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Rizal Park, also known as Luneta Park or simply Luneta, is a historical urban park in the Philippines. Located along Roxas Boulevard, Manila, adjacent to the old walled city of Intramuros, it is one of the largest urban parks in Asia. It has been a favorite leisure spot, and is frequented on Sundays and national holidays. Rizal Park is one of the major tourist attractions of Manila.
Chill At Rizal Park
Rizal Park is a good place to stroll from morning till night, it's one of the most popular things to do at Rizal Park. A pleasant morning walk offers a chance to see locals taking an early jog or engage in a friendly game of lawn tennis or chess. You can bring your own food and drinks, roll out a mat and enjoy a nice picnic. At noon when the sun is at its highest, there are wooded areas and shady gardens you can escape to, such as the Chinese & Japanese Gardens. In the evening, the crowd becomes thicker as locals and foreign tourists gather together to enjoy the dancing musical fountain. There are plenty of food kiosks around and you can also try various street food. There are also horse-drawn carriages for hire but avoid getting ripped off by ensuring you find out the standard rate ahead of time.
Next thing to do at Rizal Park is to go to the Central Lagoon. Located in the middle of the park, the Central Lagoon has a pool lined with busts of Filipino heroes and martyrs and a dancing musical fountain that erupts in colorful explosions in the evening. Just north of the lagoon is the open-air auditorium, where the long-running (and free) classical Concert at the Park kicks off at 6 pm on Sundays. There's a free Filipino rock concert here at the same time every Saturday night. Don't miss this on your Rizal Park tour.
East of the auditorium are several ornamental gardens and the Chess Plaza, a shady spot where regulars test each other and look for new blood with shouts to visitors of 'Hey Joe, do you play chess?'. At dawn, you'll find various groups gathered to practice tai chi or the local martial art of Arnis, also know as arnis de mano, a pre-Hispanic style of stick-fighting. You can join them or just watch them during your Rizal Park tour.
At the east end of the park, where the National Museum is located, you'll find a large statue of Lapu-Lapu, a 16th-century national hero famous for slaying the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan; the flower-filled Manila Orchidarium; and a gigantic three-dimensional relief map of the Philippines. It's just one of the plenty of things to do at Rizal Park.
One of the things to do at Rizal Park is to find the Rizal Monument. It's fronted by a 46m flagpole and guarded by sentries in full regalia, which contains the hero's mortal remains and stands as a symbol of Filipino nationhood. To one side of the monument you will find the Site of Rizal's Execution; at the entrance is a black granite wall inscribed with Rizal's 'Mi Ultimo Adios' (My Last Farewell). Eight tableaux of life-size bronze statues recreate the dramatic last moments of the hero's life. Evening light-and-sound presentations dedicated to Rizal usually take place here but are suspended indefinitely. When happening, the last 30 minutes and run every evening in both English and Tagalog. On the other (south) side of the monument, toward Kalaw Ave, keep an eye out for the drinking fountain shipped all the way from Heidelberg, Germany, where Rizal spent time studying at university. These are interesting for your Rizal Park Tour.
Rizal Park tour can be your starting point to other significant attractions in Manila, which include the National Museum of the Philippines (see picture above), the historic walled city of Intramuros, Manila Ocean Park, and the National Library of the Philippines. So a visit to the park will also give you an opportunity to visit those places which are not only important attractions in Manila but also in the country. There are more to the things to do at Rizal Park.
How to Get Tickets?
Rizal Park is open for public and can be visited for free. The National Museum inside the park is open Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission to the National Museum is now permanently free of charge for all visitors, Filipino or foreign, to its museums nationwide. To enjoy the things to do at Rizal Park, bring enough cash and buy some food or drink while enjoying the park.
How To Get Around?
You can get around Rizal Park by walking, it's the best way to explore it. Make a few stops at the main attractions inside and admire them. You can also take the horse-drawn carriages for a unique experience.
What Should I Wear?
There is no dress code to enjoy the things to do at Rizal Park, but should be appropriately dressed. Wear comfortable shoes to walk around the park.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Manila is from November to March, it's the summer and you can walk around and enjoy your sunny Rizal Park tour all day long. However, it is the most crowded time to visit. Rainy seasons are more quiet but you have to be lucky to get a day without a rain at Rizal Park.
Will I Need a Guide?
You won't need a guide to explore the park, there are informations that you can read online or even at the park. Locals will be very happy to explain the history of this park to you when you are there.
How To Get There?
From around Manila, ride a jeepney along Rizal Avenue bound for Taft Avenue and asked to be dropped at T.M. Kalaw. You can also take an LRT 1 Yellow Line going to Taft and get down at United Nations station, then walk towards T.M. Kalaw. From Lawton/City Hall area, ride a jeepney going to Baclaran and get down at the Shell Station at the corner of M.H.Del Pilar and T.M.Kalaw. For private vehicles, Rizal Park is accessible via Roxas Boulevard and Taft Avenue. It is actually advisable to come from Roxas Boulevard as there's ample parking and usually less car at this area.
Please keep the park clean, there are bins for your trash, don't leave them on the ground. Keep an eye on your belongings, you never know when there's a pickpocket around.