Metro Manila · Rizal Park
A popular open park located right smack in the middle of the Philippine capital, Rizal Park is also known to both locals and tourists as Luneta – a Spanish term that translates to lunette or crescent.
The park, however, is not shaped as a crescent but is a rectangle that is around 100 by 300 meters with semicircles on each end. The name Luneta came about due to the building of the Paseo de la Luneta after the fortification. It is located near the famous heritage site Intramuros and remains a place for family picnics – the way it has always been used since the Spanish Colonial Era.
Since the park is located along Manila Bay, it has been witness to many of the country’s most significant moments. This includes the execution of José Rizal in 1896, the Declaration of Philippine Independence from the United States in 1946, and a number of political protests during the time of Ferdinand Marcos and his successor Corazon Aquino.
The place where Luneta now stands was called Bagumbayan –the very place where Rizal was executed for causing political unrest in the then Spanish colony.
The park, with Rizal’s granite and bronze statue in the middle, is guarded by the Knights of Rizal. What is not known to many is that the park does not only function as the home of Rizal’s statue but also of a mausoleum that houses the remains of the national hero.
In the year 2012, Rizal Park was equipped with 30 HD CCTV cameras to ensure that the place is as safe as it should be. Years ago, when the park was not yet as well-lit as it is today, not many people strolled around the area at night because it was frequented by pickpockets. During daytime however, the park is a lively place especially during weekends.
Rizal Park also serves as the home to Philippine martial arts groups. On Sundays, Eskrima practitioners show their skills in the traditional Philippine stick fighting.
Location And How To Get There
The park is located in the northern part of Roxas Boulevard, bounded by Taft, Kalaw, and Padre Burgos Drive in the east. To its west is the Manila Bay. From Monumento, you can take the yellow line of the LRT (LRT-1) going to Taft. You should stop at UN station. You can also ride a jeepney going to Taft and go down at Kalaw.
Guide for Megacitizens
The streets surrounding the park are quite busy. Some jeepneys pass by the place so it is a good idea for Megacitizens wanting to see the park to ride one of these. Taking a cab is advisable if you come from outside Manila City. In that case we recommend to visit Luneta only on a quiet weekend, considering that the traffic in Manila can virtually turn streets and expressways into car parks.
Things To Do
- Visiting the Rizal Park means you are already near the ornate Chinese Garden where one can experience Old Peking. One can see pagodas here as well as gazebos on a small lake.
- If you are lucky, you can watch a concert at the park where local and foreign artists perform. This park activity is sponsored by the National Parks Development Committee.
- Going to where the Philippine hero was actually martyred is also a great idea while at the park. The diorama is located in the northern part of the park. For those who are visiting the place in the evening, you can wait for the multimedia dramatization of Rizal’s last minutes.
- Picnics at the park are still popular today. Bring lunch over and a picnic blanket and you are all set.
- The Rizal Park also houses many other attractions including the Agrifina Circle, the National Museum of the Filipino People, the Relief Map of the Philippines on a small lake showing the islands, the Japanese Gardens, the National Library of the Philippines, the Manila Planetarium, the Monument of Lapu-Lapu, Kilometer Zero, and the Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavillion.
Thousands of Filipinos took to the streets on Monday, August 26, to protest against the misuse of tax money and for the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), better known as 'Pork Barrel Fund'.