Manila’s Rizal Park: A Peaceful Oasis in Downtown Manila

Larger than life statues depict the execution of José Rizal, forever commemorating the life and death of this important Filipino leader.
Larger than life statues depict the execution of José Rizal, forever commemorating the life and death of this important Filipino leader.

At the western edge of the park near Avenue Roxas is the “Rizal Monument,” a 50-foot (15 m) high granite obelisk. Several large panels flank the monument on which “Mi Último Adiós” has been written in English, Spanish and Tagalog (one of the major languages spoken in the Philippines and the basis for Filipino). Filipino Marines in immaculate uniforms guard over this imposing monument.

North of the monument, near the Chinese Garden, is a small enclosed section. This is the actual site of Rizal’s execution. Larger-than-life dioramas show his final days in captivity and his death at the hands of his own countrymen. The Spanish authorities used Filipino, and not Spanish soldiers, for his firing squad. As the diorama shows, Rizal’s last act of defiance was to face away from his executioners.

The statues in this park are more than a permanent tableau to this important page in Filipino history. They are used in regular sound and light shows that tell Rizal’s story. Entrance to the Rizal Diorama is 10 pesos (US$ 0.18) and the times for the light and sound shows are posted at the ticket kiosk.

Exiting from this small and somber enclosure back into the park proper, one only has to look at the crowds of Filipinos enjoying themselves in simple daily pleasures to realize that a park like this really is a fitting memorial to this man.

If You Go

Philippine Department of Tourism

www.tourism.gov.ph

Philippine Convention & Visitors Corporation

www.dotpcvc.gov.ph

 

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