What to see, do and eat at Quezon Memorial Circle:
A. CIRCLE OF JOY
My daughter Zuri, like most kids her age, takes a while to warm up to someone. This was true even with her Lolo (grandfather) who lives in the province and whom she doesn’t get to see very often. But we found a way to make Zuri instantly feel at ease when her Lolo comes for a visit. It’s actually just one word: playground.
The playground I’m talking about is Circle of Joy at Quezon Memorial Circle. Being only a 5-minute drive from our house, we let Zuri play there whenever we have time. Oftentimes, it’s just me, Rupert and Zuri. Sometimes, we invite Zuri’s cousins. Zuri loves going to Circle of Joy so much that when her Lolo August offered to take her, she said yes right away. From then on, Zuri excitedly awaits her Lolo’s visits because she expects him to take her to Circle whenever they see each other.
I know most kids love playgrounds. As parents, it is our joy to see them happy so we indulge them. However, it’s a bit hard on the pocket to do this every week (or even more often than that) if you have to pay for it every time. If you are like me who has a kid who never gets tired of the playground, Circle of Joy is a nice option for us especially this summer. Circle of Joy is a free playground. It requires absolutely no entrance fee.
These pictures of Circle of Joy were taken last January 20, 2015, Tuesday, between 4:00 – 5:00 pm. You’ll notice in the pictures that the place was acceptably clean and not crowded at all during our visit.
Circle of Joy has at least 13 colorful play structures made of plastic and metal. The ground surrounding the play structures is covered with an artificial grass matting for safer play. Trees provide shade to most parts of Circle of Joy at any time of the day. Slides, tunnels, monkey bars, swings, seesaws and roundabouts are provided for everyone’s enjoyment.
During this particular visit, my brothers Aldous and Jebus accompanied Zuri and me. Zuri’s Lolo August was there also, but he was with a friend so he did not play with us.
Another reason why Zuri likes Circle of Joy is because she has lots of treats to choose from there. Available treats at Circle of Joy include the following: cotton candy, ice cream, taho (soy pudding), popcorn, buttered/cheesy corn in a cup, French fries, burger. Bottled water and fruit juices are also sold at the adjacent shops. Cheap toys like bubbles, balls, dolls are also available at the adjacent shops.
Because Circle of Joy is free, of course, there are times when the playground gets jam-packed. Here’s the trick: Be there on a weekday or at 8:00 a.m. on a weekend. By 8:00 a.m. or earlier on weekends, your kid can practically have the playground all to herself. By 9:00 a.m., there will be some competition, I mean playmates, but it will still be an enjoyable experience. By 10:00 a.m., expect the people to start coming in and the place to soon become a little world of chaos. By 11:00 a.m. onwards – Nope, don’t even consider going that late. If it is a Saturday or a Sunday and you can’t make it before 10:00 a.m., postpone your trip to Circle of Joy for another time.
UPDATE AS OF SEPTEMBER 12, 2016:
Our family, together with Rupert’s brother’s family, visited Circle of Joy again on September 12, 2016, a holiday on a long weekend. Sadly, it was in a very sorry state. It was very dirty and smelly. There was garbage everywhere, and I mean, EVERYWHERE. The place smelled strongly of sewage. I couldn’t even attempt to hide the horrified look on my face as I looked around. What a loss! Sayang na sayang! I expected the crowd because it was a holiday, but the garbage and the smell – those are inexcusable.
To all visitors, please do your part in returning this free playground to its former glory. If we can just all take care of our own trash. And to the management, please make sure the garbage is collected. 🙁
Based on this most recent visit, I strongly don’t recommend Circle of Joy. As an alternative, I recommend Pedal N Paddle.
B. PEDAL N PADDLE
As of September 12, 2016:
Because we found Circle of Joy intolerable during our visit last Sept. 12, 2016, we transferred to Pedal N Paddle, a well-maintained amusement area also in Quezon Memorial Circle. It is not a free attraction unlike Circle of Joy, but, trust me, just to escape the dreadful scene that was Circle of Joy that day, Pedal N Paddle was worth it.
Attractions at Pedal N Paddle:
Pedal N Paddle has a boat station with several boat options for visitors. Rates range from PHP 50/ 1 person/ 15 minutes to PHP 170/ 5 persons/ 15 minutes. We did not ride the boats but we fed the tilapia fish in the artificial boating lagoon with some pandesal (bread) that we brought with us.
Pedal and Paddle also has a Go Kart station. They have rides for bigger kids 4-5 ft tall and for smaller kids 3 ft tall. For safety, the big kids and the small kids have two separate go kart lanes. Each ride costs PHP 80/15 minutes. Zuri and her cousin Gwen tried the binky ride at the Kids Station (go kart) as their respective dads followed them closely. 🙂
Also found inside Pedal N Paddle are kiddie ride favorites such as the Carousel Ride, the Garden Train Ride and the Golden Gate Ride. Zuri and Gwen tried the Garden Train and Golden Gate rides.
Pedal N Paddle also has the usual funfair games like the Dart Balloon, the Shooting Gallery and the Mini Strike Zone. Both the kids and their dads tried these games.
Pedal N Paddle saved the day. The kids had a great time! The Go Kart station was a clear favorite.
Pedal N Paddle is relatively quiet, clean, well-maintained and reasonably priced with many fun attractions and safely new rides. I recommend Pedal N Paddle for your next bonding activity with the kids! 🙂
Aside from those we’ve tried, Pedal N Paddle also offers the following: Skybike (PHP100/round/2 persons), 4D ride (PHP80/4 minutes/person), Pingpong (PHP 70/30 minutes) and Fish Spa (PHP 60/15 minutes/person).
Pedal N Paddle Rates:
Entrance Fee: PHP 20/head; Seniors and children below 3 feet enter for free
For 4-5 ft tall, maximum weight 50 kg
PHP 80/ 15 minutes
Kids Station (Go Kart):
For 3 ft tall, maximum weight 30 kg
PHP 80/ 15 minutes
Rates range from PHP50/1 person/15 minutes to PHP 170/5 persons/15 minutes.
PHP 60/ 15 minutes/ head
PHP 80/ 4 minutes/ head
PHP 100/round good for 2 persons
Golden Gate Ride:
Garden Train Ride:
Php 70/30 minutes
Prize: 1 keychain for 5 good shots
PHP 20/ 4 darts
Prize: 3 popped balloons = 1 small puzzle; 6 popped balloons = 1 keychain
Mini Strike Zone:
PHP 30/ 3 balls
Prize: 1 strike = 1 small stuffed toy; 2 strikes = 1 medium stuffed toy; 3 strikes = 1 large stuffed toy
Pedal N Paddle Opening Time:
Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays: 2:00 pm – 8:00pm
Saturdays, Sundays: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
C. Q.M.C. BICYCLE STATION
Another attraction inside Quezon Memorial Circle is Q. M. C. Bicycle Station. QMC Bicycle Station has solo bicycles, bicycles with sidecar and kiddie bicycles which can be rented for a minimum of 1 hour. The bicycle trail goes around Circle of Joy.
Here are the rates (as of January 2015):
UPDATE AS OF SEPTEMBER 12, 2016:
The bicycle rink of the QMC Bicycle Station, which goes around Circle of Joy, smelled strongly of sewage when we visited last September 12, 2016, a holiday on a long weekend. Until the situation that we saw last Sept. 12, 2016 changes, I don’t recommended going to the QMC bicycle station.
D. CIRCLE OF FUN
As of January 2015:
Another attraction inside Quezon Memorial Circle is Circle of Fun.
Circle of Fun is a small amusement park with rides for both young and old. Even toddlers or kids below 3 feet are allowed in most rides as long as there’s an accompanying adult. Most rides cost PHP 40/head.
If you’re riding with a small child like Zuri, most of the time you will be asked to buy just one ticket which will cover both your and your kid’s ride. However, there are some rides that require separate tickets for the adult and the child. It is best to clarify this first with the staff.
Here are the Circle of Fun rides that Zuri has tried:
Other rides inside Circle of Fun that we have not tried yet include the following:
Circle of Fun requires a PHP 30 entrance fee. Open daily. Monday – Friday 3:30 p.m. onwards. Saturday, Sunday and Holidays 2:00 p.m. onwards.
E. Fitness Trail
There is a free fitness trail in Quezon Memorial Circle with a mixture of old and new exercise equipment, all in good working condition. As of my last count (Sept. 18, 2016), there are about 30 pieces of exercise equipment at the free fitness trail. Don’t want to spend money on gym membership? Go to QMC Fitness Trail. Bonus: You get to breathe fresh air.
F. Weekend Tiangge/Flea Market
There is a tiangge/flea market inside Quezon Memorial Circle during weekends. Usual merchandise at the tiangge include cheap shirts, blouses, dresses, shorts, leggings, shoes, sandals, slippers, bags, accessories and toys.
Here are my finds last Sept. 18, 2016:
I was surprised to find some dresses with really good fabric and cute designs. This Hello Kitty tutu dress has a soft breathable cotton top. 🙂
I also bought this cute Sofia The First tutu dress which is made of the same soft and breathable material as the Hello Kitty dress. 🙂
The Quezon Memorial Circle weekend tiangge (flea market) is a good option for shopping especially for budget-conscious moms. Just remember to:
1. Choose carefully.
Hidden among the substandard merchandise are some quality finds.
The vendor originally asked for PHP 250 for one character dress. I eventually got the dresses for PHP 180 each. (My mother, who has mastered the art of bargaining, probably could have gotten the dresses for PHP 150 each or even lower.)
3. Watch your valuables (especially your children!).
Position your bag in front of you and hug it if you can. ALWAYS be physically in contact with your child. ALWAYS hold your child’s hand or carry your child. NEVER lose sight of your little one.
G. Plant Stalls
For your gardening needs, there is an area inside Quezon Menorial Circle lined with plant stalls. They sell ornamental plants, flowering plants, herbs, soil, fertilizer, pots, etc.
H. Where To Eat In QMC
Restaurants inside Quezon Memorial Circle include Serye Cafe Filipino, Max’s, Tropical Hut, Bacolod Chicken Inasal and Coconut House.
Serye Cafe Filipino
Serye Cafe Filipino is a nice restaurant that serves Filipino food. To know more about their menu, see their website here.
There is a Max’s Restaurant inside Quezon Memorial Circle. They have kids meal, too.
Bacolod Chicken Inasal
Coconut House uses coconut in every dish. Below are photos of Coconut House taken way back when Zuri was still a baby.
Aside from these restaurants, there are many street food vendors inside QMC. Types of street food usually seen inside QMC include dirty ice cream (sorbetes), green mangoes with bagoong, santol, singkamas, taho, cotton candy and popcorn. There is also a Food Tiangge near Circle of Joy. Usual food sold at the Food Tiangge include grilled isaw, grilled hotdog, grilled squid, grilled fish, lugaw, goto, pancit, shawarma, gulaman, fruit shakes.
I. Other Attractions
Also found inside Quezon Memorial Circle are the following: Joy of Urban Farming, a zip line, a museum and organic products for sale.
Parking fee inside QMC is PHP 15/car – fixed rate any day.
UPDATE AS OF SEPTEMBER 12, 2016:
Though some areas have become a disappointment, Quezon Memorial Circle still has a lot to offer! See it with your kids and the whole family. It’s still worth a visit. 🙂
Thanks for reading! 🙂
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