As Metro Manila suffers from a serious lack of green space, Rizal Park is a most-beloved tropical oasis. This is where locals flock together to go for a stroll, practise sports, sing and enjoy picnics. Back in colonial times, the wealthy elite would come here after their Sunday visit to the cathedral in Intramuros and parade through the Chinese Garden of ‘Luneta’, as the park was then called.
Not only is Rizal Park Manila’s green lung, it is also an important historic location: this is where freedom fighter José Rizal was executed on 30 December 1896, after his imprisonment in a dungeon in Fort Santiago. His martyrdom and death sparked the beginning of the Philippine Revolution, which eventually brought an end to more than 3 centuries of Spanish rule. Rizal is still revered as the national hero of the Philippines and a museum inside the fort keeps his memory alive. The impressive Rizal Monument in the park is guarded by sentries in full uniform.
“Rizal Park stretches from the parade ground to the university campus: 54 hectares of picnic meadows and ornamental gardens”