Sunday, December 30, 2007


The Republic is commemorating the 111th death anniversary of Jose Rizal today. I have had the chance to pass through the Luneta from DOT and took some shots of the places I passed by. The extensive coverage will come soon, but for now these will do.

The monument - also a tomb - is being cleaned for the annual commemoration. The President is expected to offer a wreath here on the 30th on behalf of a grateful nation.

The Philippine map relief which was recently cleaned and repainted by artists belonging to the advocacy movement RockEd. It still needs extensive renovation and cleaning.

A marker across the Luneta on the grounds of the Quirino Granstand marking Kilometer Zero. All distance measurements for the entire archipelago begins here.

A clean and wide Roxas Boulevard separates Luneta from the Quirino Grandstand. You can a see a little bit of the Manila Hotel in the background.

Luneta is the country's premier national park. As such, droves of people spend their weekends here to unwind and spend time with their families.

The park is a favorite of couples and lovers who shun the expense of staying in malls. Here, there is piped-in music, fresh air, and the wonderful view. The gate in the background leads to the Chinese Garden, a gift to commemorate Sino-Philippine friendship.

A wide expanse of green surrounds the Rizal monument. The Luneta looks so impressive from here, but years of neglect has actually taken its toll on its many attractions. You can feel the age taking over and the sorry state of its many mini-parks can hurt one's sensibilities.

To begin with, somebody should shoot the garden stylist for this kitschy work. I mean, huge concrete swans as planters?! I wonder if the the fountains are still working. It would be so lovely if they still are. The Rizal Monument is far down the reflecting pool (which does not reflect anything). Have you seen the gardens lately? You would die of a heart attack at the sight. Concrete monkeys (of the see-hear-say-no-evil variety) are scattered everywhere!!!

The Philippine Deep portion of the relief map.

There's a section of pigeon houses at the park. There are about 5 of these houses.

Colorful flags and busts of Philippine heroes line the major avenues of the park.

And the greatest travesty of them all, the Lapu Lapu statue which was donated by the Koreans during the term of DOT Secretary Richard Gordon. It was dismantled a few months after it was put up to prevent it from being toppled over by a passing typhoon. It used to sport a gold finish, but is now looking gray and dull. It replaced a sad-looking Castrillo monument which shows a mother holding a dead son (yet again). I wonder where they moved that to. That monument also replaced an art deco globe which was probably the most magnificent fountain in all of Manila during its hey day. No idea where it was kept as well. Anyway, Happy Rizal Day everyone!

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