AT TIMES, when the breeze is just so, the sun is shining, and peals of children’s laughter ring out, Luneta’s grand past can still be glimpsed, leaving no one to doubt that for 19th-century Manila, it was the prime leisure amenity. The American planner Daniel Burnham laid out a grand civic district in Manila, like Washington D.C.’s. Burnham’s grand plan was never fully implemented. Only a few of the planned civic structures were built. After the war, plans were revised to move the capital to Quezon City. Luneta became a cogon-filled no-man’s land eventually turning into the city’s Central Park.
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