Rizal Park / Cathedral / Monuments – Manila

Rizal Park

Risal Park with auditoriumRizal Park is a park of big size in Manila where you can easily walk around for an hour. The park is big enough to have a so called vehicle driving around that looks like a train. Rizal Park includes a monument, a Chinese garden and Japanese garden, fields with plants and trees, statues and even a day care center. If this al isn’t enough then there is an open air auditorium too for live events. Rizal Park is a free wifi zone.

Risal Park tourist trainThe most interesting spot within Rizal Park you could say is the execution spot of Jose Rizal who was a physician, writer, propagandist and patriot. Rizal got executed on these grounds just after 7 am in the morning on Dec 30 1896 by an 8 man squad of Philippino riflemen of the 70th infantry regiment who worked for the Spanish colonial army. There were several witnesses of this public execution.

Rizal’s martyrdom inspired many Philippino’s in their struggle for freedom. A small ticket fee of 20 peso ($0.40) is charged to enter the small execution compound but the rest of the park is free to walk. At the execution spot there are sculptures that resemble the happening of that day in time.

Rizal Monument

Risal Park monumentPublic land was granted through some act for the Rizal Monument that was built in 1901. The monument, entitled Motto Stella, was the entry of a Swiss sculptor to the international design contest. The monument was constructed between 1905 – 1907 of bronze and granite.

Risal Park execution spotIn 1912 the remains of Jose Rizal were transferred to the base of the monument on 30 Dec. Exactly 1 year later unveiled and in that same year of 2013 the monument was declared a national cultural treasure and a national monument.

Republic / Independence Monument

Risal Park monumentAt the edge of the park is the independence monument. The monument is nothing more than a large pole in the air with the national flag on it. But it was on that spot at exactly 9.15 am 1946 that the Republic of Philippines was inaugurated by proclamation of Harry Truman, the president of the U.S. at the time. This through the U.S high commissioner to the Philippines.

Risal Park independence monumentYou can wonder if it’s a coincidence that a bronze bull stands nearby the monument. An exact copy of the one you can find on Wall Street and which is some sign of capitalism.

Cathedral Basilica

Risal Park cathedralThe Cathedral Basilica of Manila is on a short walking distance from Fort Santiago. Around this area there are several horses with carriages that offer a historical tour. The cathedral got visit from pope Francis on January 16, 2015 when on a 4 day visit. He celebrated the Holy Eucharist for bishops and others. The cathedral was just newly restored. Pope Francis was the third pope to celebrate the Holy Eucharist after pope Paul VI in 1970 and pope John Paul II in 1981. The last one has an in memoriam placard on the basilica. The cathedral is free of entry. Some sellers outside are selling rosemary’s and other souvenirs.

Risal Park catrhdral and horse carriagesIn case you like to follow any services, they are set by times. To follow a mass you can go at 7.30 am or 12.10 pm during weekdays. On Saturdays at 7.30 am and on Sundays 7 am, 8.30 am, 10 am, 11.30 am and 6 pm. For baptizing and communal the time is Sundays at 12.30 pm. Weddings go by reservation and healings on Saturdays after 7.30 am. What’s left are the confessions. These can be done Wednesdays and Fridays 12.10 pm and Sundays at the same times as the mass is.

Other buildings

Risal Park statue Charles 4 King of SpainThe area with the basilica is called Intramuros, which is a Special historical district within Manila. This district is free of traffic. You can do the horse tour. Beside the cathedral basilica it has some more monumental buildings. The white building that is The Cabildo is of historical importance.

Risal Park Bahay TsinoyAnother old design building is the Bahay Tsinoy. Opposite the cathedral is a statue of Charles VI, King of Spain. Ruler between 1788 and 1808. He introduced the vaccine for smallpox in the Philippines. Declared a national cultural treasure in 2016.

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