The highlight of my summer vacation stay in Manila was my visit to Rizal Park. I think all Filipinos ought to see this place and spend some time admiring the artwork, examining the structures, and reliving the country’s history presented in the many exhibits. I entered the walled city called Intramuros with awe and great excitement. The towering walls appeared old, dark and looming and in some spots crumbling. There were splotches of green moss thriving in some places. The heat and humidity do a splendid job of eroding even the mightiest brick and mortar structures ever built by man. This fungi-action aging process became very clear as I entered the pavilion. The dank smell of mold and mildew assaulted my nose. I guess that was part of the draw… realism the place provides for the tourist and spectator to enjoy.
Termite eaten wood framed the old pictures hanging on the walls. The black and white photographs themselves must have been taken with old daguerreotype. What stories of bygone days they tell. Their voices may be mute but they tell of the days when the Spaniard Conquistadors ruled the islands and demanded blind loyalty and allegiance to the King of Spain. I believe this is what got Dr Jose Rizal, our Philippine National Hero killed – his refusal to personally submit to Spanish subjugation – and his rallying cry to all the Filipino people to revolt. I almost became teary eyed when I saw his famous poem, Mi Ultimo Adios, presented on the wall.
But this last photo reenacting the death of Dr Jose Rizal by firing squad is the most poignant of all the show photographs. I must have spent a couple of hours just reflecting on his personal sacrifice all because he wanted the Philippines to be free. All in all, I will always remember my visit to Rizal Park. What a high point it was to my vacation visit to the great city of Manila. Everybody should go visit Rizal Park. There is so much history, tradition, culture, and heritage to see.