I’ve been wanting to visit Paco Park for a very long time now and I finally got the chance to go there on a gloomy Tuesday afternoon.
After a quick lunch at SM City Manila, I decided to take a leisurely walk to the Park with the help of Google Maps. It was a 15-20 minute walk along small roads. I passed by The Church of San Vicente de Paul, a chapel located next to Adamson University so I stopped by to say my prayers.
After walking at a straight path, I reached my destination. I could not see the park from the outside because it was completely covered with a circular stone wall. The gates were opened and two stone markers hang on both sides of the gate. These markers not only told a brief history of the park but also showed its historical and cultural value.
Paco Park was once a cemetery where it used to house remains of national heroes including Jose Rizal and GOMBURZA. It was declared as a National Historical Shrine in 1998 by the office of the President.
Upon entering the gate, I saw the ticket booth and paid 10 pesos for the entrance fee. It was then that I saw that there was another circular wall covering the main park. The spaces between the inner and outer walls served as a walkway with plenty of space for trees and benches. But the real magic is behind the inner walls.
The park inside was trully a remarkable sight. At the center was a huge fountain with flowing water. Trees surrounded the entire area, providing ample shade. Shrubs and neatly cut grass covered the entire picnic area. I saw a group of students filming on one side, another group doing homework while sitting on the grass. A few families and couples were having their picnics around the park while another couple was having their prenup pictures.
A huge bird house stood at one part of the park and a small chapel stood at the back of the fountain which was unfortunately closed for the day. But what fascinated me was the inner walls of the park which were covered with holes that seemed to house tombstones. I walked around while breathtakingly looking at these holes and some even had tombstones. What a remarkable sight! Now no once can deny that this was indeed a cemetery before.
These walls were my favorite part. It gave it a distinct brand that is only of Paco Park. The placement of the holes around the circular wall was an eerie but stunning piece of art. I could not count how many times I’ve circled around, mesmerized with these walls. And the surprises did not stop there. Within the walls were stairs which led to the top of the inner wall. Yes, there was another walkway on top of the wall and it offered the best view of everything in Paco Park.
I stayed for quite a while because I kept walking around and on top of the wall and taking pictures. Paco Park topped my list of the most beautiful parks I’ve visited. I’ve never been to an enclosed park filled with mystery and surprises. There were a few parts of the outer wall under construction. I reckon those to be pocket parks with more seating and dining areas in the near future. I can’t wait for the renovations to be done so the next time I come over to visit, there will be new surprises in store for me.
Paco Park is located at San Marcelino and General Luna Street, Metro Manila. It was a 15-20 minute walk from SM City Manila but there are tricycles and taxis to take you there. It opens daily from 7am to 4pm. Entrance fee is 10 pesos.