Quezon City resurrects the old glory of Balara
() - April 27, 2003 - 12:00am
In the early ’50s when big shopping malls and entertainment complexes were virtually unknown, people from all walks of life in Quezon City spent their leisure time in Balara to watch concert, play games, jog or simply to meditate and interact with nature after a day’s work.

It was in the 60-hectares of rolling terrain where great movie personalities of Filipino cinema filmed their classic movies and stage actors and actresses like Atang de la Rama used to perform stage plays and concerts. But rapid urbanization, squabble among government agencies over the control of the park and the apparent neglect of past administrations has left Balara in ruins, forgotten, and placed under the protective control of the Metro WaterWays and Sewerage System.

Today, after half a century of neglect, the Quezon City government, the MWSS, the Manila Water and the Billion Trees Foundation and barangay officials in Pansol, Balara have joined hands in the reconstruction of the park to let the people in the city relive the glory days of Balara.

In a simple ceremony Friday afternoon, Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and MWSS administrator Orlando Hondrade led officials in reopening the Balara park to public after a year of reconstruction efforts to make the place a tourist destination just at the outskirts of the city.

"Balara park belongs to the people, its our national pride," Belmonte said after an hour stroll in the reconstructed old structures, such as the former firehouse turned into a reception area, an abandoned water tower, a children’s park where a windmill stood and a big aquarium.

Belmonte said the reconstruction of Balara is part of the city government’s effort to provide residents a quality city where they can interact with nature in public museum parks and concerts.

"A quality city does not only mean concrete roads and effective law enforcement, it is also accessible to spiritual development through the realm of parks, museum and concerts," he said.

Amid the cheer of school children and martial music of the Quezon City band Belmonte led officials in cutting the ribbons of historical landmarks in the park. – Perseus Echeminada

ATANG BALARA BELMONTE CITY MANILA WATER AND THE BILLION TREES FOUNDATION ORLANDO HONDRADE PANSOL PERSEUS ECHEMINADA QUEZON CITY QUEZON CITY MAYOR FELICIANO BELMONTE JR. SEWERAGE SYSTEM
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