24 August 2012

{Road Trip} Paco Park, Manila

Two weeks ago, Don, Julia and I went to Paco Park for our Sunday afternoon walk.  I heard about Paco Park from my friends but was very hesitant because it is in Paco, Manila.  I googled it, saw some photos online and convinced Don to check it out.

I seriously did not know that Paco Park used to be a cemetery.  Don had an inkling but didn't tell me because he is certain I'd back out.  It's not like Fort Santiago but you can see the efforts of National Parks Development Committe (NPDC) to preserve and maintain the historic park.

Yes, the park is indeed historic and I am shamefully clueless about it.  So again, I googled.  Here are some of our photos with a few things I learned about Paco Park: (Captions in italics are from Wikipedia)

Paco Park was originally a municipal cemetery for the rich Spanish aristocrats and their families who resided in Old Manila and Intramuros during the Spanish colonial era.
We arrived at the Paco Park at around 4:30pm.  A wedding ceremony has just finished and people are going to the park for the Sunday Mass at 5:00pm.  We were there to stroll so we were asked to pay P5.00 each. 
It was built in the 18th century but was completed several decades later and in 1822, the cemetery was used to inter victims of a cholera epidemic that swept across the city.
Julia with her new blue ball.
The cemetery is circular in shape, with an inner circular fort that was the original cemetery and  with the niches that we  placed or located within the hollow walls.
Top of the walls were made into pathways for promenades.

Don and Julia doing the promenade ;-)
We had to stop walking at the pathway.  It was slippery because of this. 
So, Don hurriedly went down to the park area to take this  photo.
Back of the inner wall
As the population continued to grow, a second wall was built with thick adobe walls.  Walls were hollowed as niches.
Interment at the Paco Park ceased in 1912.  It had been the burial ground for several generations and descendants of those who were buried in the park had the remains of their ancestors transferred.

Don saw 2 with names (Spanish), I wonder if their remains are still there. 
Memorare:  The mortal remains of the three martyred priests:  GOMBURZA
Pathway going to Rizal

On December 30, 1898, Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal was interred at Paco Park after his execution at Bagumbayan.
What does RPJ mean?  Rizal P. Jose?  Haha!  But, seriously, what does it  stand for?
During the second world war, Japanese forces used Paco Park as a central supply and ammunition depot.
The park was converted into a national park in 1966 during the  term of President Diosdado Macapagal.  Paco Park's grandeur was slowly restored after the war and since then has remained as a public park and promenade for many teenage sweethearts who could spend quiet moments along the park's benches and private alcoves. 

Paco Park
San Marcelino Street, Paco, Manila
Directions here

If you will go there to attend the Catholic mass, you don't need to pay P5.00.  Please do not lie so you can get in for free.  P5.00 is such a small amount to help preserve and maintain this historic park.
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