I was in the mall to attend a friend’s baby’s baptism party in one of the restaurants fronting the bay, I did find the place quite interesting with tons of shops and restaurants.

However, it is also pretty huge! It was tiring to walk around with a kid who refused to walk anymore due to the vastness of the mall. Kiddie carts for hire saved the day. I thought of checking out the amusement park in front of SM MOA with my little one, though. Something I haven’t done until now.

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Recently, I discovered that there is another attraction in the SM MOA Complex. The area in front of the mall, SM by the Bay, is a popular place for those who want to get fit or people who likes to be in an open space within the city with a view of the sea, and relax a bit.

The area was filled with joggers that morning, as well as bikers and people, like me, who only prefers to walk around briskly to shake off those body fats, exercise the heart, and clear the head.

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The early morning view from the bay was very relaxing. At one point, though, a not so nice smell wafted into the area, brought by the wind, but it was not enough to distract or dissuade me from soaking the beautiful and relaxing view as I walked back and forth along the sea wall that, sort of, fenced the place.

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I discovered that you can also take a ferry ride around Manila Bay at sunset from this area. Hmmm, something to take a closer look at, too!

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SM By the Bay also full of restaurants and small food kiosks, aside from the rides scattered at one side of the area, which includes a giant Ferris wheel. Some of the kiosks were opened even at early morning but when we checked out the Starbucks we saw while brisk walking, fervently wishing for a cup of very hot coffee, we found out that it will open around noon!

Sitting cross-legged on the seawall with a steaming cup of coffee after a vigorous morning exercise would have been heaven, but it was equally so with a cold bottled water and a hot dog sandwich!  With all the restaurants there, it might be worth checking it out in the evening. I have to do that next.

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We ended up having coffee and breakfast at the Starbucks in Harbour Square at the CCP Complex, an area very much familiar for Be Careful of My Heart fans like me. While drinking my caffe americano, I thought of the scenes in the show wherein Sir Chief and Maya were walking in the area, as well as at the other side of the seawall in the CCP Complex.

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Maybe, it was the reason I finally remembered that I have been meaning to buy sunflowers!  So on the way home, I passed by Dangwa in Sampaloc, Manila and bought two sunflowers in plastic containers.

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It was a great morning, indeed.

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The Quezon Heritage House

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I returned to the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC), one morning, to check on the museum underneath the Quezon Memorial Shrine. Unfortunately, it was closed to the public as it was being renovated. I asked the guards in the area if they have an idea when it will open again. They can’t give me a date, though. Maybe, seeing I was a bit disappointed, they told me that I could visit the Quezon House instead, and pointed me to it. At first, I was hesitant as I have set my mind on seeing the museum. While walking around, thinking what I would like to do next,  I made up my mind and decided to check out the house, which I didn’t notice in my previous visits to the park, since I was already there. I’m glad, I did!

I love very old grand houses, and I have been inside several ones – from Taal, to Vigan, to one in Nueva Ecija, and one in Manila which was converted into a beautiful fine-dining place. While the house of President Manuel L. Quezon inside QMC is a reconstruction of the vacation house originally built at New Manila, Quezon City, it contains pieces of furniture and materials, including the Machuca tiles, from the original house.

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Stepping inside the house with my tour guide, a Tourism student from one of Manila’s universities on practicum, felt like stepping back in time.

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The spiral stairs leads to the ground floor of the house.

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The door leads to the grounds of the house.

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Entrance to the place is free. However, should one wish to donate some amount, there is a donation box just before you exit the door leading to the grounds of the house.

For more information on the place, click on the following links:

° QMC’s must-see attraction: The Quezon Heritage House

° The Quezon House at QMC

° Quezon house now in Circle

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Inside the Quezon Memorial Circle

There is something for everyone at the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC). This is what I realized when I have finally gotten around to taking a closer look at this 25-hectare park situated at the heart of Quezon City, Philippines, and the city’s most distinguishable landmark.

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I have been a Quezon City resident for more than a decade and I haven’t really been inside ‘Circle’ as the place is popularly called until two weeks ago. I initially got interested in finally checking out Quezon Memorial Circle  after all these years because it was one of the locations used in my favorite teleserye (Philippine soap/drama series).

My first attempt was more than a year ago I think, but there were a lot of people at that time, also the places I wanted to see were being renovated then, the Circle of Fun and Circle of Joy, so I gave up. I also attended an event in QMC after that but I didn’t manage to go around the place, just at the area of the park where the event was being held.

Recently, I have taken to jogging, running and walking, to keep myself fit and one of the places I found out where I can do this is at the Quezon Memorial Circle. In between brisk walking and slow jogs, I took pictures and checked out various points of interest there:

° The Quezon Memorial Shrine. The area around the shrine is a favorite jogging/running path. I even saw some practicing martial arts on the shrine’s grounds. There is a museum inside the shrine for Commonwealth of the Philippines President (1935-1944) Manuel L. Quezon, after whom the city was named, but it was closed for renovation when I checked it out. I’ll write about the shrine, which is also Quezon’s final resting place, in details when the museum opens and I can take a closer look at it too.

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º Gardens. I prefer calling them parks within the park. There are picnic tables in some areas. People also play badminton, chess, exercise or jog in and around these areas.

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º Playground, amusement parks and a zip line.  There are a lot of interesting things for kids at Circle of Joy but I suggest, though, to bring the kids in there not too early as the park employees are still cleaning the place, early morning. When I went there at around 7AM, there were quite a bit of garbage still from the night before! The Circle of Fun, on the other hand, opens in the afternoon.

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º Biking. The area around Circle of Joy is also designated as a biking area. You can rent bikes and go at the path around the playground.

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º Zumba/aero sports venues.  On the Saturday I was there the first time, there were a lot of people participating in the zumba session near the shrine. There were other places in the park doing so. One was at the fountain area, and also in this covered court.

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º Tiangges (bazaars). The first time I was there, which was a Saturday, the stalls were full of stuffs, mostly clothes. I went around and to my delight, found a stall that sells ceramics and I was not able to resist buying a bowl for my collection! There was also a food tiangge that Saturday. When I returned on a weekday, the stalls were all empty.

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º Places to eat, buy food and have coffee. Aside from the big restaurants near the entrance, in front of the city hall, there are also other places inside Quezon Memorial Circle where you can buy food and have coffee.

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º The peace bell.

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º Urban farming. I was delighted to see the house made of native materials in this area, with a banggera (a  part of old/traditional Philippine houses where one can wash plates, glasses, etc.)  in the back.

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º Plant shops/nurseries for those who likes to garden. I bought some of my sunflowers from one of the stalls at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

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º The Quezon Heritage House. This one I have toured on a separate date. When the museum was closed, and the guards were unable to tell me when it will open, they directed me to this house. I’ll write about it next.

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The fee for vehicles going inside the park is below. There are parking spaces inside as well. There are also pedestrian underpasses now, which make QMC more accessible.


So,  after several trips, Quezon Memorial Circle is not just a place I passed by on my way to other Quezon City destinations! I also  discovered that the best time to go there if you are not into jogging/running/doing zumba, and would just like to walk around and relax a bit, do something different aside from walking inside the malls, is around 9AM to lunchtime on weekdays. The place is pretty quiet and lovely, especially in summer. Inside the park, you forget about the thousands of vehicles that pass around it, non-stop, everyday!

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For Be Careful With My Heart fans like me, sunflowers are the flowers Sir Chief gave Maya on their first date. Not a common ‘date’ flower, isn’t it? Who would have thought!

Seeing that ‘kilig’ episode made me remember how I loved this flower when I was a kid.

Recently, I finally managed to do what I have been wanting to do for a while, take a photo of sunflowers for my other blog, and the same time, buy sunflower plants.

I got two from Dangwa and it cost Php 150.00 each. I found myself in the area one morning and remembered that I wanted to buy sunflowers.


Then, another two at one of the stalls selling flowers and other ornamental plants inside the Quezon Memorial Circle. It cost me Php 75.00 each for the second two plants.

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