On days when the pockets are low on cash, my refuge are places in nearby cities that offer clean air, refreshing views and comfort food. If New York City has its Central Park, Metro Manila has the UP Diliman campus. No disrespect to Luneta and the QC circle, but in terms of wide and green open spaces, this big hectare flagship campus of the State University is unmatched in Metro Manila. The campus is a gigantic garden with tree-lined avenues and wide grassy areas where all sorts of outdoor activities can be held. I am not sure if there’s a place that can compare to it in the Metro.
Bonifacio Global City may have lots of runable and bikeable pavement, but its small trees hardly provide any shade. Luneta and Roxas Boulevard meanwhile have deteriorated a lot, as evidenced by the seemingly uncollectable trash along the baywalk. If you’re sick of breathing in the brown, oily air of Metro Manila while running or biking, UP Diliman is the best place to go inside the Metro.
Since it’s my day off and I definitely need to de-stress once in a while, I ask my dad to accompany me to go jogging at UP. Whoo! Exercise–I badly need you…like, right now. I might need to stretch some bones and work out some muscles, a jog or walk might be enough. Haha! Supposedly, my sister and mom will come but unfortunately they have morning errands to attend to. So, it end up just me and my Daddy. For the second time around, we visited UP Diliman to jog. We chose to run in part of UP oval, where the academic oval is closed from all vehicles (just a small part is one lane passable). This oval shaped part of UP becomes a huge park where most sounds come from the chirping of the birds and most smell come from trees and grasses. I don’t think there is another public place I know in Metro Manila that could give such an encouraging environment to run and bike, or even walk dogs, like UP does.
It was a lovely Saturday morning and I’m so much excited for this good morning run. We jogged there from 9:00 in the morning until 12 noon yet it didn’t feel like it was lunch time (just my stomach told me so). I know this kinda late and that’s a major bang for me ’cause I’m definitely NOT a morning person I have a big problem waking up so early in the morning (I’m one of those girls whose always hitting that snooze button :P) so I woke up around 6am to fix my things and to condition my bones for jogging! The academic oval is lined with huge acacia trees that could provide shade even on hot afternoons. There are lots of jogger out there, most are moms and dads with their little kids, young at heart groovy senior citizens and bikers (even skaters) late in the morning. People just gradually dispersed when noon came. For those who want to run with fewer people, noontime would be the best time to start jogging there. Anyway, even if there are many runners, the place is still huge that it’s almost impossible to accidentally bump into anyone.
There is also a designated bikers’ and runners’ lane on the oval which motorized vehicles are not allowed to use. This means you don’t have to worry about getting run over by a car while you’re focusing on your run. On Sundays, the entire oval is closed off to motorized traffic and becomes one giant playground for runners, bikers, long board skaters and families who just want to enjoy the shade of the trees.
We also encountered some photo shoots and little kids have their training for soccer while circling the oval. Many other things could be done there, and…well just sit and bum around. For me, I would like to have a picnic there one of these days. The grasses and the shades are so inviting, I pictured myself eating a home-made sandwich on a picnic mat :D
After about 3 or 4 rounds down the usual running route, we got tired and decided to take a rest. If you get hungry or thirsty, you could catch a few food vendors roaming around selling steamed corn, carioca (sweet, sticky-like rice balls), banana cue, turon, dirty ice cream, taho (made of fresh soft/silken tofu, arnibal (brown sugar syrup), and pearl), and some refreshments. Thank you to those awesome small-time vendors Manong “taho” and manong “ice cream” are good enough for me. The only inconvenience on a weekend is the difficulty to find a restroom. Since it’s a no school day, buildings are closed, meaning the comfort rooms designated on each school building are also inaccessible.
As usual, UP never failed to offer a breather from the hustles and bustles of the city. I feel happy that more and more people get to discover that UP is not merely a school for the ever stereotyped “geeks”, but also a place to run freely. And thank you to our kuya’s and ate’s who patiently trim the grass, and keep the area clean. I hope people will continue to preserve what’s beautiful. =)
Disclaimer: I am no health expert, all of these are just based on my little experience :)
1. Warming up
Before you start to jog or anything too athletic, warm up your body. You can do this by simply stretching or jumping in the same place. If you can do some sit-ups they’re also a good way to warm up your body. Once you feel alive and energetic, you can start to jog slowly. Friendly reminder: Do not jog for more than a kilometer for beginners (Don’t force yourself too much). You can slowly increase the area you jog as the days progress and your body gets used to the jogging phase.
Always remember that when you’re doing sweaty activity like jogging, you should wear something lightweight and tight pants are no-no. Keep it loose, why? it’s because, your body will surely get sweat as you jog and wearing loose clothes will ensure proper perspiration. Keep in mind that the more you perspire the better. Take it as a sign that your body is burning down those calories and fat.
3. Too tired?
If you are just starting out (like me), then chances are that you might feel too tired at times. If this happens, stand or sit down in one place and practice deep breathing. Inhale deeply and fill up your lungs with air. Drink water, lotsa of it to avoid being dehydrated. This will help you get back on your feet and jogging in less time. ALWAYS KEEP HYDRATED but DON’T DRINK LIQUID TOO MUCH you might vomit along your way.
Hope these tips helps you! :)
Waking up early in the morning was very rewarding, I had so much fun jogging at the same time it helps you to have a healthy lifestyle! I actually want to do it some more! i just wish I have more time.