Here’s another favorite haunt of our national hero while he was here in Madrid. Can’t blame him. Parque de Retiro, which used to be exclusive to royalty, is such a pleasure to be in anytime of day. Just take the Linea 2 (red line) metro 🚉 to Retiro and it’s right there as you exit out of the station.

 

 

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Now, I wonder how many times Rizal went on dates in this park. Remember, JPR lived a frugal life here in Madrid and a paseo around Parque de Retiro would have been a cheap but romantic way to take out a señorita.

 

 

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These days, you’d find street musicians 🎺🎷🎸🎤 and illegal vendors (selling their wares on laid out rugs)👜💼👢 around the park. It was a bit of a challenge to take a good photo of the pond and the monuments without these characters. And then there are the lovers. 👫💑 Of all kinds.

 

 

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Sundays are crowded in Parque de Retiro where locals enjoy just strolling around the gardens, 🚲biking, renting boats 🚤 to row around the pond, drinking their cafe con leche ☕ or cafe cortado, shopping for “smuggled” bags 👜peddled by vendors on blankets or rugs laid out on pavements, skateboarding, or simply shooting the breeze while listening to street musicians. 🎤

 

 

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JPR must have been so inspired by this ex-royal garden that he named his place of exile in Dapitan as “Mi Retiro.” This is also the place where an Igorot woman died in the dead of winter while “on exhibit” in the Exposición de Filipinas in 1887. The exhibit meant to showcase Philippine artifacts, art works and botanical specimens which included “sample Philippine tribe peoples” like the Igorots, Manobos and Negritos. You can just imagine how JPR criticized Spain for its violation of Filipinos’ human rights which resulted in the death of this Igorot human specimen, while other tribe “samples” contracted pneumonia due to the bitter cold.

 

 

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Tsk. Tsk. It’s stories like these that make me ever so grateful for the sacrifices and bravery of our national heroes. As a reminder of what they went through as against the freedoms that we now enjoy, one can’t help but lament how much we have forgotten. Truly, we as a nation need to reconnect with our past so we do not fail to take things for granted and more importantly, to regain our national identity and pride as a people.

 

Aaaaahhhh…… Enough said. Or written. 📝