Quezon City Memorial Circle (PH)

Dreamy, rousing and outright Instagram-worthy – these are often how I describe a captured sunset experience. Most of us rave about the setting sun’s beauty along the beach. I, personally, consider it as one of the most spectacular moments. But since I work in the metro, a sunset view by the beach is a rare sighting. After working for more than a year now in the Greater Manila Area, I have come to scout places where I can draw out inspiration.

One particular place I find really inspiring is the Quezon City Memorial Circle (QCMC). The “Circle” as locals would call it, has to be one of the prominent landmarks in Quezon City. Through the years, with the endless efforts of the local government, it has been undergoing a lot of changes so as to attract more tourists.

The Quezon Memorial Circle is a national park and a national shrine located in the Philippines City of Stars, Quezon City. The park is located inside a large traffic circle that is elliptical in shape. Its main feature is a tall mausoleum containing the remains of the second official President of the Republic of the Philipppines, Manuel L. Quezon together with his better half, Lady Aurora Quezon.

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I have been to QCMC on 3 different occasions. The most recent one happened when I was fortunately invited to a blogventure as part of the city’s 75th Anniversary celebration.

QCMC is pretty big in terms of area. My favorite spot though is the Circle’s centerpiece — The Quezon Memorial Shrine. This is an art deco-themed monument built during the 1950s. This 66-meter shrine houses an observation deck that can be accessed via spiral staircase. The monument also consists of three vertical pylons (representing the three main geographic divisions of the country: Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao) with three grieving angels holding sampaguita (the Philippines national flower) wreaths.

In front of the monument is a dancing fountain that is lit up during sundown and further makes the area jovial and colorful at night. Many people start to flock this area as the day ends and as darkness starts to creep in. I love the sight of people (family, friends, visitors/tourists) enjoying the beauty of “The Circle”. As for me, the sunset view at this park is such a visual spectacle that makes me feel relaxed and inspired.

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***My visit to Quezon City Memorial Circle is not originally part of the 3 destinations we were assigned to visit during Quezon City’s 75th anniversary celebration. Since the Ninoy Aquino Wildlife Park was already closed when we arrived, I opted to come back the following day and go to QCMC.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

La Mesa Eco-Park (Quezon City, PH)

As a nature-lover, I have a soft spot for parks and eco-tourism hubs. So when I have learned that our group’s destination during the blogventure event (an activity that is part of the 75th Founding Anniversary of Quezon City) included an eco-park, I became even more ecstatic. Moreover, I have always wanted to go and see the La Mesa Eco-Park.

The La Mesa Eco-park is a 33 hectare park that is part of the La Mesa Watershed (an important water source for the Greater Manila Area). It was in the year 2004 that the park was opened to the public as a means of generating income for the watershed’s maintenance. Moreover, the park aims at providing opportunities for enjoying a healthy outdoor recreation and also an avenue for environmental education.

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According to our energetic guide, the park is one of the oldest and largest parks in Metro Manila. During our brief stint, I have noticed that the eco-park seem to be a known outdoor destination for school and company field trips, and also family and friends gatherings.

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Through the years, the park’s rehabilitation and reforestation is a joint effort from both the public and private sectors. I am personally amazed that there are a lot of facilities on park’s grounds that can be used for various activities. From a public saltwater pool, a large picnic area, camping sites, a boating and fishing lagoon, an awesome biking trail, a beautiful flower terrace, a butterfly sanctuary and an eco-museum – this eco-park is such a great breather from the hustle and bustle of city life. Guided tours are available at a minimal cost and there are even pavilions for leasing.

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The La Mesa Ecopark is located within the La Mesa Watershed in East Fairview, Quezon City. It is owned by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Ssytem and is jointly operated with the Quezon City government, Bantay-Kalikasan and other private companies.

***My visit to La Mesa Eco-Park is one of the 3 destinations (and write-up I made) I was fortunate to visit during Quezon City’s 75th anniversary celebration.

For Inquiries and reservations, contact
(02) 430-4051
(02) 430-5207 (telefax)
Lamesaecopark@abs-cbn.com

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

EREHWON: An Art Center (Quezon City, PH)

As a child, I was described by my mom as someone who is artistic. I like singing, I like dancing, I like the art per se. My creative side was not only limited to doing these forms of art but is extended to my admiration for museums and the like. And I thank my mom for this “love of the arts” and for exposing me to art at a young age.

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As I grew older, I found myself being more fascinated with various forms of art. I found myself visiting more museums and art centers more often. So when an invitation to visit Quezon City’s premier spots which includes art centers, parks and business centers, I immediately signed myself up. This activity is part of the 75th Founding Anniversary of the city where bloggers are given the opportunity to get to know Quezon City attraction drawers. The bloggers who were part of this “blogventure” were grouped and assigned with various destinations.

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One of the 3 destinations our group (Van #7) visited is Erehwon, an art center. Honestly, it was my first time to hear of this art center. I know the other museums in QC but Erehwon really is foreign sounding to me. As we entered the gate of the center, we were greeted by a group of their staff together with the owner, Mr. Rafael Benitez and this awesome and humongous piece of art at their lobby. (see the photo below)

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EREHWON, as a center, is dedicated to being a living hub in the Philippines. As such, it intends to bring together the Filipino artistry and talents. The building will serve as an avenue for these artists who are keen in developing art to a higher level.

Erehwon (when read backwards, it is actually Nowhere), is a four-storey building. Looking from the outside, it seems to be simple and really discreet. But, once you step into the building, you will will be impressed as it houses an array of art galleries, painting and sculpture rooms, a simple art residency dormitory, a dance studio, a mini-orchestra room, a café, a print production area and a spacious roof deck.

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After a quick tour on all 4 floors, the owner gave us further insights about Erehwon. Sir Raffy said that the building used to be a bakery, but they had to close it down for some reasons. In 2012, they turned it into an art center. He was quick to point out that they prefer to call it as an arts center and not a commercial gallery nor a museum. The exhibits come from various artists and people are not forced to buy the artists’ work. Moreover, the center is not limited to visual art (just like most galleries and museums are).

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As we have seen during the tour, the center is the home of the Philippine Daloy Dance Company (that is why they have a dance studio). Also, the very enthusiastic owner said that there is also a room for the Metro Manila Music Orchestra. Prominent artists like David Pomeranz even used that room for his practices when he had his concert in Manila.

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They also have a café conceptualized by artist Ben Cervantez. According to Sir Raffy, the café was put up for 3 reasons: for one, it serves as an area for artists to converge, second is for them to collaborate their projects, and of course, to be a center for living art.

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We really had a great time listening to Sir Raffy’s stories. He even mentioned that plans of expanding is already on its way. They will soon develop an Erehwon Art Center in Baguio City, and hopefully 2 more centers in Davao and Cebu.

The Center and the people behind it really hopes to inspire and strengthen art-making in the country and be a helping hand to artists and other aspirants. Kudos to the entire team of Erehwon! Thank you for this very informative and moving experience.

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The very energetic and accommodating owner of Erehwon, Sir Raffy.

FYI: “Tagaligtas 44,” an acrylic on oil painting honoring the 44 elite police commandos killed in the Jan. 25 Mamasapano clash, was actually an output of the artists of the Erehwon Center for the Arts in honor of the SAF 44.

The EREHWON Center for the Arts

#1 Don Francisco Street, Villa Beatriz Subdivision, Barangay Old Balara, Quezon City

Contact Information: (+63) 927 5753 531 or (02) 218 2618; events@erehwonartworld.com.

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For your reference on how to go to Erehwon. Credits to rappler.

***My visit to Erehwon Center is one of the 3 destinations (and write-up I made) I was fortunate to visit during Quezon City’s 75th anniversary celebration.

with my fellow QCblogventurers and staff of Erehwon.
with my fellow QCblogventurers and staff of Erehwon.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust’. Take it easy ebri’juan’…