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From left to right: Sir Willi Red Buhay, KGOR, Sir Felix O. Gonzales, KGOR, Sir Joe Sarmiento, KGOR, Sir Rudy Figueroa, KOR, Sir Jose Delos Reyes, KOR, Sir Boni Cenir, KGOR, Sir Ban Gallardo, Sr., KGOR, Sir Eli Gimena, KCR

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Hero

If there are groups that continue to keep the memory of Jose Rizal alive 110 years after his death, it is because he showed that Filipinos are capable of achieving great heights despite seemingly insurmountable odds.

An early proponent of non-violence and a believer in the liberating power of education, Rizal’s achievements are recognized even overseas. The Malaysians take pride in him as a member of the Malay race. There are markers in his honor in Europe.

The Philippines’ national hero was a global citizen before the phrase was coined. He realized early that Filipinos must compare themselves with the rest of the world and surpass or at least be at par with other nations. Rizal would have been at home in the age of globalization and the Internet, preaching knowledge as power and refusing to endorse violence as a means to an end.

His example has as much relevance today as it did in his era. By working to achieve his full potential, Rizal defied stereotypes of the indio of his time: indolent, incapable of education, superstitious and full of vices. And by defying those stereotypes, he showed that Filipinos were capable of self-rule.

Certain quarters criticized Rizal for refusing to endorse efforts to achieve full independence from Spain. But Rizal wanted the separation to be gradual and as painless as possible. And he preferred to torment the colonizers with the power of his pen. For his incendiary novels, which inspired the revolution against Spain, Rizal was executed 110 years ago today, in the open field where his monument now stands.

While silenced permanently, Rizal’s life continues to provide inspiration to the nation, especially in an age where the nation is bereft of heroes. Today’s “heroes” are the millions of Filipinos who have left their own country to find work in foreign lands. Their remittances have contributed to the strength of the economy, but the Filipino dream of leaving his country is a national tragedy.

Then there are the self-styled hero-wannabes who promise national liberation through naked power grabs. With “heroes” like these, nationalists like Jose Rizal are sorely missed.


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo waves to the crowd after the commemoration ceremonies of the 110th anniversary of the martyrdom of the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal Saturday (Dec. 30) at the Burnham Park in Baguio City. At right is Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr. (MARCELINO PASCUA/OPS-NIB Photo)


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shakes hands with war veterans after the commemoration rites marking the 110th anniversary of the martyrdom of the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal Saturday (Dec. 30) at the Burnham Park in Baguio City. (MARCELINO PASCUA / OPS-NIB Photo)


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo salutes the Philippine colors as she troops the line during the commemoration of the 110th anniversary of the martyrdom of the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal in fitting ceremonies Saturday (Dec. 30) at the Burnham Park in Baguio City. At left is Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr. (MARCELINO PASCUA/ OPS/NIB Photo)

Dapitan holds Rizal festival
By Richel V. Umel

ILIGAN CITY — The historical place of Dapitan City is all set for the launching of a three-day celebration of the first “Handuraw” (flashback) festival held in honor of the national hero Dr. Jose Protacio Rizal who was exiled in Dapitan before being shot by a firing squad in Bagumbayan.

City Councilor Apple Agolong recounted that 110 years ago, Dr. Jose P. Rizal was shot dead before a firing squad because of his beliefs, his courage to stand up against the time of tyranny and oppression and love of country during the Spanish regime.

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Agolong said, the death of Dr. Jose Rizal had changed the course of the Filipino nation.

A Rizal shrine is found in his second home during his exile in Dapitan. The shrine includes his clinic and a rest house. Inside a mini museum are some mementos of Dr. Jose Rizal including his study table and a photo gallery about the national hero.

Councilor Agolong said the celebration starts today until December 30.

The first day covers the opening parade, three-day painting contest, Rizal Look Alike competition and the beauty pageant for “Mutya sa Handuraw.”

The second day will be the opening of the exhibit on the friendship of Dr. Jose Rixal and Blementrit to be followed by a film showing of Rizal in Dapitan and the launching of a book containing the letters of Rizal.

Meanwhile, on the third day Dapitan City will highlight the fluvial parade, float parade and street dancing.

Agolong said Stanislav Slavicky Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Philippines will join Mayor Dominador Jalosjos, Jr., city officials and the community in a wreath laying during the Rizal Day celebration on December 30 at the Rizal shrine.

Dapitan City would be the seat of the Department of Tourism Region 9 where the new regional office was just inaugurated last December 24.

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