|Balara Filters Park
|Quezon City, Philippines
|60 hectares (600,000 m2)
|1953 (Metropolitan Water District)
2003 (Manila Water)
Quezon City Parks Development and Administration Department
|Public transit access
The Balara Filters Park is a 60-hectare (150-acre) park located in the Diliman village of Pansol in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, adjacent to the University of the Philippines Diliman main campus. It is bounded by Katipunan Avenue on the west, Capitol Hills Golf and Country Club on the north, and the upscale, gated village of La Vista along its south and east.
The park is one of the oldest recreation areas in Quezon City having been first opened to the public in 1953. It occupies part of the old Balara Filtration Plant complex, one of the main treatment facilities for water coming from the La Mesa Dam. The park is administered by the Manila Water company in partnership with the Quezon City Parks Development and Administration Department.
The park was named after its location in the Balara filters plant, which was then situated in the old barrio of Matandáng Balará. During Spanish colonial times, the area formed part of the friar estate known as Hacienda de Dilimán owned by the Society of Jesus located between the pueblos of Caloocan and Mariquina. After the Spanish–American War, the Dilimán estate was acquired by the wealthy Tuason family, including the adjacent Hacienda de Santa Mesa and Hacienda de Mariquina. Ownership of the estate was ceded to the Philippine Commonwealth government in the late 1930s, after the area was selected as a new national capital to replace Manila.
The first Balara Filtration Plant was constructed in 1938 by the Metropolitan Water District as part of Manila's water system which included the Ipo Dam, the Novaliches Reservoir, and the San Juan Reservoir.
During World War II, the Balara Filters was the location of a skirmish between the Kobayashi Force under the Shimbu Group of Gen. Shizuo Yokoyama. On February 4, 1945, Gen. Kobayashi captured the facility before American forces arrived and planned to sabotage the water filtration plant. However the troops of the 1st Cavalry Division, along with air support from the Marine Aircraft Group 24 and 32 of the Marine Air Wing 1, were able to neutralize the Japanese troops on February 7. A Japanese counterattack was attempted once more on the Balara Station on February 11, but the saboteurs were neutralized after they were able to destroy one of the valves.
Amenities such as the rest house and swimming pools were then added between 1949 and 1959 to serve the water district's employees. These facilities were opened to the public in 1953 and instantly became a popular weekend destination for Manileños until the 1970s. The Metropolitan Water District was renamed the National Waterworks and Sewerage System (NAWASA) in 1955, and by 1971 was replaced by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).
The complex was closed off to the public during much of the Ferdinand Marcos Era. In 1997, after the MWSS was privatised, the site was turned over to Manila Water which began restoration works on plant facilities. The park was reopened in 2003 under then-Quezon City mayor Feliciano Belmonte.
The park is a collection of Art Deco buildings and natural landscapes centered around the Balara water reservoir and two filtration plants. It has a variety of features including: