Rizal Park Manila – Manila’s pride and joy
One of the most popular tourist attractions in the metro is Rizal Park Manila. You can find this amazing park in Ermita, Manila, along Roxas Boulevard. At 58 hectares, it is one of the largest urban parks in Asia. Situated by Manila Bay, Rizal Park is a historical landmark with its beginnings dating back to 1820. It is a very popular leisure spot for locals, particularly on Sundays and national holidays.
Rizal Park is commonly associated with the execution of national hero José Rizal on December 30, 1896, who was accused of instigating the 1896 Philippine Revolution against the Kingdom of Spain. Subsequently, Rizal Park became the official name of the area. Subsequently, a monument dedicated to him serves as the park’s symbolic focal point.
The Park has also been the centre of other historical events with arguably the biggest one being the Declaration of Philippine Independence from the United States on July 4, 1946. There have also been a number of political rallies, most notably those of Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino in 1986. This culminated in the famous EDSA Revolution which lead to the overthrow of Marcos. There has even been a public mass conducted here by Pope Francis in 2015.
Main attractions of Rizal Park
The main attractions in the park are the Chinese Garden, the Filipino-Korean Soldier Monument, and the flower clock, which has recently been restored. The KM Zero marker is in front of the Memorial Clock (KM Zero serves as the point from which all road distances from Manila are measured). Other attractions are the Lapu-Lapu Monument (or the Statue of the Sentinel of Freedom), the Gallery of Heroes, Independence Flagpole, and the Japanese Garden.
There are a number of other historical buildings that surround the park, with plenty of things to do near there. These include the Manila Planetarium (Museum of the Filipino People), National Library of the Philippines and the Quirino Grandstand and Parade Grounds. You can also check out the much smaller Paco Park, which is about a five-minute walk away. This is a recreational garden and at one point in time, was the Municipal Cemetry of Manila. The Dominicans developed this garden during the Spanish colonial period. There is also the very closely situated Intramuros and Manila Ocean Park which I have featured in separate write-ups.
The “real” Manila
If you are looking in Manila for things to do, then don’t miss Rizal Park Manila. When people talk about “Manila”, this area is the Manila to which they refer to. This is the historical, political and spiritual epicentre of Manila. You are able to book guided walking tours of the area. This should only be done with reputable people/organisations in advance if possible. This way you to avoid the multitude of scammers on the street. The internet is a good source of information on these services.