For my Easter LSD I decided to take another one of my dream route—Commonwealth Ave. to the Mall of Asia via Quezon Ave., España Blvd., and Roxas Blvd.—from the top of the Metro to seaside. I’ve planned to take this route for some time now originally just ending in Rizal Park (KM 0) but for the sake of having an LSD longer than my previous I decided to take it longer to the Mall of Asia compound.
Like in regular races I still hate waking up early for an LSD but since it’s already summer I have no choice but to do likewise, and likewise I still started later than planned: 5:24AM. By that time the sky was just starting to light up.
It was very nice to see the sky gradually changing colors as I run southwards and by the time I got to UP-Ayala Land Techno Hub the sun’s rays started reaching ground—the Easter sunrise.
The first landmark I passed with this route was the Quezon Memorial—the proud symbol of Quezon City. Nearby are the City Hall and Parks and Wildlife. This also marks the start of Quezon Ave., one of the nicest roads in the Metro.
Upon crossing EDSA I was surprised and a bit disappointed. Surprised that the road was wider, but disappointed because those precious trees lining the road that I really love were gone! These trees have been around much longer than I do and were part of the road’s distinct features, and now they’re gone. Do we always sacrifice nature for progress?
Also because of the road widening the nice sidewalks that Quezon Ave. had were also gone. The road widening is still incomplete so I hope that by the time MMDA is done with the road they’d be generous enough to return those missing sidewalks.
Before leaving Quezon City for the City of Manila you’d come across another landmark, the Mabuhay Rotunda (used to be called Welcome Rotunda or “Rotonda” in Filipino)—a welcoming monument to those entering Quezon City from Manila. It was translated from “Welcome” to “Mabuhay” years ago to promote usage of Filipino. This marks the border between two cities and the start of España Blvd.
España Blvd. is infamous during rainy season because of flooding, and during the dry days this is one of the nicest roads to walk, but not to run. It’s nice to walk here because it was designed to have sidewalks, but unfortunately for running it’s very strenuous on your knees as the sidewalks are very high, wheelchair access is still unheard of in these parts of Manila, not to mention that streets cross this road every few meters (part of Spanish-era urban planning) so running here is like running on hurdles.
University of Santo Tomas (1611), the Philippines’ oldest University is located here and running on its sidewalk is very nice because of the trees, except for the occasional uneven surface. This was probably the best place to run along España.
Further on is Recto and Quiapo. Since it’s Easter there were a lot of people around Quiapo church so it was better just to walk (Long Super-Slow Distance?). After the church is arguably one of the most beautiful bridges that cross Pasig River—Quezon Bridge. Upon crossing the Pasig River you get to reach the “old” Manila—the historical, government, and tourist sites. In a way this part of my LSD became a “tour.” The sites: Metropolitan Theater, Manila Post Office, Liwasang Bonifacio, Intramuros, Manila City Hall, National Museum, Rizal Park, Manila Hotel, Museong Pambata, US Embassy, and Baywalk. These are only some of the sights you can visit within this area alone.
Roxas Blvd. is a popular site for races including the country’s largest in terms of attendance, the Milo Marathon. It used to be a seaside road but due to reclamation it’s now inland starting CCP Complex southwards. Part of this reclamation site is the country’s largest mall, the SM Mall of Asia. Turning right from Roxas Blvd. towards the mall is definitely not fun as there aren’t many trees to shelter you from the blazing sun.
Finally after arriving at the mall grounds I decided pass by the Shrine of Jesus near SMX to see if I can get in later, and then headed off towards Sunset Ave. to complete 27.5K, just before One E-Com Center.
Being an LSD done during Easter this route was really nice because I got to pass by several parishes and churches: Kristong Hari Parish, St. Peter Parish, Sto. Domingo Church, Quiapo Church, Malate Church, and Shrine of Jesus. Being an LSD in general it was very pleasing because of all the sights I passed on this route, the fact that I exceeded my original goal of 25K for this run and was still able to shop around the mall afterwards proves that this was one of the best LSD routes I had.
In the end I didn’t get to visit any of the churches I mentioned above, but I was able to nonetheless in Baclaran Church. The latter was still some distance away but a visit to the church was the best way to cap this Easter adventure.