Formative years in Calamba
By Kim Ferrer
There was a huge tree that caught my attention as we arrived at the gates of Rizal Shrine in Calamba, Laguna. The shrine was almost packed that Tuesday morning,
mostly with young people. The curator of Rizal Shrine, Zarah Escueta, said that most of the visitors are millennials probably because they are required by their schools.
“It is important for the youth to know the value of commitment, the importance of family and strengthening one’s patriotism and personal sacrifice to ensure the good of the country. These are values that we hope would be inculcated in the young when they visit Rizal Shrine,” Escueta said.
The 3,704-sqm compound is a modernized museum that recaptures the era of Rizal’s childhood and his travels across the world. It has six galleries located inside a bahay na bato and at a building beside it.
The shrine houses several visual artworks, facsimiles, photographs, replicas and authentic artifacts from Rizal’s younger days to the national hero we now know as Dr. Jose Rizal.
As a young boy
The light green painted on the exterior of the house is a reference to their family name coined from the Spanish word “ricial,” which means “field.” On the first floor are collections of stories about his siblings and a depiction of Pepe sitting on the lap of his mother, Teodora Alonzo, while she reads a story to him.
The authentic ledger book used by the family for their businesses is also on display along with Rizal’s birth certificate, drawings, and writings.
In the middle of the house is a grand staircase going to the second floor where one can find one of the most prized pieces of the museum: Teodora’s Singer sewing machine that’s placed inside the room of Rizal’s sisters.
Also on the second floor is the formal dining area where one can see a collectionof authentic family dinnerware stored in an antique cabinet.
From the dining room, an access door opens to the azotea where visitors can find traditional bathrooms and a wooden pail hung above the well that served as the family’s primary water source.
As a travelling man
Beside the bahay na bato is a building where galleries 5 and 6 can be found. These galleries focus on Rizal’s travels from 1882 to 1892. Gallery 5 features Rizal’s travels in Europe and a look back into the process of writing one of his famous novels, Noli me Tangere.
The highlight of the gallery is a life-size statue of Rizal sculpted by Julie Lluch with a backdrop of old Europe, a favorite selfie backdrop.
Meanwhile, the sixth gallery traces back the stories of Rizal’s return to Europe and to the Philippines, the peak of his propaganda activities and the stories about the creation of his novel, El Filibusterismo.
At the shrine’s lawn, one can see an example of an iconic bahay kubo. In the middle of the lawn are bronze statues of young Rizal and Tagpi, his dog, created by Dudley Diaz in commemoration of the centennial celebration of Rizal’s death. This is also where the remains of Rizal’s parents, Teodora and Francisco, are buried.
As a millennial trying to reconnect with our National Hero, the tour gave me a chance to discover what made Dr. Jose Rizal who he was. We came across to the colossal tree again as the tour finished. I entered the gates full of questions and now they were answered. His verses, words, and hardship were seeds that bore the fruit that everyone is now enjoying: Independence.
The first monument in Daet
By Estan Cabigas
The Jose Rizal monument in Daet is the country’s first which was erected in honor of our national hero.
It is quite far from the known haunts of Dr. Jose Rizal hero but I hopped on a bus bound for Daet in Camarines Norte to visit this monument because of its significance.
The monument was built in 1898, two years after Rizal’s death. Today, the people of the province take much pride in this historic achievement that the shrine is part of the Camarines Norte seal.
When I did the Rizal@150 heritage trail back in 2011, the Daet Monument is part of the important sites to visit. According to Atty. Vivencio F. Abano, the site of the historic monument was where the April 1898 revolt of the people against Spanish rule started in the province.
The three sided monument is made from coral stones that came from the demolished carcel (jail) where many native revolutionaries were imprisoned, tortured, and killed.
The inscriptions, found at each side, bear Rizal’s works: El Filibusterismo, Noli Me Tangere and his translation and annotation, with a patriotic fervor, of Antonio de Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas.
The monument, as indicated in the historical marker, was unveiled on Dec. 30, 1898 which was built with voluntary contributions from the people of Camarines Norte led by Lt. Col. Ildefonso Alegre and Lt. Col. Antonio Sanz of the Revolutionary Army.
The former Daet Municipal Hall, now the Daet Heritage Center, is just across the street from the first Jose Rizal Monument.
To reach the First Rizal Monument, just take a tricycle and tell the driver to bring you to the site which is located at the intersection of Magallanes cor. Justo Lukban St.
Stopover in Cebu
Not too many Filipinos know it but Dr. Jose Rizal visited Cebu overnight during his sentimental journey, his last, from his four-year exile in Dapitan to Manila in 1896.
From Dumaguete aboard the mail steamship España, he entered the port of Cebu. Rizal, in his diary, wrote on Aug. 2, 1896 his impressions on how beautiful the port was and the adjoining plaza, then Plaza Reyna Cristina, now the Plaza Independencia, which adjoins Fort San Pedro.
Rizal’s military custodian took him to Fort San Pedro, the oldest tri-bastioned fort in the country, for a courtesy call to the military commander in Cebu, General Montero.
The rest of the day, Rizal was busy attending to his clients who visited the boat where he treated many patients. The next day, he left for Iloilo.
The trip was his last. Instead of heading to Cuba to serve as doctor to the army, as what Governor General Blanco approved, he never left the Philippines and was sentenced to die by gunfire a few months later. (Estan Cabigas)
Best days in Dapitan
Text by Raymund Magno Garlitos
Photos by Johannes Chua
Jose Rizal, the Philippines’ iconic martyr, had left bits and pieces of his legacy in many parts of the Philippines and the world – Calamba, Madrid, Brussels, Intramuros, and Luneta.
However, it was in a small secluded barangay in Dapitan City where he had the best years of his life – as a doctor, poet, biologist, engineer,
farmer, artist, teacher and as a lover and patriot.
No trip to Dapitan in Zamboanga del Norte would be complete without a visit to its landmark Rizal Park and Shrine. Known officially as the Jose Rizal Memorial Protected Landscape, it occupies an immense 439 hectares on a hilly peninsula while the original 16 hectares (Rizal actually bought the land for P4,000 from winning the lottery) are devoted to reconstructed structures that recreate Rizal’s home, including the Rizaliana Museum that houses a huge collection of artifacts and personal memorabilia.
The nipa hut structures are faithful reconstructions to what Rizal had built during his four years’ stay – Casa Residencia is where he and common law wife Josephine Bracken lived while the octagon-shaped Casa Redonda served as quarters to Rizal’s students and a clinic.
Casa Cuadrada served as workshop place while the twin Casitas de Salud served as his clinic and lodging for his patients.
The Museo ni Jose Rizal is a depository of the hero’s personal memorabilia and correspondence with family and friends. Visitors to the museum will be treated to a four gallery show that details Rizal’s four-year stay in Dapitan and witness to the creative and intimate side of Rizal as seen through his letters, works of art and even some of his scientific work in taxonomy. It also has an e-learning room for online lessons.
The Shrine is located at Brgy. Talisay, Dapitan City. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.