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Rizal Park, also known as Luneta Park, is a historic urban park located in the heart of Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. It’s one of the most significant landmarks in the country that shouldn’t be missed by every local or foreign tourist who are travelling to Metro Manila.
The park isn’t only a cozy and relaxing place to spend time with family and friends but visiting the 58-hectare site will tour anyone to hundred years of Philippine history from the Spanish period to the present time.
Here are 8 reasons why you should include Rizal Park in your list of must-visit places in the Philippines.
The hundred year old Monument of Rizal is probably the country’s most famous, most visited and most photographed monument.
It houses the remains of the Philippines’ most celebrated national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.
A visit to Rizal Park will give you the chance to honor Rizal and appreciate the national heritage he left to the Filipinos. Being there will also give you the better position to assess whether Torre de Manila should be demolished or not.
2. Visit the actual site where Dr. Jose Rizal was executed.
About a 100 meter distance from Rizal’s monument is the exact location of his execution on December 30, 1896. Life-size statues or dioramas depicting his final moments, including his execution by firing squad can be seen in the site which is named “Ang Pagpapakabayani ni Dr. Jose P. Rizal (The Martydom of Dr. Jose P. Rizal)”. An entrance fee of P20 for adults and P10 for students during day tour is charged to enter the site.
3. The tallest flagpole in the country.
The 150 feet tall “The Independence Flagpole” is the tallest flagpole in the Philippines. It is located just in front of the Monument of Rizal.
4. Stand beside the starting point of all distances in the Philippines.
Just across the Independence Flagpole (going to Quirino Grandstand) is the marble marker Kilometer Zero (KM 0). It is the point of origin for measuring the distance to all provinces and cities in the Philippines.
5. Pay a tribute to the brave Filipinos in the Gallery of Heroes.
The Gallery of Heroes is composed of 2 rows of bust sculpture monuments of Filipino heroes from the different parts of the country, such as Juan Sumuroy of Samar, Aman Dangat of Batanes, Marcelo H. Del Pilar of Bulacan, Gregorio Aglipay of Ilocos Norte, and Sultan Kudarat of Cotabato. The 2 rows surround the Central Lagoon, where the Musical Dancing Fountain is installed.
6. Remember the martyrdom of GOMBURZA.
Before Rizal was executed in Luneta (Bagumbayan) in 1896, the place was already a famous site for executing Filipinos who resist against the Spanish government. The execution of Filipino priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora (popularly known as the GomBurZa) by garrote on February 17, 1872 was among the events that stirred the earliest Philippine revolution against the Spaniards. Jose Rizal has even dedicated his second novel, El Filibusterismo, to the memory of GOMBURZA. A marker of their actual execution site can be found just a few steps away from Rizal’s execution site.
7. Take a picture with this gigantic statue of Lapu-Lapu.
The forty-foot statue of Lapu-Lapu or the “Statue of the Sentinel of Freedom” erected at Teodoro F. Valencia Circle in Rizal Park was a gift by the Korean Freedom League to honor the memory of freedom-loving Filipinos who helped them during the Korean War in the early 1950s. Lapu-Lapu is best known as the hero of the Battle of Mactan (April 27, 1521) who stopped the invasion of Magellan in Cebu. He is considered as the first Filipino national hero who resisted the Spanish conquest.
8. Visualize the Philippine archipelago with this giant raised-relief map.
The Relief map of the Philippines is a giant raised-relief map of the country situated in the middle of a small man-made lake. The map includes the Scarborough Shoal, Kalayaan, and eastern part of Sabah. It is the first attraction that visitors will spot when they enter Rizal Park from Taft Avenue.