INSTEAD of spending his money on online games in Internet cafes, 10-year-old Joshua Rain Estaño opted to start saving his allowances in his piggy bank.

This, after a new public park was opened near his house that allowed him to spend his extra time without having to spend money for it.

Diri nalang ko magduwa kay di man ko mobayad ‘nya duol ra sa amo. Karon pa man ko kaduwa og park (I’d rather play here where I don’t have to pay and it is near my house. This is my first time to play in a park),” Estaño told Sun.Star Cebu.

He is thankful that such a facility was put up in the area because it gave him time to bond more with his friends.

In line with the celebration of the 79th Charter Day of Cebu City, the City Government opened the Children’s Park in Barangay Pasil yesterday.

The Children’s Park sits in a lot where the old Pasil Fish Market used to stand.

After it was damaged by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in 2013, the market has been converted into a public park where children from at least five barangays, including Pasil, can play.

Mayor Michael Rama ordered the conversion of the market into a park, which would complement with the nearby San Nicolas Parish Church, the oldest church in the city.

Rama said the area used to be a park in the 1960s, and he wanted to restore it.

It has some 3,000 square meters with swings, slides and monkey bars that kids would enjoy.

Aside from the park, two tennis courts will also be developed in the area, as well as other board games to encourage the children to engage in sports activities.

Aside from the barangay, Rama asked Edward Hayco, chairman of the Cebu City Sports Commission, to co-manage the park since it is close to the City’s Sports Institute.

The project was established at no cost to the City, since it was undertaken through a private-public partnership between the City Government and AS Enriquez Engineering Consultancy, the construction agency of Engr. Kenneth Carmelita Enriquez of the City’s Planning and Development Office (CPDO).

Rama sought the help of Enriquez’s husband, who is a contractor, since no budget was allocated for the project.

In an interview, Enriquez said some private engineers pitched in cash and in kind donations for the project as part of their corporate social responsibility. The City, on the other hand, provided manpower from the Department of Engineering and Public works, among other help.

The contractor recycled used tires from the Department of Public Services and cut it to form several animal figures like birds, swans, chickens, snakes and elephants that adorned the park.

Artists from the CPDO, Cebu Zoo and Building Maintenance Section also painted the remaining structure of the old market that was integrated in the design of the park.

“It was a dream for us before, and now it’s a reality,” she said.

For his part, Rama said he was grateful that the Enriquez couple accepted his request.

“Tragedy offers opportunity. Thus, we must bring back what used to be for the children. This is a work of love. This is the identity of the Cebuano when they were called upon in putting up this project,” he said.