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Luneta Park


Luneta Park

This article is about the park located in Manila. For the park located in Seattle, Washington with the same name, see Rizal Park (Seattle).
Rizal Park
Luneta Park
The Rizal Monument in Rizal Park
Type Urban park
Location Roxas Boulevard, Ermita, Manila, Philippines

14°34′57.46″N 120°58′42.85″E / 14.5826278°N 120.9785694°E / 14.5826278; 120.9785694Coordinates: 14°34′57.46″N 120°58′42.85″E / 14.5826278°N 120.9785694°E / 14.5826278; 120.9785694

Area 58 hectares (140 acres)
Created 1820
Operated by National Parks Development Committee
Status Open year-round
Website Official Website

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.

The Philippines' Kilometre Zero is located within the Park on Roxas Boulevard, in front of the Rizal Monument. It serves as the point from which all road distances from Manila are measured.[1]


Luneta is situated at the northern terminus of Roxas Boulevard. To the east of the boulevard, the park is bounded by Taft Avenue, Padre Burgos Street and Kalaw Avenue. To the west is the reclaimed area of the park bounded by Katigbak Drive, South Drive, and the shore of Manila Bay.


Spanish Colonial Period

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.[2][3]

West of Bagumbayan Field was the Paseo de la Luneta (Plaza of the Lunette) named after the fortification, not because of the shape of the plaza which was a long 100-by-300-metre (330 ft × 980 ft) rectangle ended by two semicircles. It was also named Paseo de Alfonso XII (Plaza of Alfonso XII), after Alfonso XII, King of Spain during his reign from 1874 to 1885.[4] Paseo de la Luneta was the center of social activity for the people of Manila in the early evening hours. This plaza was arranged with paths and lawns and surrounded by a wide driveway called "La Calzada" (The Road) where carriages circulate.[2][3]

Execution of Gomez, Burgos and Zamora

During the Spanish period from 1823 to 1897 most especially in the latter part, the place became notorious for public executions. A total of 158 political enemies of Spain were martyred in the park.[3] On February 17, 1872, three Filipino priests, Mariano Gómez, José Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, collectively known as Gomburza, were executed by garrote, accused of subversion arising from the 1872 Cavite mutiny.[5]

American Colonial Period

Rizal Monument

Main article: Rizal Monument

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.[6]

On September 28, 1901, the United States Philippine Commission approved Act No. 243, which would erect a monument in Luneta to commemorate the memory of José Rizal, Philippine patriot, writer and poet.[7] The committee formed by the act held an international design competition between 1905–1907 and invited sculptors from Europe and the United States to submit entries with an estimated cost of ₱100,000 using local materials.[8]

The first-prize winner was Carlos Nicoli of Carrara, Italy for his scaled plaster model titled “Al Martir de Bagumbayan” (To the Martyr of Bagumbayan) besting 40 other accepted entries. The contract though, was awarded to second-placer Swiss sculptor named Richard Kissling for his “Motto Stella” (Guiding Star).

After more than twelve years of its approval, the shrine was finally unveiled on December 30, 1913 during Rizal’s 17th death anniversary. His poem "Mi Ultimo Adios" ("My Last Farewell") is inscribed on the memorial plaque. The site is continuously guarded by ceremonial soldiers of Philippine Marine Corps’ Marine Security and Escort Group[9] File:1946-07-15 Philippines Independence Proclaimed.ogv

Philippine Independence Day celebrations

The Independence Flagpole, standing at 105 feet (32 m), is the highest flagpole in the Philippines. On this spot in front of Rizal Monument, at 9:15am July 4, 1946, the full independence of the Republic of the Philippines was proclaimed as authorized by the United States President Harry S. Truman.

As of August 2013, the flagpole was restored and increased its height to 150 feet (46 m). The government is expected to spend 7.8 million pesos, in preparation for the centennial of Rizal Monument[10]

Quirino Grandstand

Originally called grand Independence Grandstand. It was designed by architect Juan M. Arellano, in preparation for the proclamation of Independence on July 4, 1946, and to avoid overcrowding in front of the National Legislative Building during the inauguration of the Third Philippine Republic. It was designed in Neoclassical style. However, in 1949 Federico Illustre, chief architect at the Bureau of Public Works, modify the some designs of Arellano. It was completed on the reclaimed area along Manila Bay where President Elpidio Quirino was sworn in after winning the presidential election. Since then, newly elected Presidents of the Philippines traditionally take their oath of office and deliver their inaugural address to the nation in the grandstand, which was later renamed after President Quirino. Many important political, cultural and religious events in the post war era have been held here.

Philippine Centennial

On 12 June 1998, the park hosted many festivities which capped the 1998 Philippine Centennial, the event commemorating a hundred years since the Declaration of Independence from Spain and the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. The celebrations were led by then President Fidel V. Ramos.[11]

2011 renovations

Rizal Park underwent renovations by the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) aimed at restoring elements of the park. The plans included the rehabilitation of the old musical dancing fountain located on the 40 m × 100 m (130 ft × 330 ft) pool, which is the geographical center of the park. The fountain, which is set for inauguration on December 16, 2011, is handled by German-Filipino William Schaare, the same person who built the original fountain in the 1960s. Restoration also included the Flower Clock which was set for inauguration on the 113th Philippine Independence day; the Noli Me Tangere Garden and the Luzviminda Boardwalk, for the 150th birthday celebration of Jose Rizal.[12]

Recent events in the park

  • December 31, 1999-January 1, 2000. The turn-of-the-century celebration was held here attended by more than 5 million people.
  • January 17, 2010. Pentecostal Missionary Church of Christ (4th Watch) held its International Missionary Day at Quirino Grandstand.
  • February 28, 2012. The Iglesia ni Cristo held a Grand Evangelical Mission in Quirino Grandstand, simultaneously with other different locations in the Philippines, and was attended by 3 million people.
  • August 22-26, 2013. The Million People March was held in the park, and other different locations, to protest against the improper use of Priority Development Assistance Fund.

Annual Events at the Quirino Grandstand


  • January 8–9: Feast of the Black Nazarene



  • Anniversary Overnight Annual Family Appointment with El Shaddai*



  • Christmas Overnight Family Appointment with El Shaddai*

(*) The events of the El Shaddai is now already held at the Amvel City Business Park, Parañaque City

Park layout

The park is divided into three sections beginning with the 16-hectare (40-acre) Teodora F. Valencia Circle adjoining Taft Avenue, where the Department of Tourism and the National Museum of the Filipino People (formerly the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Finance respectively) are located, is the Northeastern section; followed by the 22-hectare (54-acre) park proper that extends down to Roxas Boulevard is the Central Section; and terminating at Southwestern section which includes Burnham Green, a 10-hectare (25-acre) open field, the Quirino Grandstand and the Manila Ocean Park along Manila Bay.

Location of buildings in and around Rizal Park
Northeastern side
Northwestern side Southeastern side
Museum of the Filipino People Department of Tourism Building
Japanese Garden Rizal Monument National Library of the Philippines
Intramuros National Historical Commission of the Philippines
Manila Hotel Quirino Grandstand Museo Pambata, formerly the Manila Elks Club
Southwestern side


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.[12]
  • 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.[13] Featured shows are a mix of performances from dance, theatre, to musical performances by local and foreign artists.

  • 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.[14]
  • Filipino-Korean Soldier Monument. This monument of two Filipino soldiers aiding a Korean soldier is dedicated to the Filipino combat soldiers who fought with the Korean troops during the Korean War.[15]
  • Japanese Garden. The gardens were built to promote friendship between Japan and the Philippines. Inside is nice place for pleasant walks around the Japanese style gardens, lagoon and bridge.
  • Lapu-Lapu Monument (or the Statue of the Sentinel of Freedom). The monument was a gift from the people of Korea as appreciation and to honor the memory of freedom-loving Filipinos who helped during the Korean War in the early 1950s (as inscribed in the plaque). Lapu-Lapu was a native Muslim chieftain in Mactan, Cebu and representative of the Sultan of Sulu, and is now known as the first native of the archipelago to resist Spanish colonization. He is retroactively regarded as the first national hero of the Philippines. On the morning of April 27, 1521, Lapu-Lapu and the men of Mactan, armed with spears and kampilan, faced Spanish soldiers led by Portuguese captain Ferdinand Magellan in what would later be known as the Battle of Mactan. Magellan and several of his men were killed.
  • National Library of the Philippines is the country's premier public library. The library has a history of its own and its rich Filipiniana collections are maintained by the librarians to preserve the institution as the nations fountain of local knowledge and source of information for thousands of students and everyday users in their research and studies.
  • Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion, established in 1994, was a former parking lot developed into a one-hectare rainforest-like park. The Orchidarium showcases Philippines' rich collection of orchid species and butterflies. The pavilion is also a favorite venue for weddings.


In 2012, 30 high-definition closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras were installed to make the area safer for local and foreign tourists.[16] The National Parks Development Committee have stationed police and security officers in the key places in the park for added security.[12]

In popular culture


See also


External links

  • National Parks Development Committee
  • Photos from Flickr
  • Photos of Luneta


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