Quezon Memorial Circle: The place to visit in QC

February 7, 2010 12:33 am 

MANILA, Feb. 6 — The Quezon Memorial Circle on Elliptical Road in Diliman, Quezon City is fast becoming a major tourist attraction in Metro Manila.

QMC, situated just off the Quezon City Hall, is a national park and shrine. It is an ellipse bounded by the Elliptical Road.

At its center is a mausoleum containing the remains of Manuel L. Quezon, the country's second President, and his wife, First Lady Aurora Quezon.

With the rides and additional features such as the World Peace Bell, QMC has become an alternative to Manila’s Rizal Park, Pasay City’s Star City and Davao City’s Apo View Park.

QC Parks Development and Administration Department head Engr. Zaldy dela Rosa said an estimated 35,000 visitors made their way daily to QMC’s Circle of Fun during the 2009 holiday season, nearly equaling the 40,000 estimated daily gate visitors posted by Star City during the same period last year.

On ordinary days, QMC’s visitors reach 8,000 daily and 12,000 during weekends.

It was reported that income generated from the operation of the QMC in 2009 reached almost P1 million, surpassing the earnings in 2008.

The city government, under the administration of Mayor Feliciano “Sonny” R. Belmonte Jr., has set aside P37.9 million for the improvement of the 26-hectare QMC and have it transformed into a world-class people’s park.

The QMC, which has been made more accessible to the people with the two pedestrian overpasses constructed by the city government, boasts of a theme park called the Circle of Fun, a state-of-the-art children’s playground, newly-inaugurated basketball and volleyball courts and a newly-renovated bicycle station.

The city government resumed management control of the Quezon Memorial Circle on July 1, 2008.

Its transformation started with the construction of the first pedestrian underpass linking it to the Quezon City Hall.

The second underpass, from the vicinity of the Philippine Coconut Authority building, also provides another easy access to the circle.

Aside from the QMC, the city government also upgraded more public parks to help improve the city’s landscape.

The site was originally intended as the grounds of the National Capitol to be built in Quezon City.

While the cornerstone for the structure was laid in 1940, only the foundations were in place when construction was interrupted by the spread of the Second World War in the Philippines.

After World War II, President Sergio Osmeña issued an executive order stipulating the creation of a Quezon Memorial Committee to raise funds by public subscription to erect a monument to his predecessor, Commonwealth President Manuel Luis Quezon.

After a national contest was held for the purpose, a winning design by Filipino architect Federico Ilustre was selected.

The monument would consist of three vertical pylons (representing the three main geographic divisions of the country: Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao), 66 meters (217 feet) tall (Quezon's age when he died), surmounted by three mourning angels holding sampaguita (the national flower) wreaths sculpted by the Italian sculptor Monti.

The three pylons would in turn circumscribe a drum-like two-story structure containing a gallery from which visitors could look down at Quezon's catafalque, modeled after Napoleon Bonaparte's in the Invalides.

The gallery and the catafalque below are lit by an oculus, in turn reminiscent of Grant's Tomb.

Construction of QMC began in the late 1950s but proceeded slowly, in part due to the cost of importing Carrara marble, brought in blocks and then carved and shaped on-site.

There were also problems associated with the theft of the marble blocks and the management of memorial funds.

It was finally completed in 1978, the centennial of Quezon's birth. His remains were re-interred in the memorial on August 19, 1979.

It was during that time that by virtue of a presidential decree, President Ferdinand E. Marcos mandated the site as a National Shrine.

The National Historical Institute manages, and has authority over the monument itself, while the Quezon City government administers the park.

On April 28, 2005, the remains of Mrs. Aurora Quezon were reinterred in the memorial as well.

Planned auxiliary structures, including a presidential library, museum, and theater, were never built (two smaller museums, one containing the presidential memorabilia of Quezon, and the other containing items on the history of Quezon City, were installed within the monument itself).

In the 1980s, missing, lost, or incomplete bass reliefs for the outside of the memorial were installed. A development plan was also drawn up and partially implemented, including the building of recreation and dining structures. (PNA Features) scs/JCA


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