EVEN the locals can get lost in their own city – especially if they haven’t been back for eight long years.
And that’s what happened when E took me to Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City, Manila. Having moved to the States in his early 20s, I’m sure things seem different from the last time he was around. We took a jeepney and got off opposite the circle/park, but couldn’t find a way to cross the road. Ended up circling around half of the park for a good 10mins, before realising that the underpass was where the jeepney dropped us off .______.”
First time riding a jeepney in the front passenger seat!
The underpass to cross the highway is at the entrance to Quezon City Hall. The short, brightly lit walkway was lined with tourist information boards detailing the best places for entertainment and food in QC and beyond.
Quezon Memorial Circle and its surrounding park was named after Manuel L.Quezon, the 2nd President of the Philippines who held a nine-year tenure from 1935-1944. The place was originally intended to be the seat of the Philippine government and plans were underway to build a Capitol building before it was interrupted by World War II. Today, it is a green park with many family-oriented attractions such as a museum, playground, biking trail, and a small theme park.
We entered through an evenue lined with flags from all over the world. It was cool and breezy under the trees. Did I mention Manila weather is hot but pleasant compared to Kuala Lumpur? That’s because temperatures in KL can go up to 34Celcius (94F) with a humidity of 80%. That infernal humidity!
Some beauty queens were practicing their modeling and catwalk skills. That posture though. I could never walk in such heels without tripping and falling flat on my face… which is why I prefer my heavy platform boots (I’m aware they went out of fashion in the 70s, but whatever makes me happy, right?)
An interesting article here on the beauty pageant industry in the Philippines.
The main area of the Circle was huge and filled with people even on a weekday morning. Joggers, children on trikes, people walking dogs (a rare sight in Malaysian public parks due to religious sensitivities), college students practicing their dance or singing performances, MMA fighters doing training… a perfect place to sit and
creep people watch.
Zumba class in session.
Towering over everything else, the main fixture at the Circle is the Quezon Memorial Shrine. It stands at 66ms tall, representing the death age of President Manuel Quezon. The sleek triangular structure, which is shaped like a three-pronged crown is topped by female angels holding the sampaguita (the national flower) wreaths – each dressed in a regional traditional costume to represent regions in the Phils, namely Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
At the base of the structure is a museum dedicated to who else – Manuel L.Quezon. Entry is free but visitors can give a donation for its upkeep. Inside chronicles the history of Philippine independence, besides housing various historical artifacts and an insight into the life of the man himself. (Above) How the quarters of the first lady, Aurora Quezon, looked like.
Quezon’s remains were re-interred here in 1979, and his wife’s at a later date. The huge dark tomb sits on a raised platform in the middle of a circular chamber which allows natural sunlight to filter in, lighting the tomb up like a halo.
During his time, Quezon made many reforms, including establishing a more uniform national language (Tagalog), education, agricultural, government and social sectors, as well as trade. In fact, the Phils enjoyed the best economy and trade it had seen since 1929, in Quezon’s time. This was brought to a halt when the Japanese invaded Manila in the 1940s. Quezon eventually died in exile in New York from tuberculosis at the age of 66.
President E 😛
Outside the museum, the circle’s base had engravings that depicted important points of Filipino history.
We decided to grab ice-cream. But first…. *lol at the ice-cream vendor’s face.. he’s like wtf ru doing*
Cookies and cream – cold, milky and creamy. What more can one ask for on a hot day?
Exploring more of the park. We stopped by at the Circle of Joy, a children’s playground complete with bicycle trail. Visitors can rent bikes, tricycles and tandem bikes for a fee.
Had kebab and kalamares (only 5pesos each, that’s dirt cheap).
A theme park area aptly named Circle of Fun, but it was closed during the day.
Someone randomly left buckets of taho (soft sweet tofu) lying around ._.
Quezon Memorial Circle and its park is a good place for families and tourists as there are lots of things to see and do. It’s not the best kept (there were still patches of garbage around) but it’s clean enough and some spots are quiet and nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Quezon Memorial Circle
R-7, Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Useful link here