Monday, August 29, 2011

In Focus: Rizal Park

A People's Park.


The old Iligan public plaza was a landmark that would have been Iligan's premier historical relic today had it not been demolished in 1965 to give way to a more contemporary scheme of park structure.

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The plaza, nestled in the heart of the city, was second home to many of us in as many activities conceivable. It was a people's park through and through. Pretty much like a minuscule version of London's Hyde Park, the plaza played host to a thousand and one other forms of leisure for city residents. It was the most popular haven for early morning strollers and Sunday promenaders, a lucrative marketplace for itinerant peddlers and hawkers, and the most affordable destination for lovers' rendezvous. Its vastness offered free air space for us to fly our home-made kites. The benches under the mango and mabolo trees were also the regular venues for family gatherings on moonlit nights. The concrete lamp posts in the park provided kids like us a convenient station for games of catch-and-go. One could never lay claim to being an initiated plaza regular if he had not experienced the "electrifying shock" of his life derived from touching a short-circuited lamp post while at play.

Rizal Park to Public Plaza to Rizal Park

The Iligan public plaza has undergone several facelifts under different city administrations through the years. The man-sized Rizal statue was removed some years ago. But now the national hero is back at the park. A bronze bust of Rizal has been put in place. And now, the plaza has been transformed into a beautiful promenade ideal for strolling. The once bare pebble ground has been paved with marble tiles all over the entire interior ground. It's now spic and span and well lighted at night. There's also a small tower that houses the Iligan City Tourism Information Center under which are public comfort rooms for men and women.

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Iligan City Public Plaza today, now fast being known as "Rizal Park" its original name.
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