I was not into travel blogging yet during my last stroll at Rizal Park, otherwise known as Luneta Park in Manila, Philippines way back in 2010. Hence, being a history buff who would readily choose heritage tours over any other forms of trips, I squeezed my hectic schedule while in the capital city to visit the park which used to capture my childhood imagination. While traveling the EDSA-UN Avenue Stations on board the Monumento-bound Light Railway Transit Line 1, I was picturing how the old Luneta, a Spanish term meaning little moon, looked like as described in my high school history books as a crescent-shaped area outside of Intramuros which was cleared in the early 1800’s by the Spanish colonizers purposely to prevent the social and business center from sneak attacks from the patriotic natives but transformed later into a favorite promenade among the elites who came to the place to enjoy the beautiful vista of the sunset at Manila Bay. My imagination also covered the days when it was subjected into a seesaw game of care and neglect as it went through several names: Bagumbayan, Plazuela de Isabel II, La Plaza, La Calzada, Wallance Field and finally, Rizal Park, throughout the decades.
It was exactly 6:00 o’clock in the morning when I reached the Taft Avenue side of the most popular park of the country . . .
It was my original intention to just make a quick stroll at the place and proceed to the Lopez Museum in Pasig City. Nevertheless, I decided to extend my visit that I failed to notice that it took me 4 hours to roam every nook and corner of the promenade. As a consequence, I decided to write my Rizal Park sojourn in series to give justice to the readers like you who want to know the details of the 58-hectare (143-acre) Rizal Park considered as one of the largest parks in Southeast Asia.
Entering through the Taft Avenue entrance of Rizal Park, the raised Philippine Relief Map considered the largest of its kind in the country with Horizontal Scale of 1:18,300 (1 meter on the relief map represents 18.4 kilometers) and Vertical Scale of 1:4,600 (1 meter on the relief map represents 18.4 kilometers) would surely capture your attention. On the opposite entrance to the raised structure, you can find this marker . . .
Like in my case, if you happened to visit Rizal Park before June 19, 2011, which was the launching date of the Philippine Relief Map Refurbishing Project in time for the 150th birth anniversary of the Dr. Jose P. Rizal, you would surely be surprised with the presence of a concrete walkway strategically passing over the map lengthwise thereby affording the revelers like this mother and child tandem, to have a closer appreciation of the Philippine archipelago . . .
With the new structure, you can surely have a vantage point to take a look at the biggest Philippine island of . . .
The biggest island group of . . .
The second largest island of . . .
Looking at the northeastern-most tip of Mindanao, you can find the island of my birth . . .
Not to be outdone in form, is the most popular island in the Philippines . . .
Rizal Park – Visiting The New Relief Map
My fascination with history always haunts me like a shadow wherever I go. Hence, visiting the Rizal Park while in Manila was the best decision I made if only to show to you the spruced up appearance of the Philippine Relief Map that you and I can surely be proud of and enjoy watching over and over.