Rizal Park (also Luneta Park or colloquially Luneta; Filipino: Liwasang Rizal), is an historical urban park located along Roxas Boulevard, City of Manila, Philippines, adjacent to the old walled city of Intramuros. Since the Spanish Colonial Era, the Park has been a favourite leisure spot, and is frequented on Sundays and national holidays. It is one of the major tourist attractions of the City of Manila. Situated by Manila Bay, Luneta is also an important site in Philippine history. The execution of national hero Dr. José Rizal on December 30, 1896, sparked the 1898 Philippine Revolution against the Kingdom of Spain. The area was officially renamed Rizal Park in his honour, and the monument enshrining his remains serves as the symbolic focal point of the Park. The Declaration of Philippine Independence from the American Occupation was held at the Park on July 4, 1946 as were later political rallies including those of Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino in 1986 that culminated in the EDSA Revolution.
Rizal Park's history began in 1820 when the Paseo de Luneta was completed just south of the walls of Manila on a marshy patch of land next to the beach during the Spanish rule. Prior to the park, the marshy land was the location of a small town called Nuevo Barrio (New Town or Bagumbayan in Tagalog language) that dates back to 1601. The town and its churches, being close to the walled city, were strategically used as cover by the British during their attack. They were cleared by the British during their short rule from 1762 to 1764. The area later became known as Bagumbayan Field where the Cuartel la Luneta (Luneta Barracks), a Spanish Military Hospital (which was destroyed by one of the earthquakes of Manila), and a moat-surrounded outwork of the walled city of Manila, known as the Luneta (lunette) because of its crescent shape.
American Colonial Period
The bronze-and-granite Rizal monument is among the most famous sculptural landmarks in the country. It is almost protocol for visiting dignitaries to lay a wreath at the monument. Located on the monument is not merely the statue of the national hero, but also his remains.
The park is home to various Kali/Eskrima/Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) groups. Every morning, especially on Sundays, Eskrimadors, or Eskrima practitioners can be seen at the Luneta. Even up to the present, stickfighting duels are still very common, albeit in a friendly atmosphere. Various physical fitness groups doing aerobics at the park are also present on weekends.
Points of interest
Children's Playground, the section of the park built for kids, is located at the southeastern corner of the Rizal Park. The playground was also renovated in 2011.
Chinese Garden. An ornate Chinese-style gate, carved with swirling dragons, leads you into this whimsical garden which looks like it has been transported from old Peking. Along the lagoon constructed to simulate a small lake, are pagodas and gazebos that are set off by red pillars and green-tiled roofs and decorated with a profusion of mythical figures.
Concert at the Park at the Rizal Park Open-Air Auditorium are performances provided for free to the general public by the National Parks Development Committee, Department of Tourism and the National Broadcasting Network. Free entertainment are also provided elsewhere in the park. Featured shows are a mix of performances from dance, theatre, to musical performances by local and foreign artists.
Inside the Chinese Garden.
Diorama of Rizal's Martyrdom. On an area north of Rizal monument stands a set of statues depicting Rizal's execution, situated on the spot where he was actually martyred, contrary to popular belief that the monument is the spot where he was executed. In the evenings, a Light & Sound presentation titled "The Martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal", features a multimedia dramatization of the last poignant minutes of the life of the national hero.