Passing through the Lacson Underpass now leads to a new piece of green heaven at the heart of Lawton, Manila called the Hidden Garden.
The one-hectare park was inaugurated yesterday by Mayor Isko Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna. Apparently, while we’re all holed up in our respective homes, the Mayor of Manila and his Engineering and Public Works department have been working hard adding more green spaces to the country’s capital.
You can see the park from the Metropolitan Theater, the City hall, or the Post Office, and adjacent to the Liwasang Bonifacio. It’s about a 10-15 minute walk from Binondo. The spot, which is now the city’s newest attraction, used to be a dumping ground of old vehicles and had served as home to street dwellers for many years.
The Mayor said the garden is in line with his administration’s policy to open more green spaces in the nation’s capital, and an effort to show that cleaner and breathable air is achievable in an urbanized city like Manila.
The Hidden Garden is only one of the many open-air green spaces around Manila, which include the Luneta Park, Aroceros Park, Mehan Garden, and the Paco Park.
With its brick paving, the Hidden Garden is perfect for morning walks and stretches (it’s pretty spacious). It is dotted with trees as well as horizontal and vertical gardens. Umbrellas offer extra shade.
Within the garden is a coffee shop that sports a modern, industrial look, and serves homegrown brews. The café, the mayor says, allows the local government to generate new jobs and opportunities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the inauguration Tuesday, the mayor appealed to the people of Manila and those who will visit to treat the garden like their own. “Pagmalasakitan niyo sapagkat mano pa, pagdating ng araw, mas sariwang hangin ang makakamit ng inyong mga apo at anak,” he says.
He also reminds those going to the park to follow the health and safety protocols, which include the wearing of face masks and observing social distancing.