RIZAL PARK (LUNETA) ONE OF THE BEST PARKS IN ASIA - SURVEY

The newly rehabilitated Rizal Park was cited as one of the best parks in Asia, according to the latest survey made by Agoda Company PTE Ltd. (Agoda.com), one of Asia's leading hotel booking sites. In a statement, Agoda.com said Rizal Park, also known as Luneta Park, ranked eighth in a competitive regional list. The output was based on customer feedback and analyzed booking information to present Asia's highest rated parks and green spaces as selected by Agoda.com customers. According to Agoda.com, travelers surveyed loved a wide range of green space options from lush expanses of jungle to manicured parklands. The list includes huge national parks perfect for hiking or outdoor activities, marine parks for diving or kayaking, and green areas in the middle of a city that offer important historical context. All of the entries on the list have left a large enough impression on Agoda.com customers to warrant consistently high ratings. In the middle of the sprawling Philippine capital, Rizal Park is both a beautiful escape from the traffic and noise and a potent symbol of the country's tumultuous history. The park takes its name from national hero Jose Rizal, author and Filipino nationalist who was executed in 1896 for promoting sweeping social reforms during the Spanish colonial era. The 140-acre park is located next to the famous Intramuros walled city. It is one of the most popular spots in Manila for locals to picnic, exercise and relax among gardens and greenery. READ MORE...

ALSO: Asia’s top parks

By Ed Biado --There aren’t a lot of parks in Metro Manila where families can have Saturday afternoon picnics enveloped by trees and fresh air. Sure, there are pockets of greens scattered all over the metropolis, but they’re usually small and not quite as memorable or remarkable as, say, Manhattan’s Central Park. Except for one: Rizal Park in Manila. Also known as Luneta, the site of the famed Jose Rizal monument is a 140-acre expanse that is one of the Philippines’ most popular tourist destinations. It is also one of the eight highest-rated parks in Asia, as chosen by Agoda.com customers, which the Web site describes as “a potent symbol of the country’s tumultuous history.”
In determining the continent’s top parks, Agoda reviewed tourist feedback, crunched booking information and averaged each destination’s customer rating. Here are the other seven Asian parks on their list: Hallasan National Park— Located in Jeju-do, South Korea, this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site has the highest rating. Visitors love the “dramatic geological features,” such as the Manjanggul Lava Tube, Sunrise Peak and various caves. This is also where the country’s highest point, Mt. Halla, can be found, where climbers are treated to incomparable views of nature. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: History of Rizal Park

Rizal Park (also Luneta Park or colloquially Luneta; Filipino: Liwasang Rizal), is an historical urban park located along Roxas Boulevard, City of Manila, Philippines, adjacent to the old walled city of Intramuros. Since the Spanish Colonial Era, the Park has been a favourite leisure spot, and is frequented on Sundays and national holidays. It is one of the major tourist attractions of the City of Manila.Situated by Manila Bay, Luneta is also an important site in Philippine history. READ MORE...


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Rizal Park one of best parks in Asia - survey

MANILA, MAY 26, 2014 (PHILSTAR)  By Donnabelle Gatdula - The newly rehabilitated Rizal Park was cited as one of the best parks in Asia, according to the latest survey made by Agoda Company PTE Ltd. (Agoda.com), one of Asia's leading hotel booking sites.

In a statement, Agoda.com said Rizal Park, also known as Luneta Park, ranked eighth in a competitive regional list.

The output was based on customer feedback and analyzed booking information to present Asia's highest rated parks and green spaces as selected by Agoda.com customers.

According to Agoda.com, travelers surveyed loved a wide range of green space options from lush expanses of jungle to manicured parklands.


AERIAL VIEW OF RIZAL PARK (LUNETA)

The list includes huge national parks perfect for hiking or outdoor activities, marine parks for diving or kayaking, and green areas in the middle of a city that offer important historical context.

All of the entries on the list have left a large enough impression on Agoda.com customers to warrant consistently high ratings.

In the middle of the sprawling Philippine capital, Rizal Park is both a beautiful escape from the traffic and noise and a potent symbol of the country's tumultuous history.

The park takes its name from national hero Jose Rizal, author and Filipino nationalist who was executed in 1896 for promoting sweeping social reforms during the Spanish colonial era.

The 140-acre park is located next to the famous Intramuros walled city.

It is one of the most popular spots in Manila for locals to picnic, exercise and relax among gardens and greenery.

Adjacent to the park are the Museum of the Filipino People, Department of Tourism and the National Library. An impressive monument to Rizal stands on the western end.

Trivia note: all road distances in the Philippines are measured from Kilometer Zero, just across the street from the Rizal Monument.


The marble marker designated as 'KM ZERO' fronting the Rizal Monument in Rizal Park is Kilometer Zero for road distances on the island of Luzon and the rest of the Philippines.

In 2011, Rizal Park underwent a massive renovation by the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) aimed at restoring significant elements of the park.

The plans included the rehabilitation of the old musical dancing fountain located on the 40 m x 100 m pool, which is the geographical center of the park. The renovation was handled by German-Filipino William Schaare, the same person who built the original fountain in the 1960s. (Dancing Fountain video below)

Restoration in the park also included the Flower Clock, which was set for the inauguration on the 113th Philippine Independence Day; the Noli me Tangere Garden and the Luzviminda Boardwalk.

Agoda.com has also provided some great hotel recommendations to round out a perfect trip to visit Rizal Park such as the Manila Hotel, Hotel H2O and Bayleaf Intramuros Hotel.

Other national parks in Asia that made it to Agoda.com's list are Hallasan National Park Jeju-do, South Korea; Taroko National Park, Taiwan; Osaka Castle Park, Osaka, Japan; Halong Bay, Vietnam; Ang Thong National Marine Park, Ko Samui; Khao Yai National Park, Thailand; and Penang National Park, Malaysia.

Aside from being the leading online hotel reservations company, Agoda.com specializes in securing the lowest discount hotel prices.

Agoda.com includes more than 360,000 hotels worldwide. The multinational staff of more than 1,400 professionals, located throughout the world, provide a first-rate reservation service that uniquely combines local knowledge and local connections to provide the best hotel deals to both business and leisure travelers.

 
  LUNETA PARK DANCING FOUNTAIN

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD


By Ed Biado

Asia’s top parks Ed Biado May. 29, 2014 at 06:00pm - There aren’t a lot of parks in Metro Manila where families can have Saturday afternoon picnics enveloped by trees and fresh air.

Sure, there are pockets of greens scattered all over the metropolis, but they’re usually small and not quite as memorable or remarkable as, say, Manhattan’s Central Park. Except for one: Rizal Park in Manila.

Also known as Luneta, the site of the famed Jose Rizal monument is a 140-acre expanse that is one of the Philippines’ most popular tourist destinations.

It is also one of the eight highest-rated parks in Asia, as chosen by Agoda.com customers, which the Web site describes as “a potent symbol of the country’s tumultuous history.”

In determining the continent’s top parks, Agoda reviewed tourist feedback, crunched booking information and averaged each destination’s customer rating. Here are the other seven Asian parks on their list:

Hallasan National Park— Located in Jeju-do, South Korea, this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site has the highest rating. Visitors love the “dramatic geological features,” such as the Manjanggul Lava Tube, Sunrise Peak and various caves. This is also where the country’s highest point, Mt. Halla, can be found, where climbers are treated to incomparable views of nature.

Taroko National Park—Waterfalls, peaks, marble and limestone cliffs, trekking trails and campgrounds populate this 900-square-kilometer park in the eastern part of Taiwan. According to Agoda, “a large part of the park can be seen via train as it passes down the island’s east coast,” allowing for a magnificent view without having to walk.

Osaka Castle Park—This Japanese park in the middle of Osaka is known for its “beauty and historical significance,” despite its small size. The centerpiece of the space is Osaka Castle, which is surrounded by finely manicured gardens, moats, walking paths and hundreds of cherry and apricot trees. Structures like the gates, turrets and gunpowder storehouse are designated “Important Cultural Properties,” and are preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Halong Bay—Vietnam’s most popular tourist destination, the bay has a coastline that “boasts about 1,600 islands just offshore.” Tourists can take a crash tour of the locale in one day and watch the beautiful sunset or have a multi-day itinerary and see all the caves, waterfalls and cliffs, go hiking and participate in plenty of outdoor activities.

Ang Thong National Marine Park—The massive marine park in the Gulf of Thailand scopes 42 islands with a diverse, but fragile, ecosystem. Snorkeling, kayaking and relaxing on the beach are the top activities here, as well as exploring trekking trails on some of the bigger islands.

Khao Yai National Park— Thailand’s second entry into the list, this national park is located in the western part of the Sankamphaeng Mountain Range and is only a few hours away from Bangkok. Agoda raves, “From its lowest point above sea level (100m) to its highest (1,350m), the park is home to a long list of sensitive and endangered fauna, from pythons to bears to elephants and even a famous lonely lost crocodile.”

Penang National Park—“Malaysia’s smallest and youngest national park” offers plenty of picture-perfect views, thanks to a 250-meter long canopy suspended from trees 15 meters above the ground. Two hiking trails snaking through rugged forest landscapes, isolated beaches and appearances by monkeys, turtles, otters and dolphins are just some of the things to be enjoyed while exploring the area.

FROM WIKIPEDIA

History of Rizal Park From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; This article is about the park located in Manila.


THE RIZAL MONUMENT

Rizal Park (also Luneta Park or colloquially Luneta; Filipino: Liwasang Rizal), is an historical urban park located along Roxas Boulevard, City of Manila, Philippines, adjacent to the old walled city of Intramuros.

Since the Spanish Colonial Era, the Park has been a favourite leisure spot, and is frequented on Sundays and national holidays. It is one of the major tourist attractions of the City of Manila.

Situated by Manila Bay, Luneta is also an important site in Philippine history.


THE LEGENDARY SUNSET OVER MANILA BAY

The execution of national hero Dr. José Rizal on December 30, 1896, sparked the 1898 Philippine Revolution against the Kingdom of Spain.


“Fuego!” Detail from a mural by Carlos “Botong” Francisco at the Rizal Shrine at Fort Santiago, National Historical Commission of the Philippines. PHOTO COURTESY OF

The area was officially renamed Rizal Park in his honour, and the monument enshrining his remains serves as the symbolic focal point of the Park.

The Declaration of Philippine Independence from the American Occupation was held at the Park on July 4, 1946 as were later political rallies including those of Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino in 1986 that culminated in the EDSA Revolution.

Kilometre Zero marker in front of the Memorial Clock on the other side of Roxas Boulevard from Rizal Monument.

The Philippines' Kilometre Zero is located within the Park on Roxas Boulevard, in front of the Rizal Monument. It serves as the point from which all road distances from Manila are measured.


THE SCENIC ROXAS BLVD ALONG MANILA BAY

Luneta is situated at the northern terminus of Roxas Boulevard. To the east of the boulevard, the park is bounded by Taft Avenue, Padre Burgos Avenue and Kalaw Avenue. To the west is the reclaimed area of the park bounded by Katigbak Drive, South Drive, and the shore of Manila Bay.

History
Spanish Colonial Period


The Paseo de Luneta in 1899

Rizal Park's history began in 1820 when the Paseo de Luneta was completed just south of the walls of Manila on a marshy patch of land next to the beach during the Spanish rule.

Prior to the park, the marshy land was the location of a small town called Nuevo Barrio (New Town or Bagumbayan in Tagalog language) that dates back to 1601. The town and its churches, being close to the walled city, were strategically used as cover by the British during their attack.

They were cleared by the British during their short rule from 1762 to 1764. The area later became known as Bagumbayan Field where the Cuartel la Luneta (Luneta Barracks), a Spanish Military Hospital (which was destroyed by one of the earthquakes of Manila), and a moat-surrounded outwork of the walled city of Manila, known as the Luneta (lunette) because of its crescent shape.

West of Bagumbayan Field was the Paseo de la Luneta (Plaza of the Lunette) named after the fortification, not because of the shape of the plaza which was a long 100-by-300-metre (330 ft × 980 ft) rectangle ended by two semicircles.

It was also named Paseo de Alfonso XII (Plaza of Alfonso XII), after Alfonso XII, King of Spain during his reign from 1874 to 1885.

Paseo de la Luneta was the center of social activity for the people of Manila in the early evening hours. This plaza was arranged with paths and lawns and surrounded by a wide driveway called "La Calzada" (The Road) where carriages circulate.

Execution of Gomez, Burgos and Zamora

During the Spanish period from 1823 to 1897 most especially in the latter part, the place became notorious for public executions.

A total of 158 political enemies of Spain were martyred in the park. On February 17, 1872, three Filipino priests, Mariano Gómez, José Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, collectively known as Gomburza, were executed by garrote, accused of subversion arising from the 1872 Cavite mutiny.

American Colonial Period


The execution of Jose Rizal on December 30, 1896

The bronze-and-granite Rizal monument is among the most famous sculptural landmarks in the country. It is almost protocol for visiting dignitaries to lay a wreath at the monument. Located on the monument is not merely the statue of the national hero, but also his remains.

On September 28, 1901, the United States Philippine Commission approved Act No. 243, which would erect a monument in Luneta to commemorate the memory of José Rizal, Philippine patriot, writer and poet.

The committee formed by the act held an international design competition between 1905–1907 and invited sculptors from Europe and the United States to submit entries with an estimated cost of ₱100,000 using local materials.

The first-prize winner was Carlos Nicoli of Carrara, Italy for his scaled plaster model titled “Al Martir de Bagumbayan” (To the Martyr of Bagumbayan) besting 40 other accepted entries. The contract though, was awarded to second-placer Swiss sculptor named Richard Kissling for his “Motto Stella” (Guiding Star).

After more than twelve years of its approval, the shrine was finally unveiled on December 30, 1913 during Rizal’s 17th death anniversary. His poem "Mi Ultimo Adios" ("My Last Farewell") is inscribed on the memorial plaque.

The site is continuously guarded by ceremonial soldiers of Philippine Marine Corps’ Marine Security and Escort Group.

National Government Center

In 1902,[10] William Taft commissioned Daniel Burnham, architect and city planner, to do the city plan of Manila.

Government buildings will have Neo-classical edifices with Greco-Roman columns. Burnham chose Luneta as the location of the new government center. The Old Legislative Building, which was envisioned to be the Philippine version of the Washington Capitol, was to become its core.

It will be surrounded by other government buildings, but only two of those buildings were built around the Agrifina Circle, facing each other.

They are the Department of Agriculture (now the Museum of the Filipino People)and the Department of Finance (now the Department of Tourism and soon to be the Museum of Natural History). These two buildings were completed before the Second World War.

Proclamation of independence at Rizal Park


Rizal Monument facing Quirino Grandstand.

The Independence Flagpole, standing at 105 feet (32 m), is the highest flagpole in the Philippines.

On this spot in front of Rizal Monument, at 9:15am July 4, 1946, the full independence of the Republic of the Philippines was proclaimed as authorized by the United States President Harry S. Truman.

As of August 2013, the flagpole was restored and increased its height to 150 feet (46 m). The government is expected to spend 7.8 million pesos, in preparation for the centennial of Rizal Monument.

Quirino Grandstand

Originally called grand Independence Grandstand. It was designed by architect Juan M. Arellano, in preparation for the proclamation of Independence on July 4, 1946, and to avoid overcrowding in front of the National Legislative Building during the inauguration of the Third Philippine Republic.

It was designed in Neoclassical style. However, in 1949 Federico Illustre, chief architect at the Bureau of Public Works, modify the some designs of Arellano.

It was completed on the reclaimed area along Manila Bay where President Elpidio Quirino was sworn in after winning the presidential election. Since then, newly elected Presidents of the Philippines traditionally take their oath of office and deliver their inaugural address to the nation in the grandstand, which was later renamed after President Quirino.

Many important political, cultural and religious events in the post war era have been held here.

Philippine Centennial

On 12 June 1998, the park hosted many festivities which capped the 1998 Philippine Centennial, the event commemorating a hundred years since the Declaration of Independence from Spain and the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. The celebrations were led by then President Fidel V. Ramos.

2011 renovations

Rizal Park underwent renovations by the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) aimed at restoring elements of the park.

The plans included the rehabilitation of the old musical dancing fountain located on the 40 m × 100 m (130 ft × 330 ft) pool, which is the geographical center of the park.

The fountain, which is set for inauguration on December 16, 2011, is handled by German-Filipino William Schaare, the same person who built the original fountain in the 1960s.

Restoration also included the Flower Clock which was set for inauguration on the 113th Philippine Independence day; the Noli Me Tangere Garden and the Luzviminda Boardwalk, for the 150th birthday celebration of Jose Rizal.

Recent events in the park


The Water Buffalo Sculpture at Burnham Green (Carabao Statue)

January 15, 1995.

The closing Mass of the X World Youth Day 1995 was held here attended by more than 5 million people. This is the record gathering of the Roman Catholic Church.

December 31, 1999 – January 1, 2000. The turn-of-the-century celebration was held here attended by more than 5 million people.

November 27, 2005.

Rizal Park was the venue of the opening ceremony for the 2005 Southeast Asian Games at the Quirino Grandstand. It was held at an open-air park instead of a stadium, a historic first for a Southeast Asian games' opening ceremony. It was again used on December 5, 2005 for the games' closing ceremony.

January 17, 2010. Pentecostal Missionary Church of Christ (4th Watch) held its International Missionary Day at Quirino Grandstand.

August 23, 2010. The park was the site of the 11-hour hostage crisis where a Hong Thai Travel Services tour group on a coach was hijacked by Rolando Mendoza, causing casualties and injuries.

February 28, 2012. The Iglesia ni Cristo held a Grand Evangelical Mission in Quirino Grandstand, simultaneously with other different locations in the Philippines, and was attended by 3 million people.

August 22–26, 2013. The Million People March was held in the park, and other different locations, to protest against the improper use of Priority Development Assistance Fund.

Annual Events at the Quirino Grandstand
January
January 8–9: Feast of the Black Nazarene

June
June 12: Philippine Independence Day Celebration
June 30: Philippine Presidential Inauguration (once in six years)
August
Anniversary Overnight Annual Family Appointment with El Shaddai

October
Anniversary Celebration of Jesus is Lord Church

December
Christmas Overnight Family Appointment with El Shaddai
The events of the El Shaddai is now already held at the Amvel City Business Park, Parañaque City

Park layout
The park is divided into three sections beginning with the 16-hectare (40-acre) Teodora F. Valencia Circle adjoining Taft Avenue, where the Department of Tourism and the National Museum of the Filipino People (formerly the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Finance respectively) are located, is the Northeastern section; followed by the 22-hectare (54-acre) park proper that extends down to Roxas Boulevard is the Central Section; and terminating at Southwestern section which includes Burnham Green, a 10-hectare (25-acre) open field, the Quirino Grandstand and the Manila Ocean Park along Manila Bay.

Location of buildings in and around Rizal Park

N
W map E
S
Northeastern side
Northwestern side Southeastern side
National Museum of the Filipino People
Museum of the Filipino People Philippines Department of Tourism building.jpg
Department of Tourism Building
Japanese Garden at Rizal Park.jpg
Japanese Garden DSC7989.png
Rizal Monument National Library of the Philippines, Feb 14.JPG
National Library of the Philippines
The Gate of Intramuros.JPG
Intramuros WTMP Shutters 40.JPG
National Historical Commission of the Philippines
Manila Hotel Philippines.JPG
Manila Hotel Quirino Grandstand.jpg
Quirino Grandstand WTMP Team Waka Waka A-4
Museo Pambata, formerly the Manila Elks Club
Southwestern side

Activities
The park is home to various Kali/Eskrima/Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) groups. Every morning, especially on Sundays, Eskrimadors, or Eskrima practitioners can be seen at the Luneta. Even up to the present, stickfighting duels are still very common, albeit in a friendly atmosphere. Various physical fitness groups doing aerobics at the park are also present on weekends.

Points of interest
Children's Playground, the section of the park built for kids, is located at the southeastern corner of the Rizal Park. The playground was also renovated in 2011.

Chinese Garden. An ornate Chinese-style gate, carved with swirling dragons, leads you into this whimsical garden which looks like it has been transported from old Peking. Along the lagoon constructed to simulate a small lake, are pagodas and gazebos that are set off by red pillars and green-tiled roofs and decorated with a profusion of mythical figures.

Concert at the Park at the Rizal Park Open-Air Auditorium are performances provided for free to the general public by the National Parks Development Committee, Department of Tourism and the National Broadcasting Network. Free entertainment are also provided elsewhere in the park.

Featured shows are a mix of performances from dance, theatre, to musical performances by local and foreign artists.

Inside the Chinese Garden.
Diorama of Rizal's Martyrdom.
On an area north of Rizal monument stands a set of statues depicting Rizal's execution, situated on the spot where he was actually martyred, contrary to popular belief that the monument is the spot where he was executed. In the evenings, a Light & Sound presentation titled "The Martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal", features a multimedia dramatization of the last poignant minutes of the life of the national hero.

Filipino-Korean Soldier Monument.
This monument of two Filipino soldiers aiding a Korean soldier is dedicated to the Filipino combat soldiers who fought with the Korean troops during the Korean War.

Japanese Garden.
The gardens were built to promote friendship between Japan and the Philippines. Inside is nice place for pleasant walks around the Japanese style gardens, lagoon and bridge.

La Madre Filipina.
First unveiled in 1921, the statue was part of a set of four sculptures that depicted Filipina motherhood which adorned the pillars of Jones Bridge. After World War II, only three of these statues survived and were relocated elsewhere; the other two were relocated to the Court of Appeals complex.

Lapu-Lapu Monument (or the Statue of the Sentinel of Freedom).
The monument was a gift from the people of Korea as appreciation and to honor the memory of freedom-loving Filipinos who helped during the Korean War in the early 1950s (as inscribed in the plaque). Lapu-Lapu was a native Visayan chieftain in Mactan, Cebu and representative of the Sultan of Sulu, and is now known as the first native of the archipelago to resist Spanish colonization. He is retroactively regarded as the first national hero of the Philippines. On the morning of April 27, 1521, Lapu-Lapu and the men of Mactan, armed with spears and kampilan, faced Spanish soldiers led by Portuguese captain Ferdinand Magellan in what would later be known as the Battle of Mactan. Magellan and several of his men were killed.

Manila Ocean Park is an oceanarium located in the westernmost part of Luneta behind the Quirino Grandstand and along Manila Bay. The complex opened on March 1, 2008.

Manila Planetarium

Museum of the Filipino People, on the building north of Agrifina Circle, are the Anthropology and Archeology collections of the National Museum of the Philippines.

National Library of the Philippines is the country's premier public library. The library has a history of its own and its rich Filipiniana collections are maintained by the librarians to preserve the institution as the nations fountain of local knowledge and source of information for thousands of students and everyday users in their research and studies.

National Museum of the Philippines, located on the northeastern tip of Rizal Park, is the natural history and ethnography museum of the Philippines.

Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion, established in 1994, was a former parking lot developed into a one-hectare rainforest-like park. The Orchidarium showcases Philippines' rich collection of orchid species and butterflies. The pavilion is also a favorite venue for weddings.


Relief map of the Philippines
is a giant raised-relief map of the country, including the Scarborough Shoal, Kalayaan, and eastern part of Sabah, in the middle of a small man-made lake.

Security
In 2012, 30 high-definition closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras were installed to make the area safer for local and foreign tourists.

The National Parks Development Committee have stationed police and security officers in the key places in the park for added security.

In popular culture
The Amazing Race 5, the fifth installment of the American Reality TV show, featured the Rizal Monument on Leg 12 as Route Marker.

The Port Malaya patch in Ragnarok Online, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMOPPG), features a replica of the Rizal Monument as one of the town's attractions.

MORE PHOTOS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rizal_Park


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