Manila: Luneta Park Revisited [March 2011]

Rizal Monument at Luneta Park


Philippine Landmarks and Heritages
Philippine Leisure and Theme Parks
Travel Philippines

Bagumbayan [New Town] popularly known as Luneta Park and/or Rizal Park is a historical place located in northern end of Roxas Blvd. sitting alongside Manila Bay. Luneta Park was shaped like a small moon [lunette] thus naming it as Luneta. The park’s eventful past started during the 18th Century throughout the Spanish colonial period.

 
Rizal Monument
the most famous sculpture landmark in the Philippines

Luneta Park was formally renamed as Rizal Park, a bronze & granite monument was built and Jose Rizal’s remains stands near the place of his execution by a firing squad of the Spanish army. The national hero’s poem Mi Ultimo Adios [My Last Farewell] is carved on the memorial tablet, uninterruptedly guarded by Kabalyeros de Rizal [Knights of Rizal] or the ceremonial soldiers.

Quirino Grandstand facing Rizal Monument 

The park was also been the site of most significant events in Philippine history:

  • Military Trial and Execution of Jose Rizal on 30th of December 1896 at the age of 35.
  • The heat of Philippine Revolution against the Spaniard’s colonization.
  • The Declaration of the Philippine Independence from American rule on 4th of July 1946.
  • Political rallies of former Presidents Ferdinand Marcos & Corazon Aquino in 1986 leading to EDSA Revolution.
  • Rizal Monument’s imposing of stainless steel pylon over the granite oblelisk by National Artist for Architecture, Juan Nakpil. From the monument’s original height 12.7 meters, it became 30.5 meter high.The purpose of this upright structure is to be used for support for navigational guidance. The remodeling was widely criticized and was removed 2 years later to Baclaran in Roxas Blvd.
  • Philippine Independence Day is celebrate annually, where the highest flagpole [107 meters/351ft] Independence Flagpole stands in front of Rizal Monument.
  • Quirino Grandstand [a replica of Independence Grandstand] was built in 1949 by architect Juan Arellano, where newly-elected Presidents of the Philippines traditionally take oath & deliver inaugural address to the nation.
  • Philippine Centennial celebrations in June 2, 1998. marking a 100 years of Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain.
  • World Youth Day – Closing Mass was held  in January 15, 1995 with more than 5 million participants.
  • Opening and Closing Ceremonies of 2005 Southeast Asian Games.
  • And the recently, Quirino Grandstand hostage crisis led by dismissed PNP officer, senior inspector Rolando Mendoza, an 11-hour hostage drama of Hongkong nationals inside the Hong Thai Travel Services tour bus that had caused multiple injuries and casualties.


 
The park’s various attractions are as follows:
  • Lapu-lapu Monument
  • Diorama of Rizal’s Martyrdom
  • Kilometer Zero [0km] marker of the Philippines, in front of Rizal Monument, serves as the point from which road distances from Manila are measured.
  • Family picnic area
  • The park according to our old folks was designed before for roller-skating, skaters can freely roam around the lagoon and fountain. 
  • Filipino Martial Art [FMA] groups: Eskrimadors or Eskirima practitioner used to hold practice and stickfighting duels around the area.
  • A raised-relief map of the Philippine archipelago besides Taft Avenue , now undergoes a reconstruction after its removal years ago.
  • An open-air auditorium where Concert at the Park was being held.
  • Department of Tourism building
  • National Museum of the Philippines
  • National Library of the Philippines
  • Manila Planetarium
  • Chinese Garden
  • Japanese Garden
  • Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion


Lapu-lapu Monument
Kites of various sizes
Manong Sorbetero

This month of June the whole nation will celebrate Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda or Dr. Jose Rizal’s 150th, sesquicentennial birth anniversary on June 19, 2011. Be part of the 150,000 people to offer flowers at exactly 7:03 a.m. at his monument at Rizal Park.

Luneta Park
Manila Philippines
National Parks and Development Committee

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