Luneta Park is famous for being the location of the monument to the Philippines’ national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Because of this, Luneta Park is also known as Rizal Park, but locals mostly refer to it as Luneta Park or simply “Luneta”.
It overlooks the scenic Manila Bay and is next to the historical district of Intramuros. Many Filipino families take a stroll along the bay, jog or have a picnic in the park especially on holidays and weekends. On New Year’s Day, Luneta Park is especially crowded with celebrating groups of families and friends.
The park is approximately 58 hectares in area and is composed of gardens, historical landmarks, statues, fountains, a grand stadium, observatory, an open-air concert hall, playgrounds and food establishments, among other things.
Right in the middle of the park is the monument of Dr. Jose Rizal, who fought for reforms for the country. He was executed on December 30, 1896 by the Spanish colonial government for rebellion, sedition and conspiracy after a kangaroo trial. Although he did not lead the Philippine revolution, many revolutionaries were inspired by his written works. He is considered the first Asian nationalist.
Aside from his other accomplishments, Dr. Jose Rizal was a writer. His famous poem composed while imprisoned in Fort Santiago in Intramuros is inscribed behind his monument. It is titled “Mi Ultimo Adios”. Visitors can read the poem which has been translated to various languages.
Leaders of foreign countries come to his monument during state visits to attend a wreath-laying ceremony.
Nearby is a 31-meter flagpole carrying the Philippine flag is the country’s kilometer zero. This means the distance of the country’s cities and towns are measured from this point.
Another point of interest in the park is the Central Lagoon and Dancing Fountain. It is a man-made pool lined with busts of Filipino heroes. In the evening, the Dancing Fountain colorfully lights up in tune to music.
The Quirino Grandstand is another major landmark here. It is popularly known to the locals as the place where the new president is sworn into office and where he/she delivers his/her first speech to the country. Independence Day celebrations are also held here. It has a capacity of 10,000 people.
Take the LRT-1 line and alight at UN Avenue. Walk to the park. Alternatively, take a cab and tell the driver to take you to “Luneta” or “Luneta Park”.