MANILA, DECEMBER 29, 2010 (GMANEWS TV) President Benigno Aquino III will lead the nation in commemorating the 114th death anniversary of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal in Manila.

A Malacañang statement said Aquino will raise the flag and offer wreath in ceremonies at the Rizal Park in Manila Thursday morning.

Rizal was martyred on Dec. 30, 1896, precipitating the Philippine revolution against the Spanish colonial rule.

Expected to assist Aquino on Thursday are Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Armed Forces chief Gen. Ricardo David Jr., Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chairman Ambeth Ocampo.

"Simultaneous flag-raising and wreath offering rites will also be held at Rizal monuments nationwide including his birthplace in Calamba, Laguna and in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte where he was exiled in July 1892," the Palace said.

This year’s observance will focus on the theme “Rizal: Haligi ng Bayan." It will be highlighted by the unveiling of the logo of the 114th anniversary of Rizal’s martyrdom signaling the kick-off celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of the national hero.

Born on June 19, 1861, Rizal became one of the country’s leading reformists and inspiration of the revolution particularly through his writings and novels such as "Noli Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo." His works are now being taught in public and private schools to educate students about the concept of nationalism.

In Japan, meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo commemorated the 114th death anniversary of Rizal Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.

Embassy officers and staff held a wreath-laying ceremony before the marker and bronze bust of Rizal at the Hibiya Park in Tokyo, the DFA said.

It said the bust was put up in 1998 at the park fronting the former Tokyo Hotel. Dr. Rizal stayed in the hotel from March 1 to 7, 1888.

The wreath-laying ceremony was followed by a flag-raising ceremony at the Embassy. There was also a reading of Rizal's "Mi Ultimo Adios" at the Embassy's lobby.

The program ended with a lunch participated in by Embassy officers and staff. - KBK, GMANews.TV


LEFT PHOTO: RIZAL MONUMENT IN Rizal Park, Seatle, Washington. PHOTO AT RIGHT - Illuminated jets of water shoot up from a dancing
fountain which opened at the Rizal Park lagoon the other night. The revival
of the fountain and cultural events are part of the program of the Department
of Tourism to rebuild Manila’s old parks and neglected tourist destinations. EDD GUMBAN ]


Though miles away from home, overseas Filipinos in Italy likewise commemorated the heroism of Dr. Jose Rizal on the 113th anniversary of his martyrdom.

In Rome, the Philippine Embassy to the Holy See marked Rizal Day with a mass at the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome on Wednesday.

Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See Mercedes Tuason organized the event with the participation of the embassy staff, priests, religious and representatives from different Filipino communities, according to a report on the news site of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. [See: RP Embassy to Vatican observes Rizal day in Rome]

The report also said Rome-based couple Leandro and Josephine Bantug, whose family traces its lineage to Rizal's sister Narcisa, will attend the mass with their children Leandro José Jr., Maria Regina Katrina, and Juan Paolo Antonio.

Rizal is known to have visited the Basilica of St. Mary Major, chosen for the anniversary celebration, on June 27, 1887.

In one of his letters as cited in the report, Rizal had written: “I have also visited some churches and museums, like the Capitoline Museum and the church of St. Mary Major, which is also magnificent."

After the mass, the overseas Filipino group visited the Rizal monument at Piazzale Manila, a 2x3-ft bronze bust of Rizal by artist Jose Giroy unveiled in 1998, in commemoration of the Centennial of Philippine Independence activities.

Another commemorative activity was the Bantug family's presentation to Tuason of a book titled Lolo Jose — An Intimate and Illustrated Portrait of Jose Rizal, written by Asuncion Lopez Bantug, Rizal's grandniece.

In Israel, meanwhile, text messages sent last Tuesday reminded Filipinos based in the Holy Land to remember the martyrdom of Rizal.

Philippine Ambassador Petronila Garcia and the Philippine embassy activated the “text brigade" to remind Filipino expatriates to remember Rizal, as she led commemoration rites at the Philippine Embassy grounds in Tel Aviv., the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

Garcia highlighted in her message the virtues of the national hero and inspired everyone to follow his example to promote individual and collective well-being, the DFA said on its website. [See: Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv commemorates the 113th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Dr. Jose P. Rizal]

The officers and staff of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles also joined worldwide commemorations, which included a flag ceremony and flower offering. – Jerrie M. Abella/JV, GMANews.TV


Rizal's advocacy of institutional reforms by peaceful means rather than by violent revolution makes him Asia's first modern non-violent proponent of political reforms. Forerunner of Gandhi and contemporary of Tagore and Sun Yat Sen, all four created a new climate of thought throughout Asia, leading to the attrition of colonialism and the emergence of new Asiatic nations by the end of World War II.

Rizal's appearance on the scene came at a time when European colonial power had been growing and spreading, mostly motivated by trade, some for the purpose of bringing Western forms of government and education to peoples regarded as backward. Coinciding with the appearance of those other leader.

Rizal from an early age had been enunciating in poems, tracts and plays, ideas all his own of modern nationhood as a practical possibility in Asia. In the Noli he stated that if European civilization had nothing better to offer, colonialism in Asia was doomed. Such was recognized by Gandhi who regarded him as a forerunner in the cause of freedom.

Jawaharlal Nehru, in his prison letters to his daughter Indira, acknowledged Rizal's significant contributions in the Asian freedom movement. These leaders regarded these contributions as keystones and acknowledged Rizal's role in the movement as foundation layer.

Photo- Rizal on the obverse side of a 1970 Philippine peso coin) Rizal through his reading of Morga and other western historians, knew of the genial image of Spain's early relations with his people. In his writings, he showed the disparity between the early colonialists and those of his day, with the latter's atrocities giving rise to Gomburza and the Philippine Revolution of 1896. His biographer, Austin Coates, and writer, Benedict Anderson, believe that Rizal gave the Philippine revolution a genuinely national character; and that Rizal's patriotism and his standing as one of Asia's first intellectuals have inspired others of the importance of a national identity to nation-building.
(PHOTO - Rizal Park, Wilhelmsfeld)

Although his field of action lay in politics, Rizal's real interests lay in the arts and sciences, in literature and in his profession as an ophthalmologist. Shortly after his death, the Anthropological Society of Berlin met to honor him with a reading of a German translation of his farewell poem and Dr. Rudolf Virchow delivering the eulogy.

The Taft Commission in June 1901 approved

AcT 137 renaming the District of Morong into the Province of Rizal, and Act 346 authorizing a government subscription for the erection of a national monument in Rizal's honor. Republic Act 1425 was passed in 1956 by the Philippine legislature that would include in all high school and college curricula a course in the study of his life, works and writings. The wide acceptance of Rizal is partly evidenced by the countless towns, streets, and numerous parks in the Philippines named in his honor. Monuments in his honor were erected in Madrid, Wilhelmsfeld, Germany, Jinjiang, Fujian, China.

Tribute to Rizal, Cavenagh Bridge, SingaporeChicago, Cherry Hill Township, New Jersey, San Diego, Seattle, U.S.A., Mexico City, Mexico, Lima, Peru, and Litomerice, Czech Republic, and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Several titles were bestowed on him: "the First Filipino", "Greatest Man of the Brown Race," among others. The Order of the Knights of Rizal, a civic and patriotic organization, boasts of dozens of chapters all over the globe. There are some remote-area religious sects who claim him as a sublimation of Christ.

(Photo - A two-sided marker bearing a painting of Rizal by Fabian de la Rosa on one side and a bronze bust relief of him by Philippine artist Guillermo Tolentino stands at the Asian Civilisations Museum Green. This marks his visits to Singapore (1882, 1887, 1891,1896).

A Rizal bronze bust was erected at La Molina district, Lima, Peru, designed by Czech sculptor Hanstroff, mounted atop a pedestal base with 4 inaugural plaque markers with the following inscription on one: “Dr. José P. Rizal, Héroe Nacional de Filipinas, Nacionalista, Reformador Political, Escritor, Lingüistica y Poeta, 1861–1896.”

Rizal in popular culture

The cinematic depiction of Rizal's literary works won two film industry awards more than a century after his birth. In the 10th FAMAS Awards, he was honored in the Best Story category for Gerardo de León's adaptation of his book Noli me Tangere. The recognition was repeated the following year with his movie version of El Filibusterismo, making him the only person to win back-to-back FAMAS Awards posthumously.

Both novels were translated into opera by the composer-librettist Felipe Padilla de León: Noli me tangere in 1957 and El filibusterismo in 1970; and his 1939 overture, Mariang Makiling, was inspired by Rizal's tale of the same name.

Several films were produced narrating Rizal's life. The most successful was Jose Rizal, produced by GMA Films and released in 1998. Cesar Montano played the title role.

A year before it was shown another movie was made portraying his life while in exile in the island of Dapitan. Titled "Rizal sa Dapitan" produced by Viva Films it stars Albert Martínez as Rizal and Amanda Page as Josephine Bracken.

The film was the top grosser of the 1997 Manila Film Festival and won the best actor and actress trophies. Another film that tackled particularly on the heroism of Rizal was the 2000 film Bayaning 3rd World, directed by Mike de Leon and starring Joel Torre as Jose Rizal.

Rizal also appeared in the 1999 video game Medal of Honor as a secret character in multiplayer, alongside other historical figures such as William Shakespeare and Winston Churchill. He can be unlocked by completing the single-player mode, or through cheat codes.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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