Metro Manila seems to be getting more congested by the day.
In fact, President Rodrigo Duterte himself predicted that Metro Manila would be a “dead city” in 25 years.
But for those of us who live, work, and go to school here, putting up with the city’s drawbacks isn’t much of a choice, so what can we do except deal with it the best we can?
One important facet of staying healthy in the city is exercise. Those who don’t want to shell out for a gym membership would usually opt for outdoor exercises, something easier said than done in our city, where green spaces are difficult to find.
Luckily, Coconuts is here to help you find some of the best places to get exercise outdoors in and around Metro Manila.
Cultural Center of the Philippines(CCP)/Roxas Boulevard
The CCP isn’t just a performing arts center, it’s also one of the most popular places you can go for a run or jog around Metro Manila.
Most people jog there in the morning, but running while catching a glimpse of the famous Manila Bay sunset can be a perfect way to cap your day.
Tip: Starting your run at the United States Embassy and ending at the CCP will give you a solid 2.5-kilometer run.
Address: Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
Filinvest City, Alabang
In southern Metro Manila, the Filinvest area of Alabang, Muntinlup,a is probably one of the most organized and open spaces you’ll find.
With its wide sidewalks lined with big trees and lush landscaping, a run around Filinvest will give you a break from the concrete jungles of the more congested parts of the metro.
Tip: Every Sunday, Commerce Ave., Corporate Ave., Parkway, and Filinvest Ave. are closed from 5am to 10am, so joggers and bicyclists can enjoy the roads without the danger of being hit by a car. If you get hungry after your jog, Festival Mall, Commerce Center, Alabang Towne Centre, and Molito are nearby and provide tons of dining choices.
Address: Commerce Avenue, Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
Nuvali in Santa Rosa, Laguna, is a popular weekend destination for Manileños looking for a quick getaway from the metro.
About 44 kilometers away from Metro Manila, it’s far enough from the pollution but close enough to get to, even if you just want to walk around the area and get some fresh air.
There are also designated off-road biking trails for biking enthusiasts.
If you get hungry after, the Solenad Mall has plenty of choices for your post-workout needs.
Check out Nuvali’s website here.
Address: Nuvali Boulevard, Santa Rosa, Laguna
Mall of Asia Esplanade
Another option if you’re looking for a run around Manila Bay is the Esplanade at the Mall of Asia complex in Pasay City.
Among the country’s largest malls, shopping at the Mall of Asia might be enough exercise for you. But nothing beats running outdoors by the bay.
Tip: Check what time sunset is before you run to catch a glimpse of Manila’s spectacular sunsets.
Address: Esplanade, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
One of the more interesting places on this list is Heritage Park, which is actually a large cemetery in Taguig City’s Bayani Rd.
If you’re afraid of ghosts, we suggest you run in the morning, where there are plenty of other living joggers to keep you company.
Address: Heritage Park, Bayani Road, Taguig City
While most places in the Philippines don’t seem to prioritize leaving open spaces to develop parks, the planners of Bonifacio Global City (BGC) got it right when they set aside open areas in between modern office towers.
For yuppies working in BGC, this is the perfect spot to get some exercise after work.
There are several parks and spaces to run around BGC, but what we like about this particular park are the wooden stakes and bars that can be used for stretching during your warm-ups. You can also do push-ups, pull-ups, and other exercises on the installations.
Address: 30th St, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila
Capitol Commons is one of the newer developments right outside the Ortigas Center in Pasig City.
In front of a mid-rise mall and office building, there is an open area that families and other joggers living in the area frequent during weekends.
Tip: If you’re feeling a little extra, the oval track at Ultra is just right outside Capitol Commons. Entrance to the track costs PHP35 (US$.70) and is open from 5:30am to 9pm daily. Also, the Mercato Centrale food market takes place every Thursday and Friday night here from 5pm to 2am for your post-run grub.
Address: Capitol Commons, Meralco Avenue Ortigas Center Pasig City
The trees, expansive campus, and paved roads are probably the most common reasons why University of the Philippines, Diliman, is still a popular place for runners in Metro Manila.
If you run on the weekends, you’ll be with a lot of other students and young adults with the same goal of living an active lifestyle. This might be a good opportunity to make some new friends.
Address: University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
Ninoy Aquino Wildlife Parks
Located off the busy Quezon City circle, Ninoy Aquino Wildlife Parks calls itself a “nature park in the heart of the city.”
The 22-hectare nature park features wild plants and animals and a lagoon open for the public to enjoy.
The park is open seven days a week, from 7am to 5pm.
The Department of Environment and Environmental Resources has a wildlife rescue center in the park open from 9am to 4pm daily.
There is an entrance fee of PHP30 per person for adults and PHP15 for students.
Address: Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City
Quezon Memorial Circle
Right outside the Ninoy Aquino Wildlife Parks is the elliptical circle where many Quezon City residents go to exercise in the mornings. There are even Zumba classes offered at the circle.
The best time to go is in the morning and on the weekends.
Address: Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City
Although not the first choice to run in if you’re not from San Juan, Pinaglabanan Shrine might be worth checking out based on its historical significance alone.
The shrine was built to commemorate the heroism of the Filipinos who revolted against the Spanish government. There is also a museum you can bring your family to that is entirely devoted to Bonifacio and the Katipunan revolutionaries.
The shrine is open to the public and there are no entrance fees.
For food and shopping after, Greenhills is only five minutes away.
Address: P. Guevarra Street, San Juan
Ayala Triangle Garden
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Right in the middle of the financial district of Makati is the Ayala Triangle Park. It’s been a favorite place to run for those working in Makati’s financial center. There are also several restaurants in the triangle to eat and rest in after you workout.
Address: Paseo De Roxas St Cor Makati Ave Cor Ayala Ave, Makati
Officially called Jaime Velasquez Park, Salcedo Park is especially alive on Saturdays during its weekly farmers market, which offers a variety of wet and dry foods.
It’s a popular spot where many Makati residents go to exercise and bring their families to hang out on the weekends.
The park is well maintained and open to the public.
Address: Jaime Velasquez Park, Tordesillas Street, Salcedo Village Makati City
Legazpi Active Park in Legazpi Village also has a farmers market on Sundays from 7:30am to 2pm. It’s a popular place for families to go to after church and is very lively on Sundays.
It’s up to you if you want to exercise before or after eating, but we wouldn’t be surprised if you skipped the running altogether because the smell of the food is quite hard to ignore.
Address: Legazpi Active Park, Rada Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City
For another urban run that’s not as crowded as the Makati Central Business District, try running at Rockwell.
What makes Rockwell good for running is that the area is not as dense as the main business district, the sidewalk is quite wide, and the area is well secured.
Tip: If you have one, park your car at the Powerplant Mall before you start your jog, as there are few places to park along the streets. There are a good number of food choices around the neighborhood and in the mall for your post-run meals.
Address: Rockwell Drive, Cor Estrella, Makati City
There is something patriotic about running around Luneta Park, in front of the shrine of the Philippines’ national hero Jose Rizal, placed on the spot where he was executed by the Spanish government.
It’s not the easiest place to get to on the weekdays, but early morning runs around the historic park can be lovely.
There is no entrance fee to run and it is open to the public.
Address: Roxas Blvd Ermita, Barangay 666 Zone 72, Manila
There isn’t much space in Ortigas, but the local government of Pasig closes the usually busy Emerald Ave. every Sunday from 7am to 5pm to make room for Ortigas residents to get active outdoors.
You can run, take a Zumba class, or rent a bike and use the middle of the road all you like.
Of course, in addition to the restaurants on Emerald, there are several malls within walking distance you can go to for your post-workout meal including The Podium, Robinsons Galleria, SM Megamall, and Shangri-La Plaza.
Address: Emerald Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
University of Makati
In Makati City, the University of Makati’s oval track is open to the public to use from 5am to 8am and 5pm to 8pm daily.
Makati residents pay an entrance fee of PHP30 (US$.60) while non-Makati residents pay a fee of PHP40 (US$.80). Not a bad deal for those who prefer to use tracks over running in an open park or the streets.
Address: J.P. Rizal Ext, Makati, 1215 Metro Manila
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