Arroceros Forest Park with kids
Thanks to an Earth day celebration held at this park, we discovered this bit of green in the city a few weeks ago. It would make for a good little outing when you just need to let your kids run and be who they are. It’s a place of gathering sticks, throwing leaves in the air, and finding organic corners to hide in. These are things that used to be right outside our apartment building when we lived in Switzerland, but now take a lot more effort to find. This place has the rewards for the effort because the kids had the time of their lives running around.
Arroceros Forest Park is located in Ermita, Manila near the Central Station LRT stop (address is Antonio Villegas Street, 659A). This is about a 25-minute drive from Makati on a good Saturday. There is parking inside the gates of the park. The description of this park on the Earth day ad was: “This little forest park was created in 1994 by a bunch of women (mostly in their 70s). They proved that an empty lot (filled with debris) could be transformed into a dense forest which has attracted over 20 kinds of birds. “ And yes, it’s a little, wild forest in the middle of Manila City, and yes it makes me want to thank those women for creating it for the good of the city and for the happiness of my kids.
Why we loved it:
1) For starters, this tree at the entrance of the park.
2) The park is well-maintained (hardly any litter) and well-loved. It is maintained by the Manila City Government and a private environmental group of mostly senior citizen women called Winner Foundation. Check out this wall of upcycled planters:
This forest is cared for. On Earth day, Winner Foundation arranged for more trees to be planted:
3) The forest shares the compound with the Manila Division of City Schools, in this pretty building. The added plus: clean CRs! (But no toilet paper).
Between the building and the forest, there is some cemented space for events, or maybe for kicking a ball around or playing hopscotch?
4) It is 22,000 square meters of tall trees, layers of fallen leaves left on the ground rather than swept up, and meandering paths through the forest. So natural, and yet so hard to find in the city! Note that there are clearings where a blanket could be laid out for a picnic.
And, there's interesting vegetation to explore.
5) The forest was a world for the kids where they could have spent hours playing and imagining.
My kids asked me, "Mom, how come you have never brought us here before?!" I definitely would have brought them here long ago had I known about it!