Monday, September 27, 2010

Rizal Park by day [My World-Tuesday]

Last month, I showed you  Luneta by Night.  I went back to see Luneta (or Rizal Park) at daylight on August 21st, two days before the ill-fated hostage crisis just across the Rizal monument on August 23rd.  I wanted to post these photos right after the tragic event but it was too painful and humiliating.  

The dismissed police officer who hijacked the tourist bus full of Hong Kong tourists probably thought of the symbolism of this park to our history when he asked the bus driver to stop at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park.  Or he was just crazy and desperate and the open grounds of the park was convenient for his evil plan.

This place was once called Bagumbayan, a marshy land facing the beach which is now Roxas Boulevard.  Bagumbayan Park gracefully hosted flirtations among the Manila elite as well as witnessed the deaths of its disloyal citizenry with indifference. For 74 years, the Spanish used this park as an execution ground for "rebels and mutineers". Between 1823 and 1897,  158 patriots and martyrs were felled on the square by Spanish infantrymen, including the 3 priests, Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora.  Jose Rizal was executed here by firing squad on 1896, and it is said that the blood they shed served as a "spiritual fertilizer which invigorated the Filipino people's yearning for liberty". (Source:  National Parks Development Committee)

It was the Americans who set the motions of building a memorial to honor Dr. Rizal.  The bronze figure is the work of Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling.  It was completed in 1913 and thereafter, Rizal's bones from the Paco Cemetery, where he was secretly buried right after his execution, were transferred to this monument.  Inscribed on Rizal monument:   
"I want to show to those who deprive people the right to love of country, that when we know how to sacrifice ourselves for our duties and convictions, death does not matter if one dies for those one loves – for his country and for others dear to him." 
The Rizal Diorama (or the Light & Sound Tableau on the Life and Martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal) was one of the highlights of my last visit to the park.  More about the diorama here.

There is a motorized train for those who are not fond of walking.  It's a 48-hectare park, if you're determined to walk, wear comfortable shoes.

There are a lot to see and experience here.  This the entrance to the Chinese Garden.  There is also a Japanese Garden, the National Historical Institute, National Library, Planetarium, Central Lagoon, Orchidarium (it was under renovation), Butterfly Pavilion, National Museum, a chess plaza, and a lot more.  There are concerts and performances at the open-air auditorium.

Ordinary folks with their families on a picnic, couples (young and old), students, vendors, tourists, photographers, joggers, Tai-Chi practitioners are the people one usually sees at Luneta.   It's an oasis in the middle of an urban jungle.

Sleep in the shadows of nothingness
Redeemer of an enslaved land---
Don't weep in the mystery of the tomb
Nor grieve the momentary triumph of the Spaniard;
For if the bullet ravaged your skull
Your idea vanquished an empire!

~ Cecilio Apostol, Filipino poet,
on Rizal's 2nd death anniversary, 1898

Rizal Park, Kilometer 0
Manila,  Philippines

This post is linked to My World-Tuesday


EG CameraGirl said...

It's a beautiful park with so much unhappy history. It's one of those places that requires we remember what happened there. I only wish we humans would learn from such monuments to the past. Maybe someday.

Sylvia K said...

What a marvelous look at your world today! Such a beautiful place! It's so sad that such a frightening event happened there and so recently -- I think we all want to believe our world is too civilized for that kind of thing to happen. But unfortunately, they happen all too frequently. I do love all your photos as always. Hope you have a wonderful week! Stay safe!


Photo Cache said...

I didn't know there was a Chinese Garden inside Luneta. Obviously I haven't explored the entire park :(

Unknown said...

i miss this place, so many memories of yesterdays gone by.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

your flag looks like the old Sarawak flag.

genie said...

What a wonderful piece of history you have shared with us today. The pictures made it all come to life for me. The story of Dr. Razal was very touching and the quote is one to be remembered and honored by his people...a lovely and most interesting post.


Sidney said...

This place is worth exploring... too bad some tourists died there recently. A very sad story.

Gattina said...

Very interesting post ! and beautiful pictures especially the once with the chinese architecture !

magiceye said...

beautiful world and such noble words from rizal

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this post. It's a beautiful place.

ps. when I was in school in Malaysia, we learnt about Dr Jose Rizal in South East Asian History class. I have most things, but now I remember a little because of your post.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful photos and a lovely tribute.

Reader Wil said...

Great post!Rizal Park is very beautiful and ful of history. The event of the policeman who hijacked that bus is very sad. It could happen in any country in the world. We had twice an incident with trains being hijacked, both with victims. Now we are afraid that one day again suicide bombers might cause a blood bath somewhere in this world.

LifeRamblings said...

what a beautiful spot. it's really sad that such an unpleasant incident has occurred in that area.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! THank you for the tour. Never really realize how huge the park is.

April said...

I was not familiar with the tragic history of this beautiful park. I found it very moving and impressive.

BraCom said...

What a marvelous look at your world today

Have a nice week,
Greetings, Bram

My Word Tuesday post

Seen on My World Tuesday

dah said...


To support the country's tourism campaign "It's More Fun in the Philippines",our company is going to use beautiful tourist spots and famous festivals in the Philippines as design in our t-shirt.

We would just like to ask if we could use the Rizal Park photo here for our t-shirt design?

We are hoping for your favorable response.

Thank you.