Monday, January 7, 2008

Quezon Memorial Circle

As I always say, never ask someone about ‘interesting things to visit’ at where he lives. Everything will be taken for granted he would probably tell you “there is nothing much here”. I am a living example to this realization! And yes (now with pride) I present to you the Quezon memorial Circle or QMC! Gosh! I have grown old enough having passed thousands of times (probably even millions of times hehhe) by this place but have never been inside it, until recently. Thanks to a pesky friend (yes, you should know who you are) for insisting that I go and tell what’s in there. At first I resisted and told this friend there is nothing to see in there but callboys! The prodding of this friend who seldom comes home to this her country finally won when I asked a favor but won’t lift a finger until I fulfilled her wish that I go roam and take pictures of the QMC. An ex-deal, so roam I did – but not without asking two other friends to go with me, lest anything untoward happen. Now am laughing!

False assumptions and generalizations
That is a common trait amongst Pinoys so I don’t cringe about telling the world that I falsely imagined bad images of the QMC based on unfounded generalizations by concocting bits ‘n pieces of bad info that I come across with from time to time. You know, just like many of us saying “Mindanao is a war zone”. Like hello?! Like many of you out of the country now are saying “Philippines is a dangerous place”. Like hello?! Ganun?! So here I go!

I was wrong to have assumed QMC is a haven of prostitutes. I formed that generalization on the many occasions that I would pass by the “elliptical road” at night where in fact there are a lot of boys trading flesh on the outer sidewalks of the big circular road that encloses the QMC. There still are now, I just saw them last night. But they’re not the QMC! Oo nga naman!

I was wrong to have assumed QMC is a haven of criminals. That generalization formed in my mind at remembering that Romulo Kintanar or Ka Romy (the ex-NPA chief) was murdered in a restaurant inside the QMC. But now I realize where do murders occur? They happen along the whole stretch of EDSA with as grave as bombs in a bus. So should I evade EDSA? They happen even at the entrance or inside churches, so should I not go to them anymore? Oo nga naman!

I was wrong to have assumed that QMC was a cheap place frequented by hapless house helpers who conglomerate there during Sundays. I probably coined this idea in my mind because we had a house help who frequented the QMC then. Now I envy her having done that waaay ahead of me!

What’s in there anyway?
Now we’re talking hehe! First let me tell you “what it is” as far as I think it is (sorry again Charito Planas if I may get this wrong). The Quezon Memorial Circle is a total re-creational park for everyone – young or old, families or barkadas, hobbyists, athletes or artists and for both the rich and the poor. It’s almost an all-in-one for everyone who wants to relax or have fun. Then again and of course, the central edifice of this vast, fenced-off circular park is the memorial to MLQ. Yep, that’s your Manuel Luis Quezon for which the city has been named after. Having said those let me try to recall what I saw and experienced while there.

There is an underpass from the Quezon City Hall. Not just an underpass like you would see in Quiapo or Lerma. This one is tastefully done with shiny tiles on the floor and even to the lower half of the wall. It compares to the underpasses you see along Ayala Avenue and other such places. No commercial billboards (yet) to make the place too hot for comfort like those in Ayala. Well again, maybe the architect missed that commercialist attitude while designing this one. He was probably drunk hehe! Then again, the upper half of the walls can be planted to a lot of those lighted billboard adverts later on. I just pray it doesn’t happen ever. This underpass is quite a relief to QMC visitors since the elliptical road is really quite a wide road, with a lot of vehicles rushing through, that it makes for the scariest of pedestrian crossings. Thanks to whoever thought of making this underpass. I do hear this underpass gets flooded during heavy rains! Am not sure how deep or how true that is! All I know is that there are guards at both ends. And the guard at the QMC side of the road even has his transistor radio playing FM music! So as you walk by, there is some kind of entertainment hehe! And whoa! The ceiling lights change colors from green to blue to red to yellow to purple! Mala-pasko ang arrive, yey!

There is an overpass from PCA. Yep, that is the usual “blue and pink” structure that you most often see in the metropolis. Hmm, thanks to BF? Oh well, yes probably, since this is a busy area with a lot of vehicles zooming through. The PCA (Philippine Coconut Authority) Building is where many of the QMC visitors cross from. Thankfully, the government recognized that and erected the overpass. So what does this make of the elegant underpass from the Quezon City Hall? Ah, hayaan nyo na! The more pedestrian ways to go into the QMC, the merrier! Let’s just think that the overpass is BF, while underpass is SB – I could be wrong on that, but that’s my view hehe!

Intermission: I learned something about names during this visit. The PCA is Philippine Coconut Authority while PHILCOA is also Philippine Coconut Authority. So what’s the difference?! The answer is: “people”! That means, people generally refer to the PCA as the building itself of the Philippine Coconut Authority right at the corner of Don Mariano Marcos Avenue and the Elliptical Road. The same folks know PHILCOA as that commercial area/district just almost across PCA. Yep, the BLISS housing and the residential area behind it. Why does that matter? Listen to this: if you tell a cab you’re going to Philcoa, you will be delivered to this commercial area and not the PCA so you could across to the QMC! Hahaha, confusing? Ah, just look at it on google maps, okay?!

Now back to the QMC!

It is a haven for bikers of all kinds. Early mornings and late afternoons, those pro bikers in their pro gears would be circling the whole area via a special inner lane of the elliptical road. The morning we were there, I even thought they were having a race. Oh, yes, for a rest, them pro bikers converge at an open grassy area inside the park under the trees. It does not stop there! Somewhere inside the big park are bikes for rent where children and adults can ride around the big park. All kinds of bicycles are there, including those with sidecars (pedicabs). At another area, I saw motorbikers too. Many of them actually. But I guess they just went there to rest or meet up and gather the pack, since after a few minutes, they took off and out of the circle. Good! Pollution is the last thing this park needs hehe.

Playgrounds abound! Yep, not only one such playground for the kids… they’re in so many places. Mind you, the slides, see-saws and swings are not your common rusty iron and tin sheet things. Those are made of fiber glass like the ones we see at McDo, Jollibee or the malls! Ah kids of all ages will always have something to play with in this big big place. The joggers have their own track but they can go anywhere. Whoa! Even military dudes do their drills and exercises on the same grounds too!

Badminton, Volleyball and Basketball courts too. Hey, how many basketball courts have I counted? Three? I guess so. Martial Arts folks of many kinds also practice their craft at the QMC. There are those who do Arnis. Others are into those karate things with either Chinese, Japanese or Koean names. I like the one with very slow movements that those elder folks do – is that Tai Chi? Oh, the hiphop generation is also represented and we had fun watching them practice their dances with a lot of acrobatics. There is even a group of health buffs onstage with loud music teaching/leading whoever is interested in aerobic dance exercises. Watching them, we could not help but sway with their movements hehe! Hah, even the dog lovers converge with their cute little toy dogs or those scary big mongrels! I was not sure if it actually was a dog school or just dog lovers meeting up.

Wall climbing? Yes there is a facility there. But, yes you have to pay for that hehe. Tired? There are massage areas care of a group of blind folks who earn a living by giving you that needed massage. Hungry? While there are a lot of kiosks that sell food turo-turo style, there are the big restaurants like Max’s etc., There are bazaar style stores too for the shopaholics! RC cars? There is even a dedicated field for this expensive hobby! Yep, those remotely controlled little real-like cars that run and jump around a track. They have their own space in the QMC and they have a lot of following!

Shopping? Well, how about vegetables… and organic at that?! We liked ogling at those plants grown in a kind of greenhouse but not planted on the ground. I think that’s what they call hydroponics or something similar. And the produce really do sell very fast! I saw some ladies trying to make the “gardener” say yes to their request – “that soon as those veggies are ready for harvest, they’d be reserved for them ladies”! The manong won’t commit!

Double yolk? How about eggs to go with those eggplants and other veggies? Still in the same area, there are kiosks that sell interestingly uncommon agricultural produce like mushrooms, sigarillas, giant guavas and many others. But one kind that grabbed my undivided attention were those trays of “eggs with double yolk”! There is such a thing(product) after all! And I thought all along those are just freak accidents that accidentally or unknowingly gets mixed into your tray of eggs. Asking the manang who sells them, she educated us that eggs are screened after harves and that is where they find the double yolks. I asked how. She further explained that each egg is passed through light to check the contents and that is how they catch them double yolkers! Twins!

Electric cars! Now that’s what I want to call “the highlight”! When and where have I seen electric cars anyway? Have you?! Eh, when and where have I not only touched but myself drove electric cars? Ah eh, probably just at the airport tarmacs in those days that I worked for an airline. But at the QMC, there they are in beautifully colored bodies ready for your taking – for just 30 pesos! And you can drive around a specific route inside the park wide grounds! Whohoooo! Yes! Oh, our ride-around was supposed to be last. Operators told us that effective the following day, all rides would be driven only by their crews with paying guests as passengers - per advise of the QMC management. Need we ask why? Hehehe, you guessed it, accidents from dimwits who tried driving the cars into plant boxes, trees and people! But we were lucky, yey!

1 comment :

  1. I wonder if those electric cars are still there nowadays?!