After living in the city for 30 years, EC moved to the countryside. He writes about life in the mountains, dogs, plants, and cooking.
Rizal Park: National Park and National 'Tambayan' of Filipinos
The Filipino term ‘tambayan’ means a place to hang out or unwind with a group of families, friends, and acquaintances.
The most common ‘tambayan’ venues in the Philippines are along the street gutters and in front of local ‘sari-sari’ (retail) stores, where most teenage boys squatted and huddled together while exchanging noisy jokes and exaggerated tips for favorite online games. They would also furtively share cigarettes and liquor and contact numbers of girls. Most street hangers-out are called ‘istambay’. How down-to-earth!
The best hanging-out places in Manila are easy to find, reasonably-priced, and -- friendly. So that whenever you have a need to unwind or relax, you can ride anything: a taxi, an electric train, a bus, a jeepney, or even a ‘pedicab’ (bicycle with a carriage attached to the right side).
The best destination to go hanging-out? The Rizal Park! Also affectionately known as Luneta.
Low-Cost Hanging-Out Places for the Budget-Conscious
The Rizal Park, or affectionately called ‘Luneta Park’, is located in the heart of Manila. It is free of charge, except for some enclosed areas that offer special attractions and charge minimal entrance fees. Every weekend families would bring the kids to relax and play with. The park named after the Philippines’ National Hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal is a hodge-podge of the old and modern Filipino culture.
Surrounded by financial, commercial, industrial, and institutional establishments, the bustling park is a daily witness to the spectacular and romantic Manila Bay sunset. Couples are recommended to ride the colorful and old-world calesa (a horse-drawn carriage) to intensify the experience of promenading along the sea at dusk.
The Rizal Park is indeed an oasis of fun, recreation, and
history. The place is so big you need several days to explore it!
Change of Guards At Rizal Park in Manila Phillippines
Jose Rizal Execution
My Most Memorable Pedicab Ride Happened in Luneta
One time, I had a yen for going to Luneta to revisit old childhood playgrounds. It was several years since I last visited the biggest park in Manila so I was momentarily overwhelmed by lots of new sights and sounds after leaving the bus.
At first glance, the pedicab driver looked elderly. His face was wrinkled and his mouth toothless. But when he started pedaling - whoa - I started holding my heart inside my throat.
The driver, who seemed like a senior citizen, was a muscular and fearless navigator of old Manila streets.
He crossed the sidewalks and mini-parks to avoid the main roads and, obviously, the traffic enforcers.
The small sidecar was made of spindly steel bars welded together. I hear rickety noises every time we turned sharp corners. Both the bicycle and the steel cart were protesting loudly against the abusive use but the driver remained hell-bent on arriving to my destination.
After twenty minutes of the most speedy and bumpy ride of my life, I saw the tip of the Rizal Monument proudly pointing to the blue and white skies. To reach it, we had to cross a wide street first.
Amazingly, most cars and trucks gave way to us and to other pedicabs as well. It seemed pedicab drivers earned respect maybe because they use only their strong legs. No gas, no pollution.
The calesa, a wooded cart pulled by a horse, was another no-pollution ride. After several hours of exploring the lush gardens and various features of Luneta, I decided to ride the calesa. It was a relaxing one-hour ride. I arrived sedately at the bus terminal.
There are lots of interesting stuffs are waiting to be gawked at inside and around the Rizal Park. Visitors often need several days to enjoy each and every attraction listed below.
- National Museum of the Filipino People (and Department of Tourism) Building
- Philippine Flagpole (also referred to as ‘kilometer zero’)
- Rizal Monument
- Quirino Grandstand
- Manila Bay
- Manila Hotel
- Army Navy Club
- Gallery of National Heroes
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Plaza (the first Filipino saint)
- Lights and Sound of Rizal
- The Martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal
- Lights and Sound Complex (consists of Rizal’s mural, Gomburza marker, and Rizal fountain)
- Artists’ Haven
- National Historical Institute
- National Library
- Central Lagoon
- Chinese Garden
- Open-Air Auditorium, Planetarium
- Rizal Park Library
- Masscom Library
- Chess Plaza
- Flower Clock
- Japanese Garden
- 27-foot Cascade
- Butterfly Pavilion
- National Museum
- Skating Rink
- Plaza Olivia Salamanca (first Filipino woman physician)
- Children’s Playground
- Relief Map
- Halamanang Pilipino (Filipino Garden)
EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on March 13, 2011:
Thank you for visiting here, jill of alltrades! :D
jill of alltrades from Philippines on March 13, 2011:
It's been a long time since I last visited Luneta. Your hub reminded me of fun memories. Maybe I should visit again one of these days!
Thanks for this!
EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on November 12, 2010:
Thank you for a very articulate comment. Jose Rizal's two novels "Noli Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo" had enlightened my way of thinking after reading them. Obviously, our national hero is my favorite hero. :)
Lita C. Malicdem from Philippines on November 11, 2010:
I viewed the video of our National Hero-Jose P. Rizal's execution. The players played the reenactment well especially actor, Cesar Montano.
I only have one comment- some of our history books described Rizal to have moved around and faced his executioners at the sound of "fuego" to receive the fatal shots to bring to his grave his plea of innocence- He was NOT A TRAITOR. I was once a teacher and that's what I emphasized in my
history class. Good work. Our young must know this part of our shining history. Thank you for sharing this.
EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on October 15, 2010:
Thank you, quicksand :D The promotional aspect is quite incidental. This hub was a peek to my happy childhood when I and my family still had time to hang-out in the Luneta Park. I guess, I just missed being a child. lol. Many thanks, too!
quicksand on October 15, 2010:
Your Majesty, you have posted some great pictures. I am sure the Tourism Industry in the Phillipines will benefit a great deal via your promotional efforts.
Good luck and many thanks to you!
EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on September 30, 2010:
Thank you for such a warm comment, DjBryle :D
DjBryle from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =) on September 30, 2010:
Nice one... this hub has warmed my heart! Great pics and videos too! Manila, Manila... there's no place like Manila! Voted up! Thanks for sharing! =)