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Older Than Time, Stronger Than Stone

At first sight, you won't know that it is a stadium especially when you look at it from the outside. It is a mixture of filipino baroque architecture and post-modern design that will surely catch your attention.

This is the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, the national sports complex of the Republic of the Philippines. Constructed in 1934, the stadium only seats 30,000 including standing areas. RMSC houses the Rizal Stadium, considered to be the oldest stadium in Asia. The RMSC was constructed for the Far Eastern Championship Games in 1934 which later became the Asian Games.

Located along Pablo Ocampo Street (formerly Vito Cruz Street), the Rizal Stadium is named after the national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

In 1945, the stadium was heavily devastated when the World War II broke out. It was then reconstructed in 1953 for the hosting of the 2nd Asian Games the following year.

To this day, the stadium stands and looks as it was when it was first opened. Small, old but elegant. It pictures out the then glamorous country that has gone through countless blows.

Because it is located in downtown Manila (particularly in the district of Malate), space is the primary problem for renovation. That is why, it remains to be a 30,000-seater stadium. RMSC also houses the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, an indoor basketball arena, The PSC Badminton Hall, Rizal Memorial Swimming Center, Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium, the National Stadium, Rizal Memorial Tennis Center, Philippine Taekwondo Association Dojang and Main Office, PSC Bowling Hall, Gymnastics Hall, Philippine Center for Sports Medicine, Boxing Gym and the Pencak Silat Gym, all governed by the Philippine Sports Commission.

To take you closer to the place in its present look, your correspondent raided the once-so-glamorous Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

The main gate of the RMSC

The Grandstand of the Main Stadium

The stadium with the Wushu Federation Philippines Building at the background.

Behind the stadium is the Ninoy Aquino Stadium for Basketball.

The National Athletes and Coaches Lounge

The Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium

The Stadium overlooking De La Salle University's Alberto Yuchengco Hall

The Torch at the right

The electronic Scoreboard...

still stands since it's first use during the 1991 SEA Games.

The Scoreboard now embedded with the Government's Strong Republic slogan.

The stadium, now dwarfed by high-rise Manila condominums.

The gate of the Tennis Center.

The Coliseum.

The RMSC played host to various events throughout history including the Beattles concert in 1966, the 10th Far Eastern Championship Games 1934, the 2nd Asian Games in 1954, the 1981, 1991 and 2005 Southeast Asian Games, 2005 ASEAN ParaGames and the 2006 Asian Women's Volleyball Club Championships.
Though outdated and criticized by the world of modern sports, the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex is a great relic of its rich history and a reminder that its beauty would still be hailed, welcome those who appreciate it and will always be there to tell its tale.


Jiwa Matahari said...

So this is the stadium you've told me about? You're right, its architecture is unique, I'm glad they decided to keep it as a heritage for today's generation to appreciate. May it stand proud for years ahead!

Charlie -Denith- Samsokrith said...

Great... your articles remain me of Cambodian national stadium. I think I'll do the research and post it here.