Morning walks at Rizal Park

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By Mimi Olarga

Points of View

Saturday, June 7, 2014


AS WE had just celebrated the National Heritage Month last May, here are my insights from the 10 mornings I spent walking around Rizal Park along Roxas Boulevard in Manila recently.

My lodging place is just across Rizal Park, and this offered me a great opportunity for an early walk-and-jog at Rizal Park, colloquially known as Luneta Park or Liwasan.

With plenty of joggers and runners around the park, it was a good enough motivation for me to reach or even exceed my pace.

Renovations were made by the National Parks Development Committee at the Rizal Park. One of these is the refurbished dancing musical fountain situated in a very wide pool (40 meters by 100 meters).

My early morning cardio activity has become quite refreshing because of the majestic sight of the dancing waters. I was not the only one enchanted by the dancing fountain, but also most of the park’s visitors. Many locals and tourists take their photos with the fountain.

Tai-chi and zumba enthusiasts are also practicing at the Rizal Park.

Assured by a higher probability that no one at the park knew me, I gamely joined the three groups who actively did their stretching and dancing moves.

More importantly, I re-learned my lessons in history and arts. Not only did I come to appreciate the concrete raised-relief map of our country, which even includes Scarborough Shoal and the Kalayaan Islands, in the middle of a man-made lake, but I also came to know, as inscribed in the plaque, that the Lapu-lapu monument was a gift of the people of Korea to us in honor of the Filipino people who helped them during the Korean war.

With proximity in distance and the luxury of time (I got to report 8:30 a.m. to the seminar with no worry of the hustle and bustle of the traffic) my walk- and-jog allowed me to traverse the three blocks of the park up to Quirino Grandstand.

This allowed me get acquainted with landmarks like the La Madre Filipina, the Open Air Auditorium, the Japanese and Chinese Gardens, the Diorama of Rizal Martyrdom, the Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion up to Kilometer Zero marker in front of the memorial clock.

Kilometer is located in front of the Rizal Monument. It serves as the point from which all road distances from Manila are measured.

My leisurely run-and walk gave me time to linger and read the markers. I learned here that the Independence Flagpole is the highest flagpole in the country—standing 46 meters high.

On other mornings, I simply marveled at families having their breakfast picnics on shady areas, or watched children frolic inside the playground.

My entrance to the Kalinangan ng Sining gave me a glimpse of a mini–haven for artists, and I enjoyed their sculptures.

Truly, my morning walks at Rizal Park were one haven of fortitude and respite.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 07, 2014.

Lifestyle

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