It’s almost hidden from view, obscured by the imposing Philippine Arena and Philippine Sports Stadium. In fact, I didn’t even know there is a such a wonderful park full of flowers called The Garden at the Ciudad de Victoria complex in Bulacan.
Weeks after the Guns N’ Roses concert at the Philippine Arena, musician friends said I should go back—not to watch another show for now, but rather to see The Garden.
Though it’s painstakingly manmade—rows upon rows and blocks and blocks of well-tended flowers of many kinds—the 4.4-hectare Garden gives visitors a natural sense of well-being. There’s a feeling of euphoria, and a sort of calmness. It captures the essence of the expression, “stop and smell the roses.”
Planted along the main entrance’s promenade are various orchids and assorted bonsai.
There are heart-shaped arches filled with petunia, torenia, portulaca and marigold.
Inside an air-cooled glass dome are milflores, phlox, dahlia, geranium, daisy, stag horn, elicriso, petunia, aster, vanda and phalaenopsis.
Most of the flowers were flown in from Dubai and Italy, while some came from different parts of the Philippines.
There’s a setting for suiseki or Japanese art of viewing stones, as well as a replica of a Japanese garden, and also a gazebo for folks to sit and rest after an exhilarating walk.
A dome theater that screens short films on 3D packs excitement for both kids and parents.
A koi pond adds a refreshing water element. To complete the features of a theme park, there are amusement rides, a playground, a chocolate candyland, and even a mini-zoo called Animal World.
Friends who’ve been here say that the best time to visit is at sunset—when night falls, the place turns more dramatic with mood lights.
But at the time of my visit, early afternoon in cool January weather, seemed perfect.
There’s good-tasting coffee, by the way, at the chocolate candyland.
New access road
It’s a pleasant surprise to know that a new access road, the Philippine Arena Interchange, will be constructed there.
It will connect the Manila North Road and Sta. Maria, Bulacan, via Ciudad de Victoria, to ease traffic especially during concerts, when motorists get stalled at the Bocaue toll gate of the North Luzon Expressway.
It will serve as an alternate road to the congested Governor F. Halili Road in Sta Maria.
It’s part of the plan to make Ciudad de Victoria a tourism enterprise zone, said lawyer GP Santos, head of management. He mentioned that the Philippines is hosting the 2019 SEA (Southeast Asian) Games, the opening of which on Nov. 30 will be held at the Philippine Arena.
So now there are more reasons to go to Ciudad de Victoria: watch sports events and concerts at the Philippine Arena and Philippine Sports Stadium, and chill out at The Garden.
Admission fees, with discounts for senior citizens and PWAs, include access to all amusement rides, Animal World and Candyland.
The Garden, Ciudad de Victoria, North Luzon Expressway, Bocaue, Bulacan