Let’s face it, living in the concrete jungle of Metro Manila can sometimes leave you with a hankering for nature. It’s no surprise, then, that a lot of us hit the beach or the mountains every chance get. However, with this list of parks and gardens, city dwellers can now explore the most serene green spaces tucked away in their very own neighborhoods.
First built in 1858 as a botanical garden, this newly renovated park is both a modern park with sleek fixtures and beautiful landscaping, as well as a rich time capsule of Philippine history. Located near Taft Avenue, it is easily accessible. It’s a great place to stroll through, but with its shaded nooks, you can also comfortably spend the day people-watching and enjoying the outdoors.
Legaspi Active Park
Although Legaspi Park is known for its Sunday Market, this little patch of green also makes for a great pitstop during the week. Equipped with a running track, tree-covered benches, and a lush lawn, this place can be your after-work gym or a peaceful lunchtime getaway on a cool day.
Just across the street from Legaspi Active Park is the more densely-wooded Washington Sycip Park. With gorgeous sculptures peppered throughout the area, a calming stream, and a zen garden, this park is perfect for a romantic stroll or an effortless photoshoot in dappled light.
Kasalikasan Garden & BGC Greenway Linear Park
These adjacent parks are tucked behind the residential buildings on the fringes of BGC, so if you want to avoid crowds or vehicles, this landscaped expanse is the place to go. Stretching for almost tw kilometers, the BGC Greenway is the longest linear running path in Metro Manila. Connecting to it, the Kasalikasan Garden is a tree-covered amphitheater. It’s a peaceful place to hang out with friends. And if you’re a dog-lover, you’re sure to meet some adorable furry friends at either of these parks.
UP Sunken Garden
Open to the public, this large swathe of grass is big enough for sports lovers to play a pickup game of soccer or ultimate frisbee. However, the trees, sheds, and benches also provide visitors with enough personal space to lounge in. Because it is located in an area of Quezon City that isn’t too densely populated, another special treat that this area gives its visitors is the relative abundance of wildlife—especially birds!
La Mesa Eco Park
La Mesa Eco Park is so lush and sprawling that you’ll find it hard to believe you’re still in Metro Manila! Easily accessible by car or public transport, this place is great for picnics, bike rides, swimming, fishing, and even horseback riding. It’s not just for athletes, though. For people who enjoy the simple pleasure of being surrounded by diverse, beautiful flora, this park’s variety of trees and plants is unparalleled.
Baluarte de San Diego
Located in Intramuros, the San Diego Garden or Baluarte de San Diego was designed and built in the 16th century. Amazingly, its charm has lasted for more than 400 years. Its mossy brick walls and grassy courtyard have hosted many weddings, but this al fresco garden is open to the public as well.
Surround yourself with other active people when you visit this BGC track. Although there are people jogging and groups doing yoga, this outdoor park doesn’t feel crowded. It is best to visit in the evening when temperatures are cooler. Its well-lit paths and welcoming community of athletes make for a safe exercise experience.
Ayala Triangle Gardens
Whether you visit in the evening or during the day, Ayala Triangle Gardens remains an oasis in the heart of the city. It’s got art, trees, grassy areas—and free wifi! Not to mention, it’s a stone’s throw away from some great restaurants. Whether you’re planning a special date night or you’re looking for a spacious place to take your pets, Ayala Triangle Gardens has what you’re looking for.
Padre Blanco Garden
Also known as Father Blanco’s Garden, this place bursting with old world charm. Its ornate fountains, cobbled walkways, and blooms of pink bougainvillea set against the centuries-old edifices give visitors a palpable sense of history.
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