Rizal Park

    I pass Rizal Park every Saturday on my way to Instituto Cervantes Manila, but I have not set foot on the park for ages. Two Sundays ago, I accompanied Ares and Albert to the National Museum (yes, I revisited the museums and there have been a lot of changes in just three weeks), and we decided to visit Rizal Park to stand near the Kilometer Zero of the Philippines.    

    We entered the gate along Taft Avenue and were welcomed by the relief map of the Philippines. It is an impressive piece of work, although I am not sure about the proportions of the landforms. The relief map in the middle of a man-made lake shows how varied the Philippine terrain is. 

Relief map of the Philippines

    Not far from the relief map is the Philippine Centennial Time Capsule buried underneath the monument called Binhi ng Kalayaan (Seed of Freedom). The time capsule that will be opened in 2098 contains important documents and memorabilia related to the 1898 Philippine Independence.

Binhi ng Kalayaan

    At the northernmost part of the relief mapstands the towering figure of Lapu-Lapu, the first Filipino hero. I am sure that the Lapu-Lapu monument or The Statue of the Sentinel of Freedom is not green, but I forgot to change the camera setting so Lapu-Lapu looked like the photo below. The figure is on top of a platform with steps made for people as tall as the statue. Taking a photo of Lapu-Lapu was a struggle because the building-in-progress called Torre de Manila was doing its best to ruin all the shots.

Lapu-Lapu, the hero of the Battle of Mactan
The Lapu-Lapu monument as seen from the fourth floor of The Museum of the Filipino People

    Busts of Filipino heroes surround the center of the park.

The busts of Datu Amai Pakpak and Marcelo H. del Pilar

    The statue of La Madre Filipina is found in the southeastern part of the park. It shows Filipina motherhood at its finest.

One of the three statues of La Madre Filipina

The center of attraction, the monument of José Rizal is found in the center of the park. It is not only a monument to remind the Filipinos of the greatness of this Renaissance man but it is also the resting place of Rizal’s remains.

The Rizal Monument
The front and back views of the Rizal Monument

    The plaque on the front of the monument contains the following:

To the Memory of
Patriot and Martyr
Executed in Bagumbayan Field December Thirtieth 1896
This monument is dedicated by the People of the Philippine Islands

    The plaque on the back part of the monument contains the following:

Este Monumento está Dedicado

Al Héroe y Mártir
Que Murió Fusilado por Defender las Libertades de su Patria el Día 30 de Diciembre de
1896, en este sitio Campo de Bagumbayan.
Ha sido erigido por suscripción pública, según la ley no. 243
Another plaque on the lower part of the monument states:

Under these stones lie in eternal repose
the mortal remains of
Dr. José Protacio Rizal

    We were lucky to have visited Rizal Park at the time that we did because we were able to witness the changing of the guard. Thank you, security guard of Rizal Monument for telling me to stay for a couple of minutes to watch the short but meaningful ceremony.

Theguards of Rizal Monument

 Changing of the Guard – Rizal Monument 

Behind the Rizal Monument is the Independence Flagpole. At 32 meters, it is the highest flagpole in the country.

The Independence Flagpole

    Aside from the monuments of historical and symbolic figures, Rizal Park boasts of pocket gardens. There is a Japanese garden, a Chinese garden and The Orchidarium. We entered the Japanese Garden thinking that it offers something interesting. For P10.00 (US $0.23), one can use the comfort room within its premises, relax under the shade of trees, have a photo shoot or use the stage to practice martial arts and dance.

The Orchidarium displays the different species of orchids and butterflies found in the Philippines. Ticket costs P50.00 (US $1.14). The security guard is friendly and gamely posed for photos.
Chinese Garden

Japanese Garden

   The most interesting part of the Japanese Garden was outside the garden itself, it was a cat relaxing on top of the Japanese Garden signage. It was too cute for words so I decided to take several photos of the feline.

The cat that stole my heart with its attitude

    Beside the Orchidarium are the Soul Waves, Filipino-Korean Soldier Monument and the Three Wise Monkeys.

Soul Waves is a stainless steel monument that represents the souls of the humanity united in their cause for freedom. The waves symbolize the shores of Philippines and Korea that are protected by their people from all forms of oppression.
Filipino-Korean Soldier Monument is a tribute to Filipino soldiers who fought with the Korean soldiers during the Korean War

Mizaru, Kikazaru and Iwazaruare telling us to be good

    While we were walking around the park, we encountered this train thrice.

Learn to count from 1 to 10 with Choo-Choo Train

    Rizal Park is a tribute to José Rizal’s life and legacy. There is a diorama of José Rizal’s Martyrdom (which was closed when we dropped by) to illustrate how he embodied the Filipino spirit until the last second of his life. Let us pay our respects to him by visiting Rizal Park.

Rizal Park is next to The Museum of Filipino People. It is a well-maintained park that has all the essential things one will look for in a park—comfort rooms, tables and benches, food kiosks, great view and most importantly it is free! The guards are friendly and helpful.

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