Celebrating the centenary of the Rizal monument
MANILA, Philippines – The Rizal monument at Luneta Park in Manila is many things to many people. It is a source of livelihood for the photographers, a tourist destination for foreigners, a dating venue for lovers, and a Sunday picnic place for families. In recent history, the Luneta park has also been a witness to an indignant public that made a collective stand against corruption.
Beyond being a landmark, the Rizal monument also serves as “a de facto symbol of our nationhood.” Built as the Jose Rizal’s tomb, the landmark was at the core of events that shaped the country’s history and independence.
On Monday, December 30, the country marked the 100th year of the Rizal monument and the 117th anniversary of the national hero’s martyrdom.
To commemorate the day, www.gov.ph, the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines published a web essay on the origins and enduring legacy of the statue. The page resulted from the close collaboration of National Historical Institute, the National Parks Development Committee, the National Library architectural scholars, historians, and heritage enthusiasts.
“We invite our fellow citizens to reflect on how his legacy has reverberated throughout our people’s collective narrative,” said Presidential Spokesman Abigail Valte.
Roots of Luneta
The web essay allows one to navigate through time as it traces back to the Spanish period the roots of the Luneta Park. It explains the historical context and architecture of Intramuros.
Act No. 243 allowed the usage of the public land in Luneta for the building of Rizal’s statue. On the other hand, Act No. 243 officially assigned the monument as his tomb. Years after Rizal’s death, the monument was erected into place.
Aside from the detailed history of the monument, the page also features layered maps of Luneta, “tracing the evolution of the area over time, to provide a greater context to the landscape cradling the Rizal monument.”
In accordance to Act No. 229, all government agencies are required to lower the Philippine flag to half mast in commemoration of Jose Rizal. The same law also forbids horse racing, Jai Alai games, and cockfighting on December 30. – with report from Raisa Serafica/Rappler.com