Rizal Park has been one of Manila’s most popular green spaces for unwinding for almost 200 years. The 140 acre (58 hectare) site encompasses ornamental gardens, monuments, water features and a children’s playground. The green expanse is also known by its original name of Luneta. It was renamed to honor Dr. Jose Rizal, a pacifist, reformer and a hero of the Philippines.
Stand by Dr. Rizal’s statue. The 41-foot (12.6-meter) bronze and granite monument houses Dr. Rizal’s remains and is guarded by soldiers. It stands a few meters away from where he was executed. In front of the statue is the Kilometer Zero marker, the starting point for the measurement of all distances in the Philippines.
Surround yourself with nature in the Japanese Garden and Chinese Garden. Go to the Orchidarium, a 2.2 acre (1 hectare) expanse of orchid blooms, tropical plants, ferns and trees. Pass under the Trellis of Waves, a vine-covered walkway. Sit in silence by Reflection Point, a secluded enclosure of plants and waterfalls. Scale the climbing wall along the Rocky Trail. Stroll barefoot along the Reflexology Walk, a path made of ‘healing’ stones. The Orchidarium features a Butterfly Pavilion that houses hundreds of free-flying butterflies.
For young visitors there’s a children’s playground with colorful animal sculptures for climbing, slides, ponds and fountains. There is a small admission charge to the playground.
Come back to the park in the evening for the open-air light and sound presentation, The Martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal. It features a 30-minute dramatization of Dr. Rizal’s last hours and uses projections and life-size sculptures. There are performances in English and Filipino between Wednesday and Sunday. For prices and schedules check out the National Parks Development Committee website. Click on the Rizal Park link.
Rizal Park is situated next to the walled city of Intramuros. If you are traveling by taxi ask the driver to bring you to ‘Rizal Park’ or ‘Luneta’. Alternatively, you can take the train to United Nations light rail Station. Rizal Park is open daily. There’s no fee for general admission.