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Rizal Park, Manila Overview

Popularly known as Luneta Park or simply Luneta, Rizal Park is Manila’s most iconic urban central park situated in Roxas Blvd in Malate. Especially dedicated to Jose Rizal- the Filipino nationalist and freedom fighter, the highlight of the park is the central Rizal Monument that houses the mortal remains of Jose Rizal. The monument is guarded by a pantheon of sentries and has a flagpole in the middle. Sprawling over 60 acres of land, the urban park is one of the largest green spaces in all of Asia which boasts of ornamental lawns, shining fountains, well groomed flower beds and paved walkways etc.

Considered to be an oasis of greenery in the middle of a cluttered and chaotic city, Rizal Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Metro Manila which is especially thronged in the morning and evening hours, and on public holidays. Formerly known as Bagumbayan at the time of Spanish colonization, the park was later dedicated to the Filipino freedom fighters and the name was changed to Rizal Park. Other than being a popular picnic spot, the park is also used to play games like badminton, chess, Stick fighting, kite flying etc.

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Layout of Rizal Park

Rizal Park is divided into three major sections-
  1. The first section is the Agrifina Circle which is spread over 40 acres on the eastern side. This is situated adjoining the Taft Avenue and it houses the Department of Tourism and the National Museum of Anthropology.
  2. This is followed by the central park sprawling over 54 acres. This extends down to Roxas Boulevard and includes the Burnham Green. 
  3. The last section is the Open Field which sprawls over 25 acres.

Gardens in Rizal Park

  1. Children’s Playground

    Children’s Playground is situated in the southeastern corner of Rizal Park and is the special area designated for kids. You can find children playing games and having picnics here. The area was renovated in 2011.
  2. Chinese Garden

    The Chinese Garden is a delicate replica of a park that will remind you of the ones in Peking. Decorated with a beautiful ornate Chinese style gate, the entrance is carved by two gorgeous dragons. Aside from the stunning tiny lake in the centre, the garden is adorned with pagodas, gazebos, red pillars and tilted green roofs. There are also several mythical figurines that are carved on the walls and pillars here and there.
  3. Japanese Garden

    Done up in traditional Japanese style gardens with lagoons, bridges and flower beds, the Japanese Garden was constructed to strengthen the relations between Japan and the Philippines.
  4. Noli me Tangere Garden

    Noli me Tangere Garden is the most recent garden to be opened in the park. This garden houses the area where Rizal was known to drink water from when he was staying in Germany.
  5. Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion

    This area of Rizal Park was originally a parking space which was later developed into a rainforest like forested area. The garden boasts of varied species of orchids and butterflies. Aside from being the most picturesque spot of the entire lot, the Pavilion is also a favourite venue for weddings and private gatherings.

Other Areas in Rizal Park

  1. Open-Air Auditorium

    Open - Air Auditorium is a very large amphitheatre built inside the Rizal Park. This auditorium is used to feature performances organized by the National Parks Development Committee, Department of Tourism and the National Broadcasting Network, for general entertainment of the public. From plays to dance performances, theatre and musical shows, you can find all kinds of entertainment here.
  2. Quirino Grandstand

    Originally called the grand Independence Grandstand, the Grandstand boasts of a neoclassical style of architecture. It is also the place where President Elpidio Quirino was sworn in. Since then, the new presidents take their oaths here and also deliver their address here. Many political, cultural and religious programmes are also hoisted here.
  3. Parade Grounds and Burnham Green

    Burnham Green and Parade Grounds is the large open space in front of the Quirino Grandstand. The ground is the place where most races, motorcades and parades are held. Spectators gather here in huge numbers to witness these events.
  4. Valor's Hall/Bulwagan ng Kagitingan

    Valor's Hall/Bulwagan ng Kagitingan is situated within the light and sound complex. The perfect ambiance and the amazing decor makes it a perfect venue for gatherings, private parties and even weddings.

Highlights of Rizal Park

  1. The Artist's Haven/ Kanllungan ng Sining is the art gallery that is run by the Arts Association of the Philippines (AAP), in collaboration with the NDPC. It displays several beautiful artworks by modern and contemporary artists.
  2. Another site to behold is the Dancing Ring which is a replica of Joe Datuin's origina Dancing Rings. 
  3. There is also The New Filipino/ Ang Bagong Pinoy which is a sculpture made by rings to demonstrate a Filipino human figure.
  4. Diorama of Rizal's Martyrdom is the spot where Jose Rizal was martyred. The diorama has a set of sculptures of the sentries around the central spot.
  5. Filipino-Korean Soldier Monument is another beautiful monument at the park that displays two Filipino soldiers and a Korean soldier who is aiding them. The monument is a dedication to the Korean War where the Filipino soldiers assisted the Koreans.
  6. The Flower Clock is a gorgeously sculpted flower bed at the park which is a depiction of a large flower clock, the hands of which were sculpted by the famous Filipino Artist, Jose Datuin.
  7. The Gallery of Heroes is a lane flanked by a lagoon which has sculpted busts of several national Filipino heroes. There are two rows- one on the Northern Promenade and the other on the Southern Promenade. 
  8. Kilometre Zero is another prominent point within the premises of Rizal Park. This is the point from where all road distances are measured in Manila.
  9. Musical Dancing Fountain located inside the park is the largest dancing fountain in the country. The central lagoon hosts dancing fountains which rise as high as 88 feet.

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