In areas like Metro Manila hard-hit by the impacts of the pandemic, open spaces with free-flowing air have become an important commodity to city dwellers. According to public health experts, open spaces are havens for the battle against the stubborn virus and restriction-induced fatigue. More than that, open spaces help the residents adjust to a healthy lifestyle, give character to cities, and stimulate the appreciation of surroundings.
In this article, we curated a list of forest reserves, public parks, plazas, gardens, and malls with open spaces found in Metro Manila that will help you to achieve holistic wellness in the new normal.
La Mesa Eco Park
One of the Metro’s very last forests that provide clean air to the city is La Mesa Ecopark. The park is open from 6 am to 12 noon, and currently has a limited walk-in population of 100 per day. Lucky QC residents, you don’t have to go far just to breathe fresh air and see beautiful varieties of flora and fauna.
Address: La Mesa Dam Compound, Greater Fairview, Quezon City
Another accessible open space in QC is found at UP Diliman. You can get that fitness goal if you jog, run, or bike along University Avenue. If you want something merrier than going alone, you can invite your friends or colleagues since group gatherings of ten members or less are allowed on campus. With open spaces like Sunken Garden scattered all over, Metro Manilenyos are lucky to have a UP campus in the capital region.
Address: Roxas Ave, Diliman, Quezon City
Quezon City Memorial Circle
Want something with a historical twist? Then visit the Quezon City Memorial Circle. You can cruise around the 27-hectare national park and get your nostalgic feels with the Quezon Memorial Monument and the mausoleum of the former president Manuel L. Quezon.
Address: Elliptical Rd, Diliman, Quezon City
Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center
Near QC Memorial Circle is Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife. The center features zoological and botanical gardens that host several indigenous plants and animals. It is open on weekdays, from 8 am to 5 pm. You can fully enjoy your visit by checking out the Tea House, Fishing Village, Amphitheater, and Picnic Shed.
Address: Elliptical Rd, Diliman, Quezon City
Eastwood City is the country’s first cyberpark and one of the pioneers of al fresco dining in the Philippines. The Eastwood Mall, located in the heart of the township, has an open space with a man-made lagoon and a fountain. In addition, the mall’s open space has become a venue for large community events such as the annual New Year’s Eve countdown.
Address: E. Rodriguez Avenue (C-5), Bagumbayan, Quezon City
Marikina River Park
Marikina’s pride features trails, open spaces, and recreation facilities along the 11-kilometer stretch of the Marikina River. Some of the recreational facilities are riverboats, picnic grounds, and the biggest roller skating rink in the Philippines. Marikina River Park has been recognized (Hall of Fame) by DILG-NCR for being the Cleanest Inland Body of Water in the entire region.
Address: 300 Shoe Ave, Santo Niño, Marikina
Pasig Rainforest Park
If you live in the eastern part of the metro, you can check this open space known as Pasig City Rainforest Adventure Experience and Pasig Central Park. With its 8-hectare mixed recreational and natural park that includes a mini-zoo, you can enjoy various recreational activities as well as enjoy forest feels in the middle of the city.
Address: Francisco Legaspi, Pasig
Estancia at Capitol Commons
Estancia is the upscale retail anchor of the Capitol Commons development. The mall itself already offers a luxurious and spacious shopping experience to mall-goers, but right outside Estancia is a spacious park where people can rest and hang out, and even take photos with their families. The park is popular for dog-walkers and frequently sees pop-up booths for all kinds of food and retail offerings.
Address: 1605 Meralco Ave, Ortigas Center, Pasig
Bordered by the main thoroughfares of EDSA and Shaw Boulevard, and stretching towards Reliance Street and Sheridan Street, the 15-hectare Greenfield District sits at the heart of the new Mandaluyong CBD. Greenfield District Central Park offers a wide, green open space where everyone is welcome, including our four-legged friends! With underground power lines, wide sidewalks, and other modern design elements, it’s one of the best places to walk in this part of the metro.
Address: Mayflower St, Mandaluyong
Manila isn’t Manila without Intramuros or the Walled City. For those who love history, culture, and art, and the idea of looking back at the past, Intramuros is a highly renowned destination. But aside from its historical and cultural significance, Intramuros offers lots of instragrammable open spaces such as the walls of Fort Santiago.
Address: Intramuros, Manila
The country’s iconic Rizal Park is one of the most visited parks when it comes to open spaces. With its 58-hectare sprawling grounds, it is considered the largest urban park in Asia. Its famous spots are the 42-foot Rizal Monument, Relief Map of the Philippines, Chinese and Japanese Gardens, LapuLapu Monument, and the biggest attraction during the night – the dancing water fountains. Countless Filipino families have enjoyed this park over the decades!
Address: Roxas Boulevard, Ermita, Manila
Since its inauguration in 1822, Paco Park has become one of the most important open spaces in Metro Manila. It has been the most preferred venue for TV and film shootings, pictorial sessions, and leisure activities. Moreover, it also hosts various events such as weddings, prenuptial shoots, and other private gatherings.
Address: Belen, Paco, Manila
Arroceros Forest Park
Dubbed as “Manila’s last lung”, this oasis shelters lush greenery alongside the Pasig River. It has 3,500 diverse tree species, fruit-bearing trees, ornamental plants, and rare fauna species. It also features a fishpond and a bridge that provides a peaceful forest ambiance. It’s currently under renovation, and to have an easier walk around the park, the City Government of Manila is paving pathways and trails. Do visit once it re-opens!
Address: 659 A Antonio Villegas St, Ermita, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila
The Manila Zoo just got a world-class makeover. The newly redeveloped five-hectare facility now has wider pathways, dancing light fountains, and more. In addition, other major renovations are transparent glass enclosures, elevated viewing decks, a viewing loft at the Butterfly Garden, and provisions for a night safari. Also, don’t forget to visit the modernized Animal museum and Botanical garden.
Address: M. Adriatico St, Malate, Manila
Mall of Asia Grounds
One of the most popular attractions of SM MOA is its grounds. As it is an open space, concerts and recreational activities can be held here. It is also a perfect place to go jogging and catch some seaside breeze. In a crowded megacity like Metro Manila, everybody loves the spaciousness of MOA!
Address: Seaside Macapagal, Mall Of Asia Complex, Pasay
Ayala Triangle Gardens
Ayala Triangle Gardens is a contemporary oasis located at the country’s business center, Makati. Its landscape is home to a diverse mix of lush greenery and public art pieces from the country’s leading artists. Its calming ambiance best fits people who need meditation even in the middle of a bustling, luxurious city.
Address: Paseo de Roxas corner Makati Ave. corner Ayala Ave., Makati
Another of Makati’s open spaces, Jaime C. Velasquez Park or Salcedo Park provides a quick escape from the city without traveling too far. Feel free to wander the mood-boosting, tree-shaded park. Kids are welcome to have a fun time in the playground. It also has a dog park for fur mommies and daddies.
Address: Leviste Street, Makati
Washington Sycip Park
The Washington Sycip Park serves as another green oasis near the Greenbelt mall in Legaspi Village. The park features many tropical trees and plants, cozy resting areas like gazebos, and benches where you can take a few moments of peace from the hustle-bustle of the city. There is also a koi pond where exotic and endemic birds flock.
Address: Legazpi Street, Legaspi Village, Makati
Uptown Mall Bonifacio
An ideal destination for those looking to unwind in a classy outdoor dining spot with friends and family. Uptown Mall Bonifacio has an open-air area called The Deck, where mall-goers can enjoy a safe al fresco dining experience. This area, located at the mall’s fourth level, hosts a diverse selection of restaurants with well-distanced placement of tables and chairs. Spacious and classy – a Metro Manilenyo favorite!
Address: 36th Street, 9th Ave, Taguig
SM Aura Skypark
This small garden park located on the roof deck of SM Aura has restaurants, bars, and a church. It also has Paw Park, a dog agility obstacle course where pet owners and their canine buddies can enjoy themselves. It’s a good location to visit during the night if you want to see the beauty of the BGC lights.
Address: 26th Street, Corner McKinley Parkway, Taguig
Forbes Town Center
Megaworld’s 5-hectare township adjacent to the exclusive Manila Polo Club, Forbes Park, as well as the Manila Golf and Country Club. Its most popular part is the Burgos Circle, a famous landmark because of the The Trees art installation by Reynato Paz Contreras. The art is installed right smack in the middle of a circular park wherein retail shops, banks, restaurants, and coffee shops line the circle and extend to Forbes Town Road.
Address: Forbestown Rd, Taguig
Venice Grand Canal Mall
Finally, another one of the malls with plentiful open space is Venice Grand Canal Mall in Taguig. This Venetian-inspired mall is perfect for those who are looking for open space shopping. The mall’s main attraction is the “Grand Canal”, a man-made lagoon complete with gondolas offering rides.
Address: McKinley Hill Drive, Taguig