Lakbay Rizal – Metro Manila: Paco Park
If not for the diligence of Narcisa, Jose Rizal’s sister, the Philippines would not have been able to give proper burial to its beloved national hero. After Rizal was executed at Bagumbayan on December 30, 1896, his body was then secretly carried away and then buried in an unmarked grave at the Paco Park. At that time, this served as the municipal cemetery for the Spanish aristocrats and elites. It stands out from other cemeteries too because of its circular shape.
Narcisa looked for Rizal’s grave in various cemeteries but to no avail. When she passed by Paco, she noticed that there were many guardia civil stationed outside the gate. This clue led her to a grave with freshly-turned earth. She then tipped the gravedigger to identify the site with a plaque inscribed with ‘RPJ,’ her brother’s initials in reverse.
However, the remains of Rizal are no longer interred there today as these were transferred to Teodora Alonzo’s house in Binondo in 1898. And in 1913, a monument designed by Richard Kissling was erected at Bagumbayan which eventually became Rizal’s final resting place.
Paco Park today has become more than just a place for the departed. Photographers frequent this place for its architecture and the old niches. Musical concerts and even high-profile weddings are often held here.
With all its history and unique beauty, it is indeed worth a curious visit in Manila.
The stamp for this leg of the Lakbay Rizal @150 could be obtained at Paco Park office. They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The quickest way to get to the park would be via the United Nations station of the LRT-1 line. Other options in getting there are provided here.