Nov 19, 2011

Lakbay Jose Rizal Heritage Trail: Rizal Monument, Rizal Park

                Hello readers. This is it – the start of my Lakbay Jose Rizal Heritage Travel. This post has long been overdue. But because of the recent controversy regarding the “no shoot policy” in Rizal Park and Fort Santiago I think I have to share this now.
                I have this once in a lifetime chance of going near the Rizal Monument at Rizal Park in Manila 5 months ago. Not just touch the mausoleum, but actually photograph it point blank. Incidentally, this was during the 150th Birthday celebration of Dr. Jose Rizal last June 19, 2011.
            The Rizal Monument was planned and constructed during the American colonial period of the Philippines in the early 20th century.
             Built by virtue of the United States Philippine Commission  Act No. 243, dated September 28, 1901, the Rizal monument was approved by no less than United States President Theodore Roosevelt. The act stipulated the allocation of land in the Luneta to build the memorial, near where Rizal fell when he was executed by the Spaniards on December 30, 1896. It also specified that the monument bear the statue of Rizal, as well as serve as the final resting place of his remains. To fund the project, a Rizal committee was set up to raise funds from public solicitations. The committee—whose members included Paciano Rizal (Rizal’s brother), and Tagalog novelist Pascual Poblete–was also tasked to hold a design contest for the future monument.
             Famous Italian Carlo Nicoli of Carrara, Italy won the design  competition with bozeto no.21  entitled “Al Martir de Bagumbayan”. However, for some reason the contract went instead to second-prize winner Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling, for his bozeto No. 9 entitled “Motto Stella.
             On the sixteenth death anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal on December 30, 1912, as the monument was nearing completion, the remains of the national hero was transferred through a solemn procession from the Ayuntamiento to the Rizal monument. A year later, on December 30, 1913, the monument was unveiled to the public.
              Now going back to the issue about the “no shoot policy”, the  Department of Tourism (DOT) together with the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) and Intramuros Administration (IA) released an official statement last Nov. 16, 2011 that there is no “no shoot policy” implemented at the two historical parks within the City of Manila. The NPDC and IA together with DOT administered the Rizal Monument as well as the whole Rizal Park.
              The issue about the “No shoot policy” I believe has been overblown. I’ve been to Rizal Park many times and there are regular photographers (with professional cameras) in site. The security guards/tourism police don’t actually allow photographers go beyond the perimeter “fence” – about 20 meters from the mausoleum. But that’s just it, we can shoot anytime but not for commercial purposes, which is understandable. Even though it’s a public park, there are still processes to follow.
            Now going back to the Lakbay Jose Rizal Heritage Trail, this is just  my first post of the actual places on the passport. No better way to start the trail than to the Philippines’ “zero” kilometer mark.
             I was supposed to go to Calamba, Laguna that day for the unveiling of the tallest Rizal Monument in the world, but due to very bad weather I decided to just go to the Rizal Park instead. Good choice for me, because they let people go beyond the "fence" to offer flowers and to take pictures. I was able to go around the monument and took a shot of every side of it.

                A rare opportunity indeed and I wasted no time. Fortunately the rain stopped a bit and I was able to go around Rizal Park(my first actually). And the most important thing, I got this:
                  One down, 26 places to go....;-)


  1. Hello, Is it a coincidence that your post is about Luneta Park and I just started a blog entitled Luneta? I will also post my photos later, maybe by tommorow.

    Pls come and visit and let us exchange link.

  2. Just dropped by your blog... haha... this is a series... I just started at the zero kilometer mark to start my journey around Jose Rizal's heritage trail...