In the Philippines, probably the most popular, most visited, most guarded and most photographed monument is the monument of Jose Rizal in Luneta.
We know that Rizal has died fighting for the freedom of our country. He is considered our national hero. He’s even admired and honored by people from the other parts of the world.
His monument in Rizal Park or Luneta is not only built with precious metal and stone, but it also housed his remains. Hence, every Filipino should learn how to give honor and respect to this important landmark in the Philippines.
To grow the interest and care of many Filipinos about the monument, here are some facts everyone should know about the monument of Rizal and Luneta Park.
1. The Rizal Monument in Luneta was planned and constructed during the American colonial period of the Philippines through Act No. 243 which was approved by the United States Philippine Commission by the authority of the United States President Theodore Roosevelt on September 28, 1901.
2. The act also created a committee for raising the funds by subscription and for causing the erection of the monument. The committee consisted of Pascual Poblete, Paciano Rizal (José’s brother), Juan Tuason, Teodoro R. Yangco, Mariano Limjap, Máximo Paterno, Ramón Genato, Tomás G. del Rosario, and Ariston Bautista.
3. The committee held an international design competition and invited sculptors from Europe and United States to design the monument of Rizal. The estimated cost of the monument was ₱100,000. The competition with the first prize of ₱ 5,000.00 was won by Carlos Nicoli of Carrara of Italy for his scaled plaster model titled “Al Mártir de Bagumbayan” (To the Martyr of Bagumbayan). However, the contract was awarded to second-placer Swiss sculptor named Richard Kissling for his “Motto Stella” (Guiding Star).
4. The original title of Rizal Monument is Motto Stella (Latin words) or “guiding star” – the title given by its designer Swiss sculptor, Richard Kissling.
5. The Rizal monument was unveiled on December 30, 1913 during Jose Rizal’s 17th death anniversary. It makes the monument more than 100 years old now!
6. The Rizal monument in Luneta is composed of a standing bronze sculpture of Rizal, with an obelisk as his backdrop, set on a granite stone base which his remains are interred inside. The height of the monument is 12.7 meters or 42 feet.
7. The monument in Luneta portrays Rizal in overcoat holding a book that represents his novels Noli Me Tángere and El filibusterismo. The obelisk is commonly understood as Rizal’s masonic background while the three stars stand for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The figures at the back of the monument, such as leaves and a pot, are said to symbolize the Philippines’ natural resources. The figures beside Rizal (a mother rearing her child and two young boys reading) signify family and education.
8. There’s a plaque on the monument’s front pedestal that reads: “To the memory of José Rizal, patriot and martyr, executed on Bagumbayan Field December Thirtieth 1896. This monument is dedicated by the people of the Philippine Islands”.
9. The monument of Rizal in Luneta is the most securely guarded public monument in the Philippines. The perimeter of the monument is guarded continuously by the Philippine Marine Corps’ Marine Security and Escort Group.
10. The exact location where Rizal was executed is about 100 meters north-northwest of the monument. Life-size dioramas depicting his final moments can be seen on the area.
11. Rizal Monument and Rizal Park are administered by the National Parks Development Committee, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism.
12. The first Rizal monument was erected in Daet, Camarines Norte in 1898. The 20-foot high stone edifice was designed by Lt. Colonel Antonio Sanz, who is also Mason.
13. The tallest Rizal monument in the world is a 7.9 meter (26 feet) bronze statue located in Sta. Cruz, Laguna. It was unveiled during the opening of Palarong Pambansa 2014. The monument was designed by sculptor Toym Imao, son of National Artist For Sculpture Abdulmari Asia Imao. Visit this page to see the monument.
14. The biggest monument of Rizal in the world is in Calamba, Laguna. The statue of Rizal stands at 22 feet (6.7 meters). It is placed on top of a 2.8 meter podium consisting of a 15-step stairway which symbolizes one decade since Rizal was born in 1861. It also has a granite pedestal of 7.87 feet and a 13.12 feet circular stairway base. The monument’s total height is 43 feet and is located at The Plaza, a 6.7 hectares park in front of the Calamba City Hall. The statue was sculpted by Jonas Roces.
15. There is an exact replica of the Rizal Monument in Madrid, Spain at the junction of Avenida de Las Islas Filipinas and Calle Santander.
16. Aside from the monument of Rizal in Madrid Spain, there are also monuments of Rizal in Wilhelmsfeld (Germany), Jinjiang, Fujian (China), Cherry Hill Township (New Jersey), San Diego (California), and Seattle (Washington), Reforma Avenue in Mexico City (Mexico), La Molina in Lima ( Peru), Litomerice (Czech Republic), and Singapore.
17. There are at least 118 Rizal monuments in the Philippines.
18. Perhaps the weirdest and most unique monument of Rizal is the monument located in Catbalogan City, Samar. The monument is a bust of Rizal, on the top of his two novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo which are carried by three muscular men who are all naked except for a leaf that covers their frontal private parts. The monument was sculptured by Miguel Alcazar, a native of Catbalogan.
19. In 2012, DM Consunji Inc. (DCMI), by securing a zoning permit, started constructing Torre de Manila in a lot along Taft Avenue. The Torre de Manila has been considered as a photo bomber of the monument of Rizal by many citizens, especially heritage conservationists. The Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order on the construction of the said project on June 17, 2015.
20. The Rizal Monument, and the park that cradled it, was at the heart of a master urban architectural plan for the capital of the Philippines, devised by the Chicago architect and city planner Daniel Burnham in 1905.
Facts about Luneta Park
21. Luneta comes from the word “lunette” which means crescent moon – the shape of the park. The park is also regarded as “Manila’s green lung”. It is located next to Manila’s Intramuros, the historic walled city. Luneta Park has been renamed to Rizal Park in 1913 to pay tribute to Dr. Jose Rizal, although many Filipinos still call it today as Luneta or Luneta Park.
22. Vatican City can fit inside Rizal Park. The Vatican has an area of 44 hectares compared with Rizal Park’s 58 hectares. Rizal Park or Luneta Park is considered one of the largest urban park in Asia.
23. In 1872, Father Burgos, Fr. Gomez and Fr. Zamora were executed by garrote in Luneta. Not known by many, there is a Gomburza marker at Luneta Park.
24. The tallest flagpole in the Philippines is the 150 feet tall “The Independence Flagpole”, which is located in front of the Rizal Monument in Luneta. Just across the flagpole you can find the marble marker with a Kilometer Zero (KM 0), the point of origin for measuring the distance going to provinces and cities in the country.
25. A forty-foot statue of Lapu-Lapu or the Statue of the Sentinel of Freedom can also be seen at the Teodoro F. Valencia Circle in Rizal Park. The P15-million brass statue was a gift by the Korean Freedom League as appreciation and to honor the memory of freedom-loving Filipinos who helped during the Korean War in the early 1950s. The statue was sculpted by artist Juan Sajid Imao.
History of Rizal Park – Nationalparks.ph
Rizal Monuments in the Philippines – Joserizal.com
The story of the Rizal Monument – Myrizal150.com
Rizal Monuments around the World – Inquirer
Riza Monument – Wikipedia
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