Entrance to the Nayong Pilipino

I was in fourth grade when I first visited the Nayong Pilipino. I lived with my aunt in Quezon City and went to school at the Mater Carmeli School on D. Tuazon, so the Nayong Pilipino seemed to be a far-away place, several hours trip on the big school bus. Our itinerary was the Planetarium at the Rizal Park, The Rizal house in Calamba, Laguna, and the Nayong Pilipino. There are photos of that trip somewhere my classmate Letty de Guia-Elgincolin’s baul, which I hope she will unearth soon.

Mural by the entrance to the park

Now that we are back in my father’s house the Nayong Pilipino is a 20 minute brisk walk away, and it is where Sam goes to jog in an attempt to lose some unwanted kilos. We took Maia for a walk there a couple of years back but what we saw of the Nayong Pilipino was far from what I remember in my grade school days.

The promise—now broken as it has lost its memory.
Decoding a Promise Forgotten
NAYONG PILIPINO shall enshrine the rich National Heritage of the Filipino through the authentic depiction of customs and traditions of natural and historical legacies.

NAYONG PILIPINO shall steadily develop more and better facilities and services, provide for the effective maintenance of its present edifices as well as continue to commission and/or undertake researches and studies that contribute to the enrichment of national heritage and national indentity.

The Mayon Volcano, not for climbers
Cagsawa in 2008

The Visayas and Mindanao regions have disappeared, overgrown with untended trees and weeds and fenced off to avert accidents to park goers. What is left of it has become a airsoft war games venue, and a few square meters of grass. The replica of the Mayon Volcano still stands, with signs to the four winds that are ignored by children and not-so-grownups.

The battle of Tirad Pass, then and now

I suppose there is nothing to be done, since the “only cultural park in the country” and what was once known as “the Philippines in miniature”, is closing to give way to the international airport’s expansion. I just find it sad that this place that we knew to be quite special in our childhood has gone to ruin and will soon be gone.

Vigan House, then and now
Vigan House as it was 2 years ago (inset) and as it is now.

There is a new Nayong Pilipino at the Expo Filipino in Angeles, Pampanga, but based on the photos and comments of those who have been there, it doesn’t do justice to the original theme park.

The Ifugao Village in 2006
The Ifugao Village in 2006 (above) and in 2008 (below)
The Ifugao Village in 2008
The Ifugao Village in 2008

There is also another one to be built along Macapagal Avenue by Manila Bay (or what’s left of it after the reclamation) but if it goes the way of the one in Clark, it’s going to be a disappointing future for field trips for this and later generations of school children.

Empty picnic grounds

These photos were taken last Sunday, February 10, 2008. The photos in comparison were taken exactly two years ago. More photos of the Nayong Pilipino’s slow death may be found here.

The old Kamayan Restaurant viewed from the footbridge on the lagoon

The sun has set on the Nayong Pilipino. It will die under bulldozers, its gardens to be buried under tarmac, trees decades old fallen to chainsaws. There is no decent way to say goodbye to the Nayong Pilipino except to lament her destruction by the vehicles of progress and they who always claim that the new is always better.

The sun sets on the Nayong Pilipino (Pasay)

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46 thoughts on “The sun sets on the Nayong Pilipino (Pasay)

  1. Hi Bambit,

    First time to comment here.  It is indeed sad that such a park is going to be a mere memory soon.  It’s another part of our heritage to be lost to future generations. 

    I don’t know why we, as a people, can’t do a better job of preserving our heritage?  We seem to have a fascination and obsession for what is "new" and disrespect and contempt for the "old".  We see it in the way we treat historical sites, old buildings, street names, etc.  Awful. 

  2. i pity the state of nayong pilipino… i don’t remember ever been to this place though.
    i think the best way we can do to help preserve the place is to include it on the heritage conversation program of the philippines.

    funny lagi ang bawal umakyat sa bulkan… =)

  3. @ Mari – sis I think the only reason why I haven’t climbed the Mayon (then and now) is because I’m afraid of heights 😀

    @ Panaderos – I particularly don’t like the way streets have been renamed, from Herran to Pedro Gil, Buendia to Gil Puyat, Pasay Road to Arnaiz, Pasong Tamo to Don Chino Roces — it’s confusing as well because jeepneys that ply the J.P Rizal rounte all say Herran and dispatchers still shout "aaaahhhBwendya, Bwendya!"

    @ daddynator – you’ve probably never been to the Nayong Pilipino — I would have remembered if you did, because I probably would have taken your there myself if I could have, sayang no? And I suppose it’s too late for the Nayong Pilipino now to be included in the Heritage Conservation List, there’s almost nothing left to conserve…

  4. My first time here. 

    I’ve never been inside the Nayong Pilipino, but I saw some of it when I looked out from the widow of the plane when in landed in Manila.   That was a decade ago and I don’t see it now in my recent trips to Manila.

  5. I am sad to hear the unfortunate fate of Nayong Pilipino. When I was there in 1975 and took the photographs you have linked to, I was very impressed and thought it was a fascinating place. There may never be an adequate replacement for it. Most unfortunate. For those who might go searching on the Smugmug site for other photos of the Philippines, there are some, but I have changed to putting my photos on Flickr. Smugmug has its good points, but the site seems to discourage interaction between members. I like Flickr much better, and I have even more Philippines photos on Flickr than I do on Smugmug. There are also photos of Japan. The URL for my Flickr pages are http://www.flickr.com/photos/edgarjlaw
    That will take you to a page marked edgarjlaw’s photos. Click on the small word "sets" below that and it will take you to the various groups I photos I have on flickr. Except for a set of Philippines postcards, most of the Philippines photo sets are toward the bottom, because they are the first ones I uploaded to Flickr.

  6. Hello Edgar,

    Thank you very much for visiting my blog, and for leaving your comments. We who know the Nayong Pilipino as you did in the 70s value your photographs–they are what is left of a lot of childhood memories, not only of a unique place in our country but of the experiences we share of the Nayong Pilipino. Thank you for sharing the pictures.

  7. Hello Lera,

    Yes, the Nayong Pilipino is still open, madalas nga syang gamitin as exercise area ng mga joggers and runners. Meron din rent-a-bike/trike area, meron din badminton/volleyball area dun sa dating parking lot. We hope it stays this way because this is also the only place within the Pasay/Paranaque area where people can exercise without getting carbon monoxide poisoning from jogging on the sidewalks on the busy streets.

    Thanks for the visit!

  8. Hi Lazarus,

    You’re right, when I last landed at the centennial airport I did not see the Nayong Pilipino, or what’s left of it. I did see the Philippine Village Hotel (now closed, of course), but since most of the features of the Nayon that were the landmarks—like the mosque and the chocolate hills—that could be seen even from afar are now gone.

  9. One of the problems with my Nayong Pilipino photos was that the color in prints I scanned for Flickr was not as good as it was when the prints were new. The prints had become yellowed. Since the time when I created the Nayong Pilipino set, I have started using a photo processing program. After I commented here about my Flickr photos, I realized that I could use the photo processing program to improve the color on the Nayong Pilipino shots. I have done that and have replaced the old images with the processed images. Since the photos an negatives are more than 30 years old, I doubt that the color will ever be exactly correct. However, I think the new versions are a little better.

  10. ive never been to nayong pilipino even some tym………..thats y, im here having reserch 2 have such ideas bwt this interesting place in pasay! bt i reli wanted to be here…. bt1 i guesss i dnt know wats the exact loca.? can u askkkkk hw ill be going to this place?
    tnx a lot!
    frm pasay edsa proper?
    going to its loc? hw?

  11. Hello Hazel,

    You can get to the Nayong Pilipino by taking any bus southbound on EDSA that says MIA on the signboard. The nice thing about buses that go to the MIA/Nayong Pilipino is there are quite a few luxury buses, such as the Precious Grace, Gasat, Mayamy and Jayross Lucky 7. Take any of these and you will get to the Nayong Pilipino, which is just before the Centennial Airport. Just tell the conductor that you’re going to the Nayong Pilipino. The conductor will let you off at the right stop if you let him know it’s where you’re going.

    Have fun!

  12. I really want to go to Nayong Pilipino maybe by Tuesday. May I ask
    how much will be I spending?. What is the time frame? are food allowed? From the entrance do I have to take another ride to get in there? Is there any entrance fee for babies

    Thank you.

  13. MJ if you’re asking me about going to the Nayong Pilipino in Clark, I can’t help you because I’ve never been there. You’d be better off checking out their website at http://www.nayonsaclark.com/

    However if you mean the original Nayong Pilipino which is located near the Centennial Airport beside the dead Philippine Village hotel, no you don’t need any entrance fees because there isn’t any. The old Nayong Pilipino charges no entrance fees to morning joggers and park goers, mainly because there is nothing to see anymore and nothing to maintain. The place still has some of its old trees and walkways and is a good place to do aerobics in the morning, or just to have your kids run around the grass late in the afternoons. There’s badminton and volleyball courts for rent as well. As of this week the bike rentals are no longer there so I guess now it’s just a matter of weeks before it really closes down.

  14. Hi its me again. You mean nothing interesting views to see there anymore just the green grass & trees & walkways?

  15. Hello MJ,

    I don’t think you read my post very well. I wrote about the demise —the death—of the Nayong Pilipino. If you look at the pictures and the links to the old photos of the Nayong you will see that it is moribund, dying almost exitnct. Maybe your internet connection is slow and the pictures don’t load right away, but if you wait long enough you will see that the Nayong Pilipino is not as it was during its heyday.

    So, no, as you say “nothing interesting views to see there anymore”

    Thanks for dropping by.

  16. Hello, I got here through Edgar’s photo collection on Nayong Pilipino on Flickr. I heard about it being demolished and felt sad about it but more sad when I saw your photos and read your blog. I’ve only been to Nayong Pilipino twice, first in 1992 and in 2002, exactly 10 years gap. It was pretty in the 1992 and changed a bit in 2002. The only difference was my 7 year old son was with me during my second visit. It was fun and yes I let him climb Mt.Mayon. You see it has special relevance to us as my parents were from Albay but we’ve never climbed up that Volcano for real. We took lots of photos and we watched some airplanes land and took off the runway just beside the park. Last year, my son wanted to go there again but we were discouraged by relatives so we went to Rizal Park instead. I am proud to say that my son is crazy about the Philippines, that is good I hope he still see the positive side of the country of his ancestors. I am just thankful I am one of the lucky ones that was able to enjoy and appreciate the park at the primetime of its life.

  17. I last visited this place in 1991 with my nephews and nieces who lived in Pilderia at the time and poor uncle Kano has to pay a fee while they slipped through holes in the fence as this was their playground? The place was in shambles then can only imagine how trashed it is by now the aquariums were all broke and they has tried to pickle the fish in jars? Maybe the squatters have since used them for Bagoong? I had a look in the volcano which no longer smokes due to being filled with rubbish? I had at one time stayed in the Philippine Village Hotel prior to PEOPLE POWER and was amazed to see that squatters had moved in and were using candles and the parking lot was overgrown in weeds? It was a nice place at one time. To me it is sad as the first time I ever visited Manila was in 1973 and it was a pleasant experience but the last time I was there in 91 I swore I would never return thus ending my 20+ years of living and working there, If moreFilipinos who live abroad took my attitude just maybe the government might try to improve things

  18. Nakakalungkot naman. I still remember playing hide ‘n seek with my cousins there when we were young pa.. pero I havent been there n ages. I went there with my bf last year and it was like being in a different world.. like seeing a warzone or yon katatapos lang ma-tornado. ibang-iba talaga nuon. bakit kaya pinabayaan ng gobyerno ang nayong Pilipino.. kahit man lang sana nakuha ng NAIA yong karamihan ng area sana man lang ginawa na lang simpleng park un natira para namn di ganun.. mukhang ghost park na. napaka apathetic naman ng mga me gawa nun. Yion lang.. kakasama lang loob.

  19. hello thin, nakakalungkot nga and warzone is the correct word — the nayong pilipino or what’s left of it is now merely a venue for airsoft wargames. sayang. sayang na sayang.

  20. To me it is a shining example of the way things are in the Philippines today perhaps if it degrades further someone can put up a sign representing Payatas? The one at Clark will go belly up also……….

  21. Don, the Nayong Pilipino is doomed by way of Executive Order No. 11

    President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has issued Executive Order No. 11 closing down the Nayong Pilipino and authorizing the transfer of 8.6 hectares of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation property in Pasay City to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA).

    This was in 2002. That the Nayong Pilipino, what’s left of it anyway, still exists today may be a testament to ningas kugon (I’m sure with your knowledge of Pinoy characteristics you know what that is). Then again maybe someone has decided that the trees can stay. I sure hope so.

  22. A bit of good news though: EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 615


    WHEREAS, under Executive Order No. 111 dated 26 June 2002, the President of the Philippines directed, among others, the closure and cessation of the park operations of Nayong Pilipino Cultural Park pending its redevelopment, except for purposes of overseeing, maintaining and preserving the assets of the park and of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF);

    WHEREAS, under Executive Order No. 135 dated 21 October 2002, the President of teh Philippines directed NPF to look for an alternative site for a new Nayong Pilipino Cultural Park;

    WHEREAS, the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) is the registered owner of a 15-hectare parcel of land located at the Central Business Park-I Island B & C along the ASEAN Avenue, inland Channel and Bay Boulevard in the Manila Bay Reclamation Area in Parañaque (PRA Property);

    WHEREAS, the NPF has identified the PRA property as an appropriate site for its new Cultural Park;

    WHEREAS, the Nayong Pilipino and the PRA executed a Memorandum of Agreement relative to the exchange of their respective properties covering fifteen (15) hectares each in Pasay City and Parañaque City;

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby order:

    1. The Nayong Pilipino Cultural Park shall transfer to the 15-hectare PRA Property in Parañaque City.
    2. The Nayong Pilipino Foundation shall transfer to PRA its 15 hectares property in Pasay City.
    3. The Register of Deeds for Parañaque and Pasay Cities shall effect the immediate transfer of titles to implement this Order.
    4. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

    DONE in the City of Manila, this 2nd day of April, in the year of our Lord, Two Thousand and Seven.


  23. Sadly we here in the US have elected a Ningas Kugon as our leader much like the series of so called leaders the Philippines has had to endure the past two decades

  24. I knew nothing about your website until you asked permission to use one of my photos from Webshots. Yes, you may use that pic as well as the other one from Nayon Pilipino.

    After reading the comments on this page, this occurred to me: I am surprised at the number of Filipinos who either (a) have never been to Nayon Pilipino or (b) have not gone in decades/”ages”. With the people in the area visiting so rarely, it is no wonder that the government is changing it’s design and usage. If you wanted it kept, then more people should have visited. I don’t know if it is too late for that or not.

    At the same time, I feel sad that it is fading away. My wife (then fiancee) and I enjoyed some beautiful times there.

  25. OMG! I’ve been here in nayong Pilipino when I was maybe in grade 1 or 2 (7 or 8 yrs old) .. and right now I am already 20 yrs old.. more than a decade!

    While reading the whole post I was just thinking if only I can bring back my memories..

    nakakalungkot isipin na a place where we had fun with our classmates when we have still “PURE HEARTS” will be gone. 🙁
    Iniisip ko pa nung way back grade school ako..

    I’ve been able to play at the top of chocolate hills, I’ve been able to ran from the bridge there…field trip namin under Dominican College San Juan.. naalala ko pa, sabi ko nun, “waahh! ang sakit na ng paa ko kakalakad!” tapos dito rin kami nag-lunch… tapos nakakatuwa pa, na-try ko rin makasakay ng boat here… maybe Php30 lang per head nun..

    just thinking about it.. sana tinry ko again magpunta dito when I was still in highschool or even 3 to 5 yrs ago, before HS graduation or College freshmen pa ko.. kasi, wala man lang akong any proof that I was been there, in that WONDERFUL PLACE…

    although thankful ako and lucky that I’ve been there, nalulungkot ako kasi ang tagal na nun.. once in my lifetime ko lang natry puntahan siya.. and I think, I REALLY enjoyed there in my childhood days…

    siguro mas magiging masaya if when I was in 15-19 yrs ols, I visited this place with my friends.. SAYANG!

    If only Filipinos know what to PRESERVE and what to DESTROY…
    naalala ko pa, if i’m not mistaken, may mosque pa rito right? tapos yun chocolate hills rin, then syempre un rice terraces and mayon volcano..
    Imagine, a tourist may it be a filipino or not, will experience seeing Philippine Tourist spots kahit miniatures lang, ang laking way to uplift our wonderful country…

    SAD talaga ako… :'(

  26. Hello Anne, You’re right nakakalungkot nga. Tulad ng maraming bagay na isang beses lang natin nagawa, and then later on nadiscover nalang natin na di na pala pwedeng gawin ulit kasi wala na siya.

    isa ang Nayong Pilipino na na-take for granted ng karamihan at ng gobyerno.

    Sayang. Sayang talaga.

  27. Dont worry if ERAP gets elected it will be a new deal? Maybe they can have an area to showcase Payatas?

  28. i just want to know if Nayong Pilipino is still open for tourists today?my family is planning an outing there.

  29. Hi Josephine,

    Yes the Nayong Pilipino is still open for tourists. However the only remaining feature is the Mayon Volcano. All the other areas in the interior in the photos above are no longer accessible. It’s still a great place for quick picnics, volleyball or badminton games and biking, though. And of course there is no entrance fee anymore, although i do think they charge a minimal fee for vehicle parking.

    1. Hi Ed, last time I was there some fellows were fishing by the smaller pond in the Bicol Region, but I didn’t get to see what they caught. The bigger lake may still be accessible to visitors from the Mayon Volcano side, but it’s so full of water lilies not sure if there’s anything there to catch.

  30. Well, sad to say may mga taong tulad ni GMA at Planas na walang respeto sa ating kultura at pamanang lahi kaya nangyari ito. Pero I have heard, may plans to revive this park very soon ang I’m goign to pray for that.
    I owe Nayon a lot, I used to work there as a photographer and that opened the way to may stardom on my field, so to speak….

  31. Joy it looks like we have good news 🙂 We hope, we sincerely hope that it is long-term good news.

    p.s. the guards say the lagoon is being cleaned up 🙂

  32. Dear Bambit,

    May we ask if Nayong Pilipino is still open for public. Please advise where can we check the schedule of activities and opening and closing hours of the park..

    Thanks in advance!

  33. nice photos imbeded with old memories when my fam and a kid neighbor went there way back 2006, Sadly my recorded vids from phone(alcatel otc701) got corrupted when a virus smashed my HD. thanks for upload.. 😉

  34. 😉 is nayong pilipino still open and wat time do u actually close every weekdays and weekends? i haven’t been there for so long since i was a child so i really miz that place specially the replika of bulkang mayon ? hope for ur immediate response coz me and my family are planning to go there tomorrow ryt after ofis hours..so pls do response now,,tenx! 😉

  35. spent most of my childhood days here!!! i miss nayong pilipino so much….

    from the entrance gate, to the jeepneys and kind manong drivers who would be ur travel guide.

    i miss the nipa hut, the museums, mosque, the mayon volcano, magellan’s cross, lagoon (where i even got the chance to ride and operate a banca),the playground, aviary as well as watching cultural dances, looking at the miniature of rice terraces, airport runway and many more..

    wish that our people have the guts to preserve the beauty of this amusement park, how i wish it could go back to its previous state,, so i would have the chance to share it to my future children…. 🙂

  36. Good evening Sir…we’re planning ho kasi to have an educational tour @ NP this coming Saturday,May 20,2012…cno ho ba ang pwede nming ma-contact na personnel?salamat po.

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