The search continues for the missing mountaineer Victor Joel Ayson, 27. He was last seen on March 31, 2013 during a solo climb in Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas after a one-week climb at Mt. Guiting-Guiting in Romblon. Please spread and help. Godbless.
Tagaytay City, especially Picnic Grove, has been one of my quick escape from the polluted city of urban society. So to have a quick weekend getaway, our family, I mean our clan, went to Picnic Grove.
The place is still the same. There you find the famine-stricken horses, kite-flying field, zip-line cottages, and the souvenir shops on the sidewalks. But if there is one thing new in the park, that is the Adventure Jungle where you can have a chance to take a picture of yourself carrying a 5-foot baby crocodile or a 10-foot python fresh from Manila Zoo.
Since I already got a picture of me with an albino python when we visited Manila Ocean Park, I chose to carry the croc with my brothers. The experience is exhilarating. As an animal lover, I have been longing to interact with these beasts even just to see them personally. But touching and even carrying them is just plain awesome! NOT PICTURED: My mother was seriously nervous while this photo shoot took place.
But while enjoying this moment, I felt pity for these animals. It just saddens me seeing how these animals are captured and domesticated for man’s entertainment. I cannot imagine how the croc feels while its snout was tightly taped all day everyday just to prevent it from harming people.
My sympathy for Crocky even grows more as I look at his seemingly teary eye at the picture. And now I feel sorry for taking part of exploiting his innocent life.
NOTE: Crocky is not his real name.
Last December 26, my girlfriend and I went to La Mesa Ecopark to post-celebrate our Christmas day. By 8AM, we’re already there to avoid any traffic.
For a nature enthusiast like me, the concept of having an ecopark at the heart of a city thrills and pampers my caveman style of living. Arriving at the place, we were greeted by this mini-tunnel covered by crawling plants and vines and I admit that I was impressed by this grand entrance!
SHORT INTRODUCTION: La Mesa Watershed, located in Quezon City and owned by Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewage System (MWSS), is the primary source of drinking water of Metro Manila residents. Due to lack of funds, poaching, illegal settling, and logging, the watershed was ruined. It was later undertaken by ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.’s Bantay Kalikasan project in partnership with MWSS through the Save La Mesa Watershed Project in 1999. It was later renamed La Mesa Ecopark after it was reopened to the public in September 2004. Today, it now serves as one of the last surviving lungs of Manila.
The park offer some features. At the entrance, you can either go to the butterfly sanctuary or take a walk on their eco-road that will lead you to the other parts of the park. Here we are doing “new” style of photoshoot: jumpshot!
At the center of the park, you will see a man-made lake where you can either ride a boat, catch some fishes, or just stroll around. By the time we came, the lake was half-full of water hyacinths though (not shown in picture).
At the very place, walk through a 3-level stairway and you will have a view of the dam itself at the top but you cannot go inside it since its barricaded by wires.
There are still other places to visit. You can either walk on their mountain bike trail, visit the orchidarium, buy a plant (dead ones ), horseback riding, swim, ziplining, wall climbing, paintball games, buy (DO NOT) some souvenir items, finding your luck on seeing a koi fish on the murky and brownish water, or just sit and feel the relaxing scene.
Before going out, we visited their butterfly sanctuary. A guide explained to us the life stages of a butterfly from egg to adulthood. I did not actually listen since my mind and eyes were occupied by these beautiful creatures.
Afterwards, we went to its sanctuary and had a first hand touch on them. I was not totally left in awe since my expectation of a butterfly sanctuary would be full of them of different species. But it turned out they only breed 2 varieties. But it was fun and relaxing. By the way, I learned that not all butterfly wings won’t really cause blindness like what stories say. But i don’t really believe it even when I’m still a kid.
All in all, the visit was good and new to my ever hungry eyes. I just hope the staff and people who visit there as well would be more responsible on taking care of their garbages. A blessed Christmas and a prosperous New Year!
HOW TO GO THERE?
From Sta. Rosa, Laguna, take a Cubao-bound bus and drop off at Cubao station or Magallanes station to avoid traffic. From there, take the MRT and drop off at Quezon Avenue. Find FX or jeepneys going to Sm Fairview and ask the driver to drop you off at Winston St. And then take a tricycle to the park itself.
P55 – Sta. Rosa, Laguna > Magallanes station
P14 – Magallanes > Quezon Avenue
P35 – Quezon Ave > Winston St. (FX)
P15 - Winston St. > La Mesa Ecopark
P50 – Entrance fee (persons above 3 feet, non-QC residents)
P80 – Butterfly trail