Sunday, 28 August 2011

Jose Rizal's House in Calamba

Rizal's ancestral home in Calamba (aka Rizal Shrine)

Jose Rizal's father, Francisco Mercado, and mother, Teodora Alonso, originally came from the town of Biñan in Laguna but decided to settle in Calamba after their 1848 wedding. They built the first hardwood and stone house in Calamba, which is now known as the Rizal shrine. The house lies very near to the biggest catholic church in Calamba at that time - a sign of the family's affluence.

After Rizal's family was driven out of the house by the Spaniards, the house was sold to Don Isidro, the governor's brother, who in turn, started renting it out. The Philippine government purchased the house but World War II caused significant damage to the original structure. What is standing now is actually a reconstruction of the house rendered by National Artist for Architecture Juan Nakpil based on photographs of houses in that era and from inputs of family members. President Elpidio Quirino re-opened the house for public viewing after re-construction finished in 1950.
The entrance in the lower part of the house with the grand stairs

The lower part of the house which is made of stone is where Rizal's mother, Teodora Alonso ran a general merchandise store. The main entrance is a big heavy door which opens into a grand staircase leading to a second floor landing (caida) which used to be the family's library. 
The landing (caida) on the second floor
The caida leads to the common dining room and two bedrooms. The master bedroom is shared with the boys of the family and the other room is for the girls. On the other side of the caida is the utility room and kitchen.
The dining room

The garden at the back of the house contains a small nipa hut where the young Rizal spent many hours with his brother and sisters playing and discovering. The Philippine Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) decided to transfer the remains of Rizal's parents back to Calamba and bury them on the left side of the grounds behind the house.
The remains of Jose Rizal's parents were transferred by Sen. Lina to the garden

Recently, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines added an exhibit of artifacts used by Rizal in the later stages of his life. The exhibit includes coats and vests worn by our national hero, some sculptures and a fragment of the coat Rizal worn during his execution in 1896.
Rizal's statue in the garden of the house

The Rizal Shrine is open from Tuesdays to Sundays 8:00-12:00 noon and from 1:00-5:00pm. Admission is free! Let us take the wonderful opportunity to get to know our national hero better and fully appreciate the sacrifices he made for the sake of our freedom.

(All photographs courtesy of Sir Dirk Hampel)

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Spot the Difference: Rizalista as Religious Cult vs Rizalistas in a Socio-Civic Org'n

One of the Rizalista sects

Rizalista Religious Groups - According to, Rizalists are any of numerous ethnic religious groups in the Philippines that believe in the divinity of José Rizal, the national hero martyred by the Spanish in 1896. Among many peasant cults it is commonly believed that he is still alive and will return to deliver his followers from poverty and oppression. Rizal has been identified as God, as the second, or Filipino, Christ, and as the god of the pre-Spanish Malay religion. Rizalist cults, such as the Iglesia Sagrada ni Lahi (HolyChurch of the Race) and the Banner of the Race Church (the largest group), synthesize Roman Catholic rituals.
Generally, Rizalista groups immortalize and worship Jose P. Rizal as a divine being. But they also have contrasting views about the persona of Rizal. For instance, some groups consider him as god, the son of Bathala, the reincarnation of Christ, a spirit, an avatar, a saint, a prophet, while others believe that he is a god and a man at the same time. Some of the registered Rizalista groups are Samahan ng Tatlong Persona Solo Dios, Ciudad Mistica de Dios, Adamista, Bathalismo, Watawat ng Lahi, Iglesia Sagrada Flilipina, and Espiritual Pilipino Catholic Church, among others. They are scattered all over the archipelago but most of them are based in Calamba, Laguna and at the foot of Mt. Banahaw in Quezon Province. There are even chapters abroad. 

Friday, 19 August 2011

Photoblog of Rizal @ 150

Here are some behind-the-scene photos during the organisation's trip to Heidelberg to celebrate Jose Rizal's 150th birthday anniversary.

The Ladies pose on the castle front

The day before the celebrations, the group took a tour of Heidelberg passing by Rizal's former appartment in the city center and culminating with a visit to the castle.

Here you see the group (Ladies and Knights and their families) posing in front of  Heidelberg's castle.

The Knights pose in the castle front

The Knights also took the opportunity to have their photos taken with the city of Heidelberg and the majestic mountains below them.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

José Rizal’s Favorite Dishes

When Rizal was in Dapitan, he often requested his mother, Teodora Alonso, to send him some Laguna cheese, mangoes and “terrinas de foie gras.” The cheese is made very well in his home province, Laguna whereas mangoes abound in the area. The foie gras must have been as expensive as it is now and must have reminded him of his visit to Juan Luna in his studio in Paris. 

Kesong Puti (white cheese) from Laguna
Laguna mangoes with bagoong (ermented shrimps)

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Photoblog of Uncommon Pictures of Rizal

Many of us are used to seeing the above picture of Rizal's face when we search for him in the internet. Here are is a small collection of pictures of Rizal which are not commonly or easily found online.

Rizal as a student
The above picture shows Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonzo Realonda when he was still a student at the University of Santo Tomas, taking up medicine (specialising in opthalmology). The date on the picture is 1879, meaning he would be around 18 years old at the time the photo was taken. 
Rizal (seated) posing for Luna

Rizal often agreed to pose for the paintings of his friend, Juan Luna.  The picture above showed him posing as an Egyptian scribe in Luna's award winning painting "The Death of Cleaopatra" (1881).  The painting won the silver medal in the 1881 National Exposition of Fine Arts in Madrid.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Are Ladies for Rizal, Elitists? An Interview with Lady Helen Lacuna

e·lit·ism or é·lit·ism  (noun).  The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.

Our first ever interview series features the President of the Ladies for Rizal Bonn Chapter, Lady Helen Lacuna. In this interview, she traces her history with the LFR, shares her perceptions about the current situation of the organization and looks forward to the challenges ahead.
Lady Helen Lacuna (middle), flanked by Lady Margie and Lady Jane

Interviewer: Hi Lady Helen! Thank you for granting us this interview. Could you please tell us the story of how you became a member of the Ladies for Rizal?
Lady Helen Lacuna: Hello to you too! Thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed. I was recruited in 1995 by my husband (Sir Celso Lacuna), who was then a member  of the Committee on membership of the Bonn Chapter. Together with other candidates from Bonn, I was formally inducted on May 21, 1995 in Wilhelmsfeld. 

I: Do you think preserving the ideologies of Rizal is still relevant to Filipinos outside of the Philippines?
LHL: Yes, preserving the ideologies of Rizal is still relevant not only for Filipinos in the Philippines but also for those outside the Philippines. The Filipinos abroad should be taught about the ideas, aspirations, nationalism and patriotism of Dr. Rizal so that they would always be reminded of their home country. 

I: Why is this important?
LHL: By teaching the Filipinos abroad about Rizal's ideas, nationalism and sacrifices for his country, Filipinos residing in foreign countries will always remember their ancestors in the Philippines. Hence, the Filipinos abroad if imbued with Rizal' ideologies, will have a deep sense of national consciousness and belonging to their country of origin. 

Friday, 5 August 2011

Modern Patriotism: 12 Year old saves Philippine Flag from Flood

President Noy Noy "P-Noy" Aquino thanked Janela Lelis for showing that patriotism and heroism is alive even in the midst of typhoons and floods. Jose Rizal would also be very proud of you for showing modern love for the country and the national flag. Mabuhay Ka!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Photoblog of Begegnungsfest 2011

It is not usual to be able to take a peek behind the teamwork of the Ladies and Knights of Rizal Bonn. Here are some behind-the-scenes photos of the Ladies and Knights during the Begegnungsfest 2011.

Sir Amor, Sir Rainer, Lady Gloria M. and Lady Margie inspect the food

Lady Helen and Lady Chery preparing the pancit