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Virtualjournals.net joins the nation in celebration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal on June 19, 2011.
Rizal Shrine in Fort Santiago
The Rizal Shrine dedicated to the lifework of José Rizal is located on Santa Clara Street, Fort Santiago, Intramuros, Manila.
This is a fortified complex which houses the building the Philippines’ national hero spent his last night and where his family later found concealed in an oil lamp, the famous poem Mi último adiós (My Last Farewell). The shrine is home to various memorabilia, books, manuscripts and artworks belonging to the prodigious and multifaceted Rizal.
The shrine is compose of 2 levels: the first level house the Opening to Memory mural where the trial and execution of Rizal was depicted; the Chamber of Text displays the hero’s writings, manuscripts, and other memorabilia; and lastly, the model of the prison cell where Rizal was incarcerated from 3 November to 29 December 1896. The Reliquary Room on the 2nd level exhibits the things Rizal used while in Europe, at the center of the room, encased in a glass cylinder is a bullet, still lodged in a part of Rizal’s bone from his execution in Luneta.
Rizal Shrine in Calamba
Along historic Calle Real, just a few steps away from the Old Calamba City Hall, now the City College of Calamba, and the parish church, is the shrine dedicated to Dr. Jose Rizal. The shrine is a replica of the Spanish colonial style house where Rizal was born on June 19, 1861, to Francisco Mercado and Teodora Alonzo. The house was typical of the residences of the Filipino gentry of Hispanic times, with its ground floor of lime and stone, its upper floor of the best hardwood, its roof of red tile.
Reconstructed in 1949, the Rizal shrine is now maintained by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and the houses furniture and kitchenware of the colonial era, as well as Dr. Rizal’s clothes, paintings, sculptures, other paraphernalia and laminated excerpts of his written works.
The house had a small stable for horses and storage for carriages on the ground floor, and a living and dining area and bedrooms on the upper floor. The family also had good-sized library where Rizal’s first lessons took place.
In the garden is a bahay kubo (nipa hut) – a replica on the one where Rizal used to spend his days as a child and a statue of Rizal as a boy – an added attraction made by Dudley Diaz for the 1996 Centennial celebration. There is also a wishing well at the back of the house where visitors never missed to inspect simply because of the notion that it makes wishes come true.
Rizal Shrine in Dapitan
Rizal was implicated in the activities of the nascent rebellion and in July 1892 was deported to Dapitan in the province of Zamboanga (in Mindanao). Aboard the steamer Cebu and under heavy guard, Rizal left Manila, sailing to Mindoro and Panay, until he reached Dapitan at seven o’clock in the evening of June 17. From that day until July 31, 1896, Dapitan bear witness to one of the most fruitful periods in Rizal’s life. There he built a school, a hospital and a water supply system. He taught and engaged in farming and horticulture, as well a practice medicine and served the poor.
In a letter to his friend, Ferdinand Blumentritt, on December 19, 1893, Rizal described his peaceful life in Dapitan:
“I shall tell you how we lived here. I have three houses-one square, another hexagonal, and the third octagonal. All these houses are made of bamboo, wood, and nipa. I live in the square house, together with my mother, my sister, Trinidad, and my nephew. In the octagonal house live some young boys who are my pupils. The hexagonal house is my barn where I keep my chickens.”
Near the end of his exile he met and courted the stepdaughter of a patient, an Irishwoman named Josephine Bracken. He was unable to obtain an ecclesiastical marriage because he would not return to the religion of his youth and was not known to be clearly against revolution. He nonetheless considered Josephine to be his wife and the only person mentioned in the poem, Farewell, sweet stranger, my friend, my joy…
VRs taken from November 2008 to April 2009 with the assistance and support of National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Portions of text from wikipedia.org, wikipilipinas.org, joserizal.ph, & calambacity.gov.ph. The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org