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Getting fit for less around Marikina

A lot of fitness gyms in the country require skyrocketing membership fees that could ruin your monthly budget, you’d lose pounds not from working out but from the lack of livable funds left in your wallet.  For fitness-conscious individuals who don’t have the financial capacity to enroll in expensive fitness centers (or simply don’t want to include preposterous gym fees in their monthly budget), there are other options to stay fit and healthy for less.

Fortunately for residents of Marikina, the city has a number of public places where one can jog, run, brisk walk, play outdoor and indoor sports with friends and family, or even join free zumba sessions like in our community every weekend.

Fitness Places in Marikina:

Marikina Sports Center

Photo courtesy of Marikina Sports Park’s FB page

1. Marikina Sports Center (Complex) — Built in 1969, it was renamed to Marikina Sports Park in 1995 and is situated in Sumulong Highway corner Shoe Avenue, Marikina also known as Bayan for locals.

Marikina Sports Center is one of Metro Manila’s cleanest and well-maintained public sports facilities. It is equipped with an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a 400-meter track oval.  It also has a sports building that houses indoor game facilities for boxing, sepak takraw, arnis, and martial arts. It has an indoor gym with basketball,  volleyball, and event centers.

Entrance to Marikina Sports Center is only P10. Some of the facilities may have separate charges which are several folds lower than those charged by exclusive fitness gyms in the Metro.

Marikina Sports Center has two grandstands with a total seating capacity of 15,000. Practically almost everything you need for your fitness regimen is here.

Photos courtesy of Marikina Sports Center's FB page

Photo courtesy of Marikina Sports Center’s FB page

marikina sports park_wendell

Photo courtesy of Marikina Sports Center’s FB page   

2. Marikina River Park –  Right outside Riverbanks Center in Barangka, Marikina, the Marikina River Park is a sprawling open space ideal for brisk walking, jogging, and running early in the morning or late afternoon. This part of Marikina River is usually clean unless during or after a heavy rain which pollutes the river with tons of trash from other places. On most days, it’s a perfect spot for your fitness routine.

Marikina River Park

Photo courtesy of Riverbanks Center’s FB page

3. Feetness Pad – (NOTE: This isn’t a public park like the other two mentioned but a low-cost fitness center with no monthly fees.)

Just this month, my friends and I agreed to take on a challenge to lose weight before our rendevouz in Cebu City this January. It’s our own version of The Biggest Loser, with bragging rights up for grabs. I figured I could use a fitness gym where I could be motivated to workout and lose more pounds than when I do it without a coach. I searched online for female-friendly gyms around Marikina and it led me to Feetness Pad located in Concepcion. Interestingly, their sessions are as low as P99 and up plus their programs looked inviting so I gave them a try. Feetness Pad’s Coach Ryya assured me that I wouldn’t feel left out even if I’d go there alone. And she was right. The atmosphere was warm and friendly at Feetness Pad.

feetness pad

Photo courtesy of Feetness Pad’s FB page.  The pole is calling!

I went there on their first anniversary where they hosted a free zumba session. My first visit was primarily just to check out the place but while watching the zumba class, I couldn’t help but give in to the beat. I left the gym feeling happy, energized, and all worked out.  The next day, I went back for their Circuit Training which was also a blast. I have to say all the fitness coaches I met at Feetness Pad were accommodating, nice, and really good at their craft.

Other than Zumba and Circuit Training, they also have Pole Dancing Lessons (which I am so tempted to try), Yoga, and Boxing. Check them out on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/FeetnessPad, for more information about their fitness programs.

These are some of the fitness places in Marikina that you can visit without paying a fortune. Given that facilities like them indeed exist, excuses about high gym membership fees no longer hold water. At the end of the day, it’s your motivation to get fit and healthy that will drive you to your goal.

Tara na, kilos na! :)

 

 

 

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Trip up north: Manila to Sagada

Sagada is one of the best and most popular tourist destinations in the Mountain Province. Before it even took the spotlight due to the widely-celebrated film “That Thing Called Tadhana,” Sagada has been a favorite destination of choice by people seeking breath-taking panoramic views, cold weather, nice people, and tranquil environment where one could feel like he/she is on top of the world some 275 kilometers away from the urban jungle of Metro Manila.

Sagada

We had our trip up North to Sagada summer of last year and even though it was the longest land travel of our lives, it was arguably one of the best.

We rented a 12-seater van that accommodated all of us comfortably. It certainly wasn’t cheap but the convenience was priceless.  We took a Manila-Baguio-Sagada route which took us two days to reach Sagada from Manila (just because we stopped by Baguio for some sight-seeing and stayed there overnight).

Ways to get there other than through private transport:

By Bus

  • Western route (Victory Liner, Partas, Genesis, Dagupan  Bus Line) — Manila to Baguio

Fare (Manila to Baguio City): P455-P750 (around $10-$17)
Estimated travel time: 6 hours

Baguio City to Sagada (GL Trans, Lizard Transit)
Fare: P220 non-aircon (roughly $4.90)
Estimated travel time: 6 hours

Manila-Bontoc-Sagada
Bus ride from Manila to Bontoc, the capital of Mountain Province.
Estimated travel time: 12 hours. A jeepney ride from Bontoc to Sagada takes another 45 minutes.

  • Eastern route (Ohayami Trans) — This bus line passes through Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya and Ifugao. It doesn’t take you straight to Sagada but gets you close – at least up to the eastern edge of the Cordilleras.
    Manila Terminal: Lacson Avenue cor. Fajardo Street, Sampaloc
    Contact number: 09276493055, 02-5160501 (Manila); 09175617344 (Ifugao)

Fare (Manila to Banaue): P450 (around $10)
Estimated travel time: 10-12 hours

 

WHAT TO EXPECT IN SAGADA:

  • Picturesque winding roads worthy of cinematic exposure
  • Colder weather compared to most parts of the country
  • Caves, lots of caves to explore! One of the the caves we visited was an ancient burial cave of Sumaguing (Sumaguing Cave)
  • Clean, sparkling rivers and waterfalls
  • The famous hanging coffin and other historical sites
  • Smaller versions of the famous Rice Terraces in Banaue
  • Dining areas with lots of good food and some of them can only be found in Sagada! I would love to go back just because of Sagada Lemon Pie House which serves the best (lemon) pie I ever tasted.
  • Warm, friendly people
  • Clean, safe streets

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Sagada

My niece and daughter enjoying the serenity of Sagada.

Sagada map

 

When you get there, it is best to go to Sagada’s Tourist Office and register as a tourist. Local guides are there on stand by to give tourists a hand in exploring the main attractions and provide local information about Sagada for a minimal fee. Highly recommended to get a local guide from there to maximize your Sagada experience. There are caves and other tourist spots there that are hard to explore without a guide.

On off-peak season, accommodation should be easy to find even if you don’t have any prior reservations. There are a lot of affordable houses and hostels for rent around the area.

My pictures could never give justice to the beauty of Sagada. I failed to capture a lot of panoramic views when I got consumed by the vast green slopes, tourist attractions, exciting trekking trails, and lots of good food and company but that’s the thing — Sagada is a place where you can be one with nature, or reflect on the things that happened in your life, release all your pains and shout all your angst to the clouds like in the flick “Tadhana,” or frolic around it with the people you love.  If you haven’t been to Sagada, you might want to include it in your bucket list and make new unforgettable memories of your own.