If you were born before the turn of the Millennium, you might have spent leisure time not inside the malls but parks like Luneta.These were the original places of travel and fun. These places were the most "in" back in the days but with the age of malls and the rising crime rate at parks caused the demise of these parks especially Luneta.
We know that upon this place, Jose Rizal, the national hero, was sentenced to death by firing squad on December 30, 1986. His remains was initially placed in Paco Cemetery but was transferred back to Bagumbayan and was named Luneta because of the cresent shape which in french is called lunette .
When I was young, our family does go here, but there were a time that my mother was victimized by a pickpocket which made me look at Luneta as a place of crime and homeless people.
But even with those incidents, I am still very hopeful that Rizal Park can regain its former glory as the premiere park for all. Were young and old, rich and poor are on the common ground. The park is a very vital part of history itself as it was the site of many events held outside Intramuros, a place for socializing Filipino, Chinese traders , and Spanish bound to Intramuros. The park itself is the biggest in the country and according to my research is the biggest in Southeast Asia.
The park also has made infamous news last year, but surprisingly the National Parks Development committee made a concrete action to save the beloved park from decay and bring back the Pinoy and foreign tourist back and enjoy the park. This was also boosted with the opening of the newest feature of Luneta, the Manila Ocean Park.
Noticable changes were visible when I also visited the park on several occasions also when visiting PLM. And as a history and tourism freak, I do take note what are the important places and the history of each marker that they were renovating. My hope for the park made me happy and see a better future for it. With some of its biggest improvements would be the musical fountain which features a laser light show which was innagurated on new year's eve of 2011. The first time for the park to celebrate the occasion in the new millennium.
It was fun to also see new attractions for the park like the tramvia, or train service that goes around the park and the Manila Ocean Park. The Rizal Park marker at the start of the park facing taft avenue was also renovated and was lifted up with a more sophisticated look. And behind it is the relief map of the Philippines, or what I call the visual map of the Philippines. This part is my favorite but was one of the most neglected feature of the park because it would help up see what the Philippines look like with all its geographic features and boarders. However, as part of the rehabilitation and redevelopment plan, it will be revived with a walkable path to get a closer look at the map and also planned to have more details like places Jose Rizal went to, and also fault lines markers and geographic markers courtesy of the Department of Science and Technology.
We should not also forget Lapu-lapu who stands at the middle of the circular marker which was a gift from the republic of Korea and his monument is taller and bigger than rizal. This monument was one of the things where the redevelopment began a few years ago. And now it is expected to have more to be expected especially when they announced more surprises on Independence day on June 12 and also the 150th birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal on June 19th.
With the overwhelmingly amazing facts that is happening to Rizal Park, I think its time for us to go back to our parks and appreciate more history and nature that we cannot see in malls. Its time to bring family bonding back to open spaces and also get to enjoy more sights and sounds that we can enjoy even inside the city. I would like to give my kudos to the NPDC for making great efforts for this project and will also support this to promote history and tourism for today and the next generations ahead.