Did you know that Quezon City was the capital of the Philippines from 1948 to 1976? It’s no surprise, therefore, that the largest city in the National Capital Region is now also a booming metropolis for business, entertainment, and even culture. It doesn’t have as many historic and cultural landmarks like Manila, but Quezon City or simply QC is still nothing to sneeze at when it comes to tourism. If you’re new to QC and want to explore its sights, sounds, and tastes, here are some must-visit destinations.
1 Cubao Expo
For those who like a hip, laid-back vibe with a vintage touch, Cubao Expo is the place to be. Also known as Cubao X, this commercial complex is home to restaurants and bars, thrift shops, galleries, indie brands, and even antiques.
2 Maginhawa Street
This not-so-secret foodie destination is home to food trucks, restaurants, and holes in the wall that serve local and international fare. Whether you’re looking for pizza and pasta, ramen, spring rolls, home-cooked Pinoy food, milk tea, or scrumptious desserts, Maginhawa is where you go. The best thing is that you don’t have to spend too much to sample a variety of dishes. Truly, Maginhawa is a foodie heaven.
3 Tomas Morato and Timog Avenues
QC is home to two of the biggest broadcast networks in the country, so you won’t be surprised to see a few of your celebrity idols in these two areas. More than artista sightings, however, Tomas Morato and Timog Avenues have an array of restaurants and other entertainment hubs where you can wine, dine, and party.
Travel Tip: It’s a good idea to book a room somewhere affordable but comfortable like Go Hotel Timog. Explore one street, get a good night’s sleep, then explore the other street the next day.
4 Art in Island
If you like selfies and art, then you’re in luck because Art in Island is in Quezon City. This 3D “trick eye” museum has hundreds of huge floor-to-ceiling paintings that make it look like you’re part of the artwork. With the right camera angle, you can make it look like you’re inside a giant bottle floating in the sea, crossing a dangerous ravine using a rope bridge, or flying on a magic carpet a la Aladdin.
5 La Mesa Eco Park
Quezon City is not all about high-rise buildings and sprawling business areas. It also has several parks filled with lush greenery, the most popular of which is perhaps La Mesa Eco Park. For a minimal fee, you can explore the 33-hectare park and explore its various attractions like the Shell Flower Terraces, Orchidarium, and the Butterfly Trail and Hatchery. There’s even an archery station if you want something more unique.
Travel Tip: While you’re at it, you should also visit La Mesa Dam and Reservoir. This 700-hectare manmade lake is the main water source of Quezon City, and is surrounded by forests and trails full of native butterflies, birds, lizards, and a variety of plants and trees.
6 Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center
Another low-budget ecotourism destination in QC is Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, with its zoological and botanical gardens across 22.7 hectares. Apart from local and foreign plant species, this public park also serves as a recovery area for abandoned, confiscated, and sick animals. Of course, you’ll also see local animals here, like the Philippine deer and Palawan bearded pigs. There are also several picnic areas in the park, as well as a tea house and a fishing village.
7 University of the Philippines
The UP campus has wide stretches of green grass where you can laze around, read a book, have a picnic or play sports, while thousands of towering trees provide shade. In addition, UP is often the scene for art shows, concerts, film festivals, and even academic lectures. More often than not, you can attend these events even if you’re not a UP student or alumnus.
Travel Tip: Near UP Diliman is the Balara Filters Park. It’s one of the oldest recreational parks in QC and is one of the main treatment facilities for La Mesa Dam. The park features three swimming pools, a playground, even an old-style windmill and a replica of the famed Carriedo Fountain. Pay a visit if you like to take the road less traveled.
8 Quezon Memorial Circle
A trip to QC is not complete without a trip to the Quezon Memorial Circle. It’s most distinguishable feature is a 66-meter-tall mausoleum, where the remains of former president Manuel L. Quezon and his wife, Aurora, lie. Circle, as many locals refer to the park, features various recreational spaces, including a small amusement park, food stalls, gardens, and biking paths. There are also a couple of museums that contain President Quezon’s memorabilia and items that bear historical significance to Quezon City.
These are only a few of the several places of interest in Quezon City, and there’s so much more to explore. Hopefully, you can visit them all and appreciate the wonders of this large and yet welcoming city.