When the word “park” is mentioned, what images do you picture?
I see lush, green grass and leafy, towering trees. People gather underneath shady areas or settle on benches. Families with their kids picnic. Couples huddle in some strange corner. Joggers steer past vendors and teenagers. And, if I stood at one end of the park, I could barely see where the other is because my view is heavily obstructed.
That is what I was expecting when I was told I would pass by the Ortigas Park to get to an appointment.
As I turned the corner, I saw the sign. It was great to see green space in the heart of an urban complex. From where I stood, I could already see where the park started—and ended! While I was gladdened by the sight, it also confounded me. “This is it? This is all of it?!”
Despite searching for the official size of the park online, I couldn’t find any. The only thing that I know about it is that its marker mentions a date: December 19, 2005. I don’t know if it’s the date for when it was opened to the public or when the marker was erected.
Looked up more information and I learned that Ortigas Center, the location of Ortigas Park, used to be called “Hacienda de Mandaloyon”, a 4,033 hectare estate that originally belonged to Augustinian priests. In the last century, partnership changed hands and so did the look of the area. Ortigas & Company bought what was then a wasteland and transformed it into what is now a popular commercial and residential area.
While Ortigas Park is one of the lesser known parks, especially when compared to the giants of the metro, it is an oasis in the heart of the complex that serves as both a haven and a retreat for workers of surrounding companies.