History, culture, food: For gems in plain sight, revisit Quezon City

Ina Sebastian
In honor of QC's 75th Foundation Day, won't you rediscover Metro Manila's biggest city?
REDISCOVER. Come back – you may have missed what QC has to offer. All photos courtesy of Moist Communicates
October 12 marks the Diamond Jubilee of Quezon City, and the local government and its citizens are pulling out all the stops to celebrate this occasion in style. But even on a regular day, Quezon City has quite a lot to offer. (READ: Lechon, Maginhawa food finds: Your guide to these special Quezon City events)

Media were recently invited on a Quezon City tour to experience the city like a traveler, in light of its 75th Foundation Day.   

So whether you’re stuck in the city for the weekend or just want to explore gems hidden in plain sight, here are a few stops in QC for you to discover or rediscover.

 

Start at QMC 

JOY. Take your pick of fresh greens at the Joy of Urban Farming

A great start to your city adventure would be Quezon Memorial Circle. 

The park is covered in trees, so the pathways are shady and cool even in the middle of the day. Sports enthusiasts can take advantage of the wide lawns for any number of outdoor games.

Fitness buffs can utilize the outdoor gym and running paths, and the young (or young at heart) can have fun at the numerous playgrounds that dot the park.

You can also find the “Joy of Urban Farming,” a small plot of land dedicated to the planting of organic fruits and vegetables, within the park grounds. Consumers can choose from a wide array of seasonal fruits and veggies to bring home for cheaper than market price (sometimes, even free). 

TOWERING SOLDIER. The Quezon Memorial Shrine stands sentinel over the park

Visit the Shrine and the museums

Its main attraction, however, is the Quezon Memorial Shrine, a towering monument that houses the remains of former President Manuel L. Quezon, after whom the city is named.

The pylon itself is topped with three crying angels done by Italian sculptor Monti, which represent the three main islands of the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. 

It stands 66 meters tall, representative of Quezon’s age at the time of his death. When you enter the Shrine, you can choose to pay your respects, or take a peek at the Quezon Memorial Shrine Museum to learn more about the life of former President Quezon.

The Museum is open from Tuesday through Sunday, from 8 am to 4 pm and entrance is free, though check first to see if it’s open – it’s been undergoing renovations. 

Another historical attraction within the complex is the Quezon Heritage House, the former residence of Manuel L. Quezon. Quezon used the home as a weekend retreat and eventually as a place of convalescence for his tuberculosis. 

The Quezon City government moved the house from its original address at 45 Gilmore Street to the Circle in 2013. They were able to restore as much as 60% of the original house, and visitors can view the original furnishings and other MLQ memorabilia. The house is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 9 am to 4 pm. 

BACK HOME. A peek inside the Quezon Heritage House

Meet Tandang Sora 

The storied past of Quezon City reaches out to other parts of the city. Visit the Tandang Sora National Shrine on Banlat Road and learn about the life of the “Mother of the Philippine Revolution,” Melchora Aquino, better known as Tandang Sora. 

RESPECT. A representation of Melchora Aquino’s efforts during the revolution at the Tandang Sora Shrine, by Toym Imao

The Quezon City government had her remains reinterred in the Shrine in commemoration of her 200th birthday in 2012. The Shrine also has an art gallery where you can view paintings and sculptures of Tandang Sora made by Filipino artists and students from all over Quezon City.

The Franciscan-run San Pedro de Bautista Church in the San Francisco del Monte area is also a must-see. It is named after Pedro de Bautista, a Franciscan friar who served as the parish priest in the 16th century and was eventually martyred in Japan. 

BACK IN TIME. The ornate altar of the San Pedro de Bautista church

Catholic devotees will enjoy visiting the Holy Cave, located underneath the old altar of the church. The cave is considered holy ground because over the centuries, many missionaries would go to the cave to pray before being sent on evangelical missions (and often to their deaths as martyrs) in neighboring Asian countries.

Even those who are not religious can take interest in the rich heritage of the San Pedro de Bautista Church. It is one of the oldest in the Philippines, and many Filipino movies have also used the church’s beautiful courtyard as a backdrop for wedding scenes.

Food finds

Reward yourself after a long day of sightseeing at one (or two) of the many restaurants along Maginhawa Street. 

The stretch is littered with restaurants offering exciting dishes from every end of the flavor spectrum. A top pick is The Sweet Spot, a café run by a husband and wife team that marry their love of good food and design.

HITS THE SPOT. The spicy Kung Pao Pasta is one of the best sellers at the Sweet Spot

It offers an eclectic mix of Filipino, Southwestern, and Oriental dishes, good for big groups who can’t seem to agree on what to eat for lunch or dinner. For those craving for Filipino fare, try Marciana’s famous pancit palabok and putong pandan, or the pink salmon head ulo-ulo or bulalo of Jek’s Kubo.   

PARTY TIME. Marciana’s pancit palabok is the restaurant’s specialty
COMFORT FOOD. Tuck into a heaping bowl of Jek’s Kubo famous bulalo

Serious foodies should head to the Maginhawa area on Saturday, October 11 for the first ever Quezon City Food Festival. The whole street will be blocked off to traffic to make way for a massive street party that will last the whole day.

As a special treat for the event, participating restaurants will be serving special dishes priced at 150 pesos, so you can really try all of what Maginhawa has to offer, or at least as much as your stomach will let you.

All these activities could easily fill up a whole day, but it’s barely scratched the surface of what the biggest city in Metro Manila has to offer. Where do you like to go relax and have fun in Quezon City? Let us know in the comments below. – Rappler.com

Enjoy good food with even better company. Take a peek at the latest coupons for foodies and enjoy great discounts here. 

Ina Sebastian is an avid traveler and actress who has been writing ever since she won the “Best Storyteller” award at her kindergarten some odd years ago. She’s up for anything as long as there is food involved and maintains a variety of interests that include surfing, British comedy, and ’90s hip hop.