This one should come easy. I mean, Rizal Park (Luneta) was created in honor of the Philippines’ national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. We’ve studied about his life since grade school (and pre-school) so writing about this Philippine landmark should be easy.
Rizal Park is the shrine of the Philippines’ national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. It contains the bronze-granite monument and the mausoleum (that houses Rizal’s remains), both located near the spot where he was executed. Soldiers, known as Kabalyeros de Rizal (Knights of Rizal), continuously guard the monument 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Rizal Park was formerly called Luneta Park. During the time with the Philippines was still a colony of Spain, it was called Bagumbayan (which is short for Bagong Bayan or “New Town”). On 30 December 1896, Jose Rizal was executed at Bagumbayan, having walked from his detention cell in Fort Santiago, located in the nearby Intramuros.
Death through a firing squad for his “subversive” ideas. This is also where the the three priests (Fathers Mariano Gómez, José Apolonio Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora), as well as other patriots and martyrs, were executed by the Spaniards for charges of subversion.
Every December 30, the death anniversary of Rizal, is Rizal Day, a regular national holiday in the Philippines.
The monument, which was designed by a Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling (his design is the Motto Stella or “Guiding Star”), was unveiled in 1913 during the 17th death anniversary of Rizal. A write-up in today’s Fort Santiago reads: “Seventeen years after Dr. Jose Rizal’s death, a monument was unveiled at the Luneta grounds, serving as a mausoleum to mark the final interment of his mortal remains. The monument that stands now in Luneta was designed by famed Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling (1848-1919), who entered a competition of a field of forty, vying for the honor of memoralizing the national hero of the Philippines. Kissling won second place on this competition which received entries from Europe and the United States. Because the first prize winner was unable to comply with policy, the Kissling design was the one erected.”
The monument also serves as the reference point to all places in the Philippines. Kilometer 0, from which distances throughout the Philippines are measured, is found in front of the Rizal monument.
Rizal Park is across the Manila Hotel. It’s an open public park, so you could come anytime, for free of course. It’s location was discussed in our previous post on the Manila Ocean Park, which is just a few meters away from Rizal Park. See map and directions.