“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” – Lily Tomlin
Hakuna Matata. No worries. Those two words probably best describe how the people at Freedom Park seemed like. If you are from Los Banos (or perhaps studied in UP Los Banos), you are probably very familiar with the place and has been there more times that a person can count. The UPLB Freedom Park has plenty of attractions. The crowd favorite is the Baker Field – a vast grass heaven for the athletic. The Baker Field is divided into two, the Upper Field and the Lower Field. Other attractions at the Freedom Park include the Baker Hall, the D.L. Umali Hall, the Fertility Tree, the UPLB Carillon, the Student Union building, and a very small Thai Temple.
It was 4:30 pm and it wasn’t so hot. A lot of people were enjoying the fine weather. I went around the most populous areas to observe the demographics. Age-wise, there were people of all ages – from newborns to the chronologically gifted. With the International Rice Research Institute a few minutes away, there were plenty of people from different races (including Americans, Indians, Japanese, British, Nigerians, Indonesians, Thai, Vietnamese, etc.). There are about the same number of boys and girls. Homosexuals were also present. Majority of the cars parked did not have UPLB stickers, indicative that they are not from the area. I asked five random people and true enough, only 2 out of 5 were from UPLB (although, 3 out of the 5 were from Los Banos). The people who visit the park come from different social classes (from vendors to people riding really REALLY expensive bikes). The people at the park may be very diverse, but what they all have in common is the purpose of their visit – to unwind.
I started walking from the UPLB Carillon, a tall bell tower found at the lower part of the park. At the base of the tower, there were a few kids running around. I also saw a couple making out. As I reached the Lower field, I saw a group of kids playing Chinese garter (as in: ten-twenty-thirty-forty-fifty-sixtyseventyeightyninety-one hundred?). There were plenty of people resting under the canopy of the Fertility Tree. One side of the tree was surrounded by families, joggers and bikers resting away from the sun. The shadier part, however, was surrounded by couples dating or just “hanging out” under the shade (it’s not called the Fertility Tree for no reason).
At the Lower field, there were 3 groups playing football. The first group consists of a mixture of foreigners and Filipinos; the second group consists of Koreans (also with their own Korean cheer squad); and the last group was a group of Filipino teens.
On the side of the field, there was also a group of teens playing volleyball. The people at the bleachers weren’t really watching the football games. Most of the people at the bleachers were couples and some were groups of friends. In addition, scattered around the Lower Field are groups of families, friends, or just individuals enjoying and relaxing at the field.
As I moved to the Upper field, I noticed that there are more people at the Upper field, but in smaller groups. At the Upper field, there were groups playing Frisbee, softball, badminton, kickball, etc. There were also some people (mostly children) flying kites. People were doing all sorts of leisurely activities: there was a group of teenagers singing and playing the guitar; there were groups of students studying; there was a group practicing street jazz ; some were just lying down, taking a nap, etc. Also, there are noticeably more pets at the Upper field than the Lower field. There were plenty of people taking pictures which is why it did not seem so uncanny that I was also taking pictures. The Upper field seemed more family-friendly than the Lower field.
some kids flying a kite
Around the field, there were plenty of joggers – from toddlers ‘running’ with their parents to seniors trying to get some exercise. Bikers were also rampant. Mountain bikers zoom around the park while BMX bikers would just stay near Baker Hall. I came across a guy doing “bike trials”. I asked him if he could do some stunts while I take videos and he happily complied. Here’s the video of the guy doing bike trials:
Generally, the people at the park were friendly and seemed very relax. All the people I ‘interviewed’ and took pictures/videos of were strangers. They were all very approachable and very curious. Maybe it has something to do with the atmosphere – the fine weather, the lax environment, and the general disposition of all the people at the park. Stress seemed far away from the thoughts of the people. The people at the park seemed to have mastered the “art of pausing”.
extremely energetic Jack Russell
It was already dark when I left the park. There were still plenty of people. I realized that somewhere along the way, the laidback attitude got to me and I was able to laze around. Freedom Park provides people a venue to be free from the hustle and bustle of daily life. It’s a place where people get away and enjoy some quality time with family, friends, or even alone! Everyone there seems to have the same motto: take life easy – it’s their problem-free philosophy!
2 girls chasing a toy helicopter
– Lara Lopez 102290, SA 21-Q