Sunday, December 25, 2011

Rizal Passport: Manila and Intramuros Tour

My friends decided one weekend that we use our Rizal Passport that I got from the Department of Tourism Office a few months back. We planned to get all the Manila stamp site locations stamped at that day and so, early morning, we met up at UN Avenue Station in Manila to begin our day's adventure.

The Lakbay Rizal Project is from the DOT wherein they are promoting the areas where our National Hero had been on his life. The goal is to get all the locations stamped and these locations are all over the Philippines. It started last June as we all commemorate Rizal's 150th birthday and from that period up to a year, the project will end giving the first to complete all locations a special prize. At first I wanted to win but as priorities and schedule were demanding, I just wanted to try if I could get as many stamps as I can.

Rizal Monument

We started at the Rizal Park. There are three locations here, First is the Rizal Monument where all people can see being guarded 24/7. Most of the tourists go here to take pictures. It is where they say Rizal's body is buried here after years of being buried on other locations. It is guarded 24/7 and is the main landmark of Rizal Park.

Execution Site

The second one is the Rizal Execution Site (Light and Sound Museum). It is located at the left side of the Rizal Monument if you are facing it. It has a PHP40 entrance fee and they have a show every night. At the time we were there, it didn't have any show or program. As you enter the place, you will see large monuments of Rizal and the guards and other characters in his execution. It is placed in a large open area and I think it is the main highlight of the show. It tells the story of Rizal's execution here.

Rizal Fountain

The third site is the Rizal Fountain which is on the right side of the Rizal Monument just opposite the Light and Sound Museum. It was a fountain from Germany where they say that Rizal regularly hang out whenever he is writing the final chapters of Noli Me Tangere. It was brought here from Germany as a gift to the Philippines. Today, it is placed at the Rizal Park for the people to view.

Pamantasan  ng Lungsod ng Maynila - Rizal Trial Site
After we went to the office in Rizal Park,we went to Intramuros to get the other locations stamped. We first went to Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila where the it was the Trial site of Rizal. We got the stamp inside the campus where the guards already knew what to do. They immediately assisted us on this.

Ateneo De Manila Site

After that, we went to Anda Street. We were almost lost but thanks to mu GPS, we get to the next location which is the Site of the Ateneo Municipal de Manila where Rizal studied during his high school. It is now the DOT Clamshell where they hold other events. A marker is placed at the front of this site as an indicator that the structure once was there.

UST Site - stamped!

After that, it started raining but we continued to look for the next stamp site. It is the Site of the University of Santo Tomas where it is now the Banco Filipino Building. Since it was already raining, we couldn't look much further for the marker and we went to the stamp area immediately. This is where he studied medicine under the Dominicans. UST is now located at another location (España, Manila) and the building is now occupied by Banco Filipino.

Rizal's Prison Cell

Rizal Shrine

After that, we proceeded to Fort Santiago where two stamp sites were located. It is the Chapel Cell of Rizal and Prison Cell and Rizal Shrine. the stamp site is located at the information center at the gates of Fort Santiago. You need to pay an entrance fee of PHP75 upon entry here and you can explore the place. We went inside and took photos of the shrine as well as the other attractions there. This is where Rizal was detained as he went on trial before he was executed. There is a museum dedicated to him here where you can see his works and some other stuff about him.

Rizal's Burial Site

It was getting late but we are still one item away to complete the list. We immediately got out of Fort Santiago and hailed a cab and asked to get us to Paco Park to get our last stamp for the day. It is scheduled to close at 5pm and we got there just in time. They were already closed but we begged for them to stamp our passports. You need to pay an entrance fee but since it was already late, we didn't pay. We just went to the small chapel and offered a short prayer. After that, we went around the cemetery around it and we saw the shrine dedicated to Rizal. This is here Rizal's body was buried after the execution. The marker indicated a jumbled initial of him so that people will not know it was him and prevent them from stealing his body. Now, his remains lies on the Rizal Monument we went to early this day.

Lakbay Rizal Project

It was a tiring day but it was nice to have accomplished what we have done in a short period of time. It was also nice to know more about our National Hero, Rizal and that once, years back, he also walked the path that we walked. It makes us realize that he once lived and fought for our freedom. We hoped to complete the other sites at our Rizal Passport but most involve traveling through air and it means it is quite expensive. For now, we are all proud of what we accomplished. It may be a long way to go before we complete the passport but at least we had started it this day.

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