ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE | Rizal’s Mindanao Relief Map at Dapitan City

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rizal's Mindanao Relief Map

Half a kilometer away from the Rizal Landing Site in Sta. Cruz beach is another set of landmarks worthy of a visit when in Dapitan City. Towering over the town of Dapitan is the Baroque-styled St. James Church and along its perimeter, the relief map of Mindanao made by none other than Jose Rizal.

The Entrance to the Mindanao Relief MapThe map is made of grassy mounds in rough scale of the Mindanao Islands. It was based from a scientific one made in 1734 by a University of Manila professor, French Jesuit Fr. Murilio Velarde, for the then Governor Valdes Tamón.

A Detail of Rizal's MapSome of the district names on the map which are painted on the fading blue ground paint depicting the seas still reflect the old names and towns of the island. The miniturized Mindanao stands on a 900 square meter lot facing the bare façade of Dapitan Church and has since been fenced by the Americans in the 1920’s during their teaching stint in the province.
Dapitan on Dapitan at Rizal's Relief MapRizal was said to frequent the church grounds and the relief map probably is one of the reason. Along with Francisco Paula de Sanchez, Rizal’s mentor from Ateneo, they shaped the map from August to September 1892. It was created as a beautification project and a geography guide as well for his students in Dapitan.

Kids Running Along the Grassy MapThe map is now a frequent hang out for kids on lazy afternoons. Ignoring the “keep off the grass” signs, I saw several of them playfully running around the mounds.

Rizal’s Mindanao Relief Map is beautifully made, but I just wish there is a viewing platform where one can see the entirety of the map from a higher ground. A perfect way to appreciate one of the many legacies of our National Hero in Dapitan City.

Dapitan Location Map

Rizal’s Mindanao Relief Map
Address: Junction Polo-Dapitan Park National Road, Dapitan City
Entrance Fee: None

GPS Coordinates: 8.655227,123.424368
View Location on Google Maps: Click Here

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  1. Keep of the grass and other warnings are merely suggestions in the Philippines. Every Pinoy kid knows that haha! Again, your photos, however simple they are, makes me sick :)

  2. though the warnings were ignored, I can tellthe place is well preserved and maintained ;-)

  3. I am glad that this was preserved. This reminded me of the relief map of the Philippines in Lunete Park. But this one is cooler because it was made of grass. Hope to visit this place someday.

    1. If only these were also surrounded by waters, mas cool sana no

  4. Rizal's hometown! This is actually one of my dream destinations here in the Philippines. I love the relief map on the ground, looks really nice.

  5. w-o-w!! thanks for the share, love its historical significance :)

    On the other side, the almost 200 years old Alberto Mansion in Binan, Laguna built by Lorenzo Alonso Alberto, father of Teodora Alonso is being ignored by the government, facing mostly man-made destruction. Unlike the replica Rizal Shrine, the house is the only remaining original structure in relation to Dr. Rizal. (

    1. Hay oo nga, sayang lang, we Filipinos should learn to treasure our history