Photo by La Mesa Ecopark Facebook Page.

Covering an area of 33 hectares, the La Mesa Ecopark in Quezon City is perhaps the single largest parcel of land in Metro Manila that offers quality, nature-based recreational activities that are affordable, accessible, and ideal for some wholesome family fun.

Over the years, the park’s tropical forest environment has become a center for biodiversity, conservation, and environmental education. The Ecopark, part of the 2,700-hectare La Mesa Watershed (the primary source of drinking water for Metro Manila residents), draws a huge crowd every year, with an estimated 280,000 annual visitors.

Attractions offered at the park aim to promote environmental awareness and conservation. Some of the activities that can be done within the park include mountain-biking, horseback riding, rapelling, ziplining, and fishing. Paddle boat ride in the lagoon is also an option.

People can also choose to go on a challenging hike on the “ecotrail.” There are also exercise stations that dot the fitness trail for those who really want to work up a sweat.

Photo by Lem Snicket Estiva.

For those who want a more relaxing day, however, a leisurely walk while enjoying the lush greenery and beautiful flowers always does the trick.

Or perhaps birdwatching is your thing. In that case, you can keep your eyes open for pied flycatchers, kingfishers, black naped orioles, white breasted woodswallow, bee eaters, Philippine coucal and more.

There’s a dedicated five-hectare picnic ground, too, with grilling facilities. If you happen to have the whole day during your visit, the boating lagoon and fishing lagoon are also worth checking out.

Plant lovers should have a field day at the orchidarium at the eastern portion of the park with over 2,000 orchids and plants to see.

Photo by La Mesa Ecopark Facebook Page.

An entrance fee of P50 is required to enter the La Mesa Park, which is really a very small amount, considering what you get. Once inside, visitors can pay extra to check out the butterfly garden (P60) and the two swimming pool complexes (P80).

Tip: Make sure to wear comfortable clothes on your visit, especially footwear that are suited for long walks. Wear a hat, put sunscreen, or bring an umbrella, as it could get hot towards noontime. Bring water in reusable tumblers so you can regularly hydrate.