Manila in the Philippines has a colonialist past from when the Spaniards occupied the country. This can be seen in the architecture of some of the buildings in Manila. Under Spanish rule, the public park known as Rizal Park was called Bagumbayan. It was later dubbed Luneta Park by the locals and is still widely called Luneta, despite the change of name in the 1950s. This beautiful central park is a 60-hectare (148-acre) space of open green lawns, ponds, paved walks, ornamental gardens, and wooded areas. There are also a number of monuments to Filipino heroes. Find out more by reading the guide to Rizal Park, Manila.
Things to do / highlights
The park also houses a number of iconic monuments relating to many Filipino heroes of the past. Among these are Rizal Monument, which stands on the spot where José Rizal was executed by Spanish colonial authorities, National Museum and Manila Orchidarium. Take a look at the most awe-inspiring attractions within the park.
The monument features a 46-m (150-ft) flagpole and is surrounded by sentries in full regalia, set to guard the monument, which also houses the mortal remains of the hero and is now an important symbol of the Filipino nationhood. On one side is the site of Rizal’s execution, with a black granite entrance with the words “Mi Ultimo Adios” (My Last Farewell) carved into it. There are also eight, life-size bronze statues, standing in order to reconstitute the final moments of Rizal’s life. Every evening, a light and sound presentation is held dedicated to the Filipino hero. These last approximately 30 minutes are in both Tagalog and English.
Drinking fountains from Heidelberg, Germany
Towards Kalaw Avenue, on the other side of the monument, drinking fountains, imported from Heidelberg, Germany, can be seen. This is due to the fact that Rizal had spent some time in Heidelberg while studying at university.
The Central Lagoon lies in the heart of the park and is decorated with busts of a number of Filipino martyrs and heroes. In the evening visitors to the park can enjoy a dancing musical fountain, lit in bright colors.
Located near the lagoon is an open-air auditorium where a free classical concert is held every Sunday at 6pm. Each Saturday night at 6pm, a free Filipino rock concert is also held in the auditorium.
Chess Plaza is a shady place where locals vie with each other over the chessboard. Locals will often call out to passersby to ask if they can play chess. Early in the morning in this area of the park, a number of different groups practice the martial art of arnis (a type of stick fighting) and Tai chi, internal Chinese martial art, both of which are worth watching.
The National Museum stands at the eastern end of Rizal Park, with many exhibits relating to the history of Manila and the Philippines. Here stands a statue of Lapu-Lapu, a national hero from the 16th century who is famous for killing Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer.
Visitors can enjoy a stroll on the paved walks through the park, passing a number of ornamental gardens and ponds, or relax on a bench with a tasty picnic.
Manila Orchidarium is a beautiful place to visit, filled with beautiful blossoms and including a huge, three-dimensional relief map of the country.
To find out more about the park, visit the visitors’ center at the Kalaw Avenue entrance of the park to get details of the attractions in Rizal Park and any upcoming events or musical concerts.
Most of the open areas of the park are accessible on a wheelchair.
Parking can be found close to the park at Pablo Mañalac Parking Lot at J. cor. A., Bocobo St, Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila. Alternatively, U Park II parking garage can be found at Kalaw Ave, Ermita, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila.
How to get there
The fastest route to Rizal Park from Downtown Manila is via R-9 and Taft Avenue. The journey takes approximately 17 minutes to cover the 2.4 km (1.5 mi). Another route is via Quintin Paredes Road, which also takes around 17 minutes to travel the 2.4 km (1.5 mi).
Alabang-Plaza Lawton bus travels from Plaza Lawton to the park every 15 minutes, while the Alabang-Quiapo Baclaran bus heads to the park via Quezon Avenue.
To see more of the city on the way to the park, take General Luna Street from downtown Manila which takes around 37 minutes or walk via Carlos Palanca and C1, which takes around 41 minutes. Most of the way is flat and easy to navigate.
Rizal Park, Manila, information
Rizal Park, Manila
Address: Roxas Blvd, Malate, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila, Philippines
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 5am - 9pm; Sat: 5am - 9pm; Sun: 5:45am - 10:15pm (closed on Fri)
Department of tourism: The Philippines Tourism
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.