From Wawa to Wow a!: The Metamorphosis of the Angono Lakeside Park

Sunday, November 08, 2015

The Lakeside Park has undergone such a transformation to the point that local kids deem it clean enough for swimming.
Photo courtesy of Jan Jethro Lacdan
Let's be honest here: when you're on a tight budget and/or subsisting on a student's allowance, your cures-for-boredom are quite limited. You could stay at home and give your thumbs an intense workout by scrolling through your news feed. Or you could come over at your friend's house and eat their food. Sometimes, though, this too could get old.

Luckily for residents of Angono in Rizal, there's a place where one could just chill for free.

The Angono Lakeside Park, known to locals as "Wawa," is an area developed to serve the need for budget-friendly bonding and recreation. What I thought was doomed to be an unused piece of marshy land reeking of muck, the local government had made out as a veritable pasyalan.
Angono higantes festival
 This side of Wawa is punctuated by the Manila skyline in the distance.
Photo courtesy of Jan Jethro Lacdan
The Wawa of the present is truly a far cry from what I could remember. After years of beautification efforts, cleaning drives, and community reorientation, what was once a breeding ground for water lilies and mosquitoes became the quintessential tambayan for Angonians. Today, the park is clean and no longer redolent of "burak." There is a playground and a joggers' lane, as well as stalls that sell ihaw-ihaw and other street foods. A boat ride across a portion of the Laguna de Bay, amidst fish pens, costs a mere Php20 per person. Bicycles and quad-bikes are also available for rent. There is even a zipline!
The Pink Bike
The joggers'-cum-bike lane looks out over "fields" of kangkong but offers a surprisingly beautiful view when the sun is about to set.
It's not difficult to understand why this place had grown to be very popular among locals. The fact that the entrance fee to the park is literally zero certainly helped the case. Furthermore, Wawa had recently served as the venue for "Larolympics" and the annual summer event known as Saranggola Festival. That's a long way from the old days of rutted tracks and overgrown talahib.
Laguna de Bay
Looks like something straight out of NatGeo, isn't it? This is a common sight at the Lakeside Park.
Photo courtesy of Nestinejoy Rosimo
Students coming home from school, families and friends trying to catch up, and even lovers opting for an inexpensive date flock to the Lakeside Park especially during the late afternoon. During this time, it also isn't so rare to catch sight of a number of photographers – both amateur and professional – trying to capture the "golden hour." The Lakeside Park offers picture-perfect sunsets – from purple-orange to blazing bronze and everything in between.
Sunsets by the bay
The still waters of the lake creates an even more dramatic effect.
Not only is the park budget-friendly and accessible, the whole place stands as a testament of things turning around for the better. In the words of Rico Blanco: kung ayaw may dahilan, kung gusto palaging merong paraan.

The Lakeside Park is just one of several attractions Angono has to offer. If this and the reasons why you shouldn't miss the Higantes Festival haven't yet convinced you to come visit, then you might want to have a look at the other fun activities you can do here in the Art Capital. And oh, check out this cool infographic that condensed everything I'd just said into one awesome-looking picture:
Wawa infographic
Shout out to for making it a little bit easier for try-hard graphic artists like me.


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