Rizal Park © Maynard Rabanal
Rizal Park is named for the Philippine writer, philosopher and anti-colonialist, Dr Jose Rizal, whose execution is 1896 sparked the Philippine Revolution. The country held its Declaration of Philippine Independence from American rule in the park in 1946, and has always favoured the venue for political rallies. In many ways, it remains a symbol of Filipino pride and independence. It's also one of the largest parks in Southeast Asia, and a favourite outdoor venue for Manila's residents. The area features a chess plaza, a skating rink, a children's playground, an aquarium, a planetarium and many ornamental gardens. Visitors will also find some museums and a miniature, recreated Philippine archipelago. A sound and light exhibit of Dr Jose Rizal's martyrdom is displayed after sunset. Martial arts classes and various fitness groups use the area every morning, while Sundays involve a free concert in the open-air auditorium. All in all, Rizal Park is a wonderful place for tourists to soak up a little of Manila's everyday life, in a lush and beautiful natural setting.