In June 2017, after my last day in my previous company, I spent time exploring two Makati parks because I longed to see a facet of Makati that is beyond the office walls and busy sidewalks. On two different mornings, after dropping off Ynah at the office, I paid Washington SyCip Park and Jaime Velasquez Park a visit. The lush gardens and tall acacia trees inside these parks provide a welcome respite to recharge one’s weary mind and body from the daily routine at the cube farm.
Washington SyCip Park
Located behind the Asian Institute of Management building, Washington SyCip Park probably had the densest foliage among all parks in Makati. It was named after Mr. Washington SyCip, one of the foremost accounting practitioners in the Philippines and in Asia.
The Park was presented to Mr. SyCip on June 2006, on his 85th birthday, in honor of his numerous excellent contributions to the Philippine business community. It was developed by Ayala Land, Inc., the Makati Commercial Estate Association, the City of Makati, Barangay San Lorenzo, and SGV. & Co.
Inside the park is the Crane and Turtle Garden, both traditional symbols of long life in Asia. The crane and turtle symbolize the lasting friendship between the Philippines and Japan. The garden also is a celebration of life, nature, harmony, culture, and art. It was also dedicated to the enduring ties between the Filipino and Japanese People.
Located within the park are several artworks, too. One is the Wish Stone by renowned sculptor Impy Pilapil. From afar, it looked like a fancy stone table. One may even mistake is for a bench where one can have his afternoon snack. But that is not so, when seen up close. The inscription on the marker beckons the onlooker to pick up the brush, dip it in water, write a wish or prayer on the stone, and let the cosmic forces take it to heaven. It was an invitation that was too hard to resist. I did not use the pen and water though; I wrote my prayer with my fingers and let the cool morning breeze take it to the stars.
A few feet away from the Wish Stone is “The Mangrove – Nature’s Embrace,” another artwork by Impy Pilapil. The inscription on the marker said that Pilapil saw how the prominent root zone of mangrove trees are an apt symbol of nature’s unity with man. As a highly productive ecosystem that thrives between land and water, it provides an all embracing, protective, and nurturing habitat that serves the life cycle of a whole range of marine life and land-dwelling species; and also prevents soil erosion. The human challenge is to find the fine balance between advancing technologically while maintaining environmental consciousness.
Jaime C. Velasquez Park
The Jaime C. Velasquez Park is located in the midst of Salcedo Village, as such, it is also commonly referred to as Salcedo Park. It was named in honor of Col. Jaime C. Velasquez, one of the primary forces behind the development of the Makati Central Business district.
It is a small pocket park that is popular among joggers and small children as there is a playground located within its confines. One may also seek refuge from the noise outside by enjoying a quiet moment in one of the stone benches around the park. If you have a lot of time to spare, you may even read a book under the shade of a tall tree.
On weekends, however, the park comes alive and bustling with activities as this is also the venue of the popular Salcedo Weekend Market where one may buy fresh and organic produce, and home-cooked food.
So the next time you need a breather from the hustle and bustle at work, why don’t you take a brief escape from your workstation and breathe in some fresh air in any of these two Makati parks.
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