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  • Weekend Pasyalan: Rediscover the Joy of Quezon Memorial Circle!

    Head to the north this weekend and discover fun family activities at Quezon Memorial Circle.
    by Rachelle Medina .
Weekend Pasyalan: Rediscover the Joy of Quezon Memorial Circle!
PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • You don’t have to board an airplane or get stuck in traffic to make the most of summer vacation. In fact, you don't even have to leave the city! If you're on a budget, a quick weekend getaway could be as easy as taking a bus or a cab to the Quezon Memorial Circle.

    There are different activities the whole family can enjoy! Did you know that there are four museums at QC circle? The best part is most of the activities are free.

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    What can the family enjoy and experience at Quezon Memorial Circle?

    From the dark and unkempt park that it was in the 1990s, Quezon Memorial Circle has since been upgraded into a fine public park for Quezon City residents and everyone else. Spanning a sprawling 67 acres in the middle of the Elliptical Road, the Circle not only has a park but gardens, four museums, several restaurants, bike trails, jogging trails, playgrounds, an amusement park, a pond, and commercial selling areas — there is an activity for practically every member of the family.

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    There's recent news that Quezon City representative Winnie Castelo plans to build a stadium/sports arena in the middle of the Circle, but this has been deemed inappropriate for the area by members of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development. We hope it doesn’t happen because it could disrupt the lush tranquillity of the area.

    Pay your respects to Manuel L. Quezon

    Manuel L Quezon’s remains lie underneath the towering 66-meter-tall monument, which is the center of the entire Quezon Memorial Circle and from which the Elliptical Road and its adjoining streets radiate. But you may be surprised to know there is an actual museum with an extensive memorabilia collection right next to his marble crypt. Admission is free.

    The Quezon Memorial Shrine Museum shouldn’t be missed, and it should be your first stop. It tells the complete history of the life of the Commonwealth president from his birth to death.
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina
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    The shrine is also filled with memorabilia mostly from the Commonwealth era and reconstructions of Quezon’s office and Dona Aurora’s bedroom.
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina
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    Visit the former President's house

    Not many Circle visitors realize that the big yellow house next to the Max’s and Tropical Hut restaurants near the main entrance is the home of Manuel Quezon.

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    Do drop by the Quezon Heritage House, which is reconstructed from the original 1927 house of the late President Quezon that was formerly located at Gilmore Street in New Manila!
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina

    The rooms are lovingly restored to the way it looked like in the 1930s-1950s, and the dining room is notable, as this is the same room Dona Aurora Quezon held the first meetings for the Philippine Red Cross.

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    Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed for lunch 12 to 1 p.m.)

    Old clothes and other belongings are kept safe inside glass cases found inside the rooms.
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina

    Relive the history of Quezon City in an interactive way

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    The Quezon City Experience (QCX) Museum is an interactive, social history museum. In this writer’s opinion, it is one of the most underrated children’s museums out there. QCX opens with a background on how Quezon City was developed with the intention of being the future capital of the country, then delves into the various features, heritage sites, buildings, and transportation modes that are unique to this city.

    Open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call beforehand at +632 692-3332 because sometimes the museum is closed for special tours and field trips 

    Inside QCX are galleries that showcase the mock-ups of the Project 4, 5, and 6 houses and a room where the scale models of Santo Domingo Church and Iglesia ni Cristo are displayed.
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina
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    There's also a hallway with a mural of all the barangays in the city. If you live in QC, try to find yours!
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina

    Let the kids play while you enjoy a picnic

    Arguably, the most popular spot in the Quezon Memorial of Circle is the Circle of Joy, a free, open-air playground with around 13 colorful play structures of slides, tunnels, monkey bars, and seesaws under the welcoming shade of full-grown trees.

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    The ground is covered in padded artificial turf (for the safety of the kids). But this means you can just lay a mat and plop down for a picnic, or just relax while watching your children play.
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina

    Bike ‘round and ‘round

    It isn’t the QC circle if you don’t bike around in circles. Bicycles of different sizes and styles (with sidecar, two-wheeler, three, etc.) can be rented from the QMC Bicycle Station (rates start at Php100) to bike within the Bicycle Trail, an enclosed area next to the Circle of Joy. 

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    If your child is below four, best to accompany him or her while biking (things can get unruly and fast in some lanes) or perch them in a sidecar while you pedal.
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina
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    Hop on a ride at Circle of Fun

    This is a modestly sized amusement park located across the Bicycle Trail, and is great for small and big children (there are rides for toddlers here, too). The kiddos can enjoy the traditional carousel, bump car, and roller coaster along with other cool rides like the Teacup, Flying Shuttle, and Flying Sharks. It opens in the afternoon, so check the schedules below.

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    Admission fee is Php30 each. Open Monday to Friday 3:30 p.m. onwards, Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. onwards

    Try the zip line

    Would you believe that there is a zipline in the middle of Quezon City? There is one in the Circle, and it stretches about 200 meters. (There is an age restriction for kids.) Once you are up there you can get a breathtaking view of the monument and the rest of the Circle.

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    Rates start at Php100 (one-way). Open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    Dine at the nearby restaurants or check out the meals at Banchetto

    The entrance of the Circle fronting the Quezon City Hall is where you’ll find popular restaurants, but head straight to Coconut House, which is located along the circular path around the open park. The offerings are all made out of coconut and are healthy and delicious, such as the Veggie Coco Omelette (great whether or not you’re vegetarian), and the Pancit Buko which substitutes noodles for buko strips.

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    If you are on a budget, there is an open-air Banchetto right next to the playground, selling everything from hamburgers to malunggay snacks. Beat the heat by buying an ice cream cone from one of the dozens of mamang sorbetero (ice cream vendors) with their colorful carts parked underneath one of the trees!

    Do some shopping

    If you could brave the heat (or wait it out til early evening or late afternoon) you can actually shop for everything at the QC Circle — clothes, shoes, toys, and yes, plants. You can find tiangge tents lined up near the PHILCOA entrance and the prices are very affordable and come Christmas season, the place is full of discount shoppers.

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    If you’re a real "plantita," the Circle is the best place to shop for all types of ornamental or herbal plants and gardening supplies in the area. Aside from the stalls facing PHILCOA and the Department of Agrarian Reform Area, head to the many greenhouses in the middle of the circle selling everything from Phalaenopsis orchids to fortune plants.

    Take a stroll in the gardens

    Make it fun for the kids by identifying the different plants you can spot in the area!
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina
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    There are not only one but four show gardens in the Quezon Memorial Circle, spanning a couple of hectares. There is the Tropical Garden, the beautiful Bulaklak Garden, the Runnex Elevated Garden, and the Rock Garden. The Philippine Horticultural Society hold office in the Circle, and they organize an annual Plants and Arts Festival here. For more information, follow them on Facebook.

    The Quezon Memorial Circle is located at the Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City.

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