JINJIANG, China (Via PLDT/SMART)â€”An exact replica of the monument of the Philippinesâ€™ national hero Jose Rizal at the Luneta Park can be found in the heart of this southern Chinese city, standing proudly in mute testimony to the morals and values Rizal had hoped to impart to his fellow Filipinos.
It also stands as a remembrance to his great, great grandfather, Domingo Lamco of Zhang-Guo province, who was once a resident and citizen of China.
On the second day of her official visit to China, President Macapagal-Arroyo led wreath-laying rites at the Rizal Shrine here to pay respect to Rizal, his grandfather Lamco and the Chinese people.
The President was accompanied by some members of her Cabinet, including Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, and Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes, along with some members of Congress and local officials.
On Jan. 23, 2003, House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. led a 60-member Philippine delegation in wreath-laying ceremonies during the inauguration of the Rizal Shrine in Siongque Village, Jinjiang City in Fujian Province.
The Philippine delegation included Consul General Corazon Bahjin, Congressman Roque Ablan, National Historical Institute Chair Ambeth Ocampo, officers of the Knights of Rizal, Tarlac-based descendants of Rizalâ€™s sister Soledad, and Chinese-Filipino businessmen.
Chinese officials who graced the occasion included Jinjiang City Mayor and Party Secretary Gong Qingkai, and chair of the Jinjiang City Peopleâ€™s Congress Xue Zuliang.
The shrine was built in 2002 to commemorate Dr. Rizalâ€™s Chinese ancestral roots. It symbolizes the strong bond of friendship between the Philippines and China. During its inauguration, De Venecia remarked that the shrine â€œis a great symbol of the 1,000-year-old friendship between our two nations.â€
The national hero is the direct descendant of Chinese trader Cua Yi Lam, who immigrated from Siongque (â€œZhang-Guoâ€ in Mandarin) to the Philippines in the later part of the 17th century. Church records show that Cua Yi Lam was baptized Domingo Lamco in Manila in 1697 at the age of 35 and listed his birthplace as Siongque village in China.
The monument, made of the world-famous Jinjiang granite stones, stands at 18.61 meters high, which is taller than the 12-meter high Rizal Monument in Manila. It was built on a five-hectare park named in Rizalâ€™s honor, making it the biggest Rizal Shrine outside the Philippines. The park will also be the site of a Rizal museum and library.
The success of the project can be attributed to the combined efforts of the Cua-Chua Family Association where Rizal drew his Chinese lineage, the KAISA Para sa Kaunlaran, headed by Prof. Teresita Ang-See, which provided assistance in research and substance, Philippine Airlines chair Lucio Tan who headed the project committee working group, the Tulay Foundation, the Knights of Rizal, the Philippine Consulate General in Xiamen, the Jinjiang village and the city association based in Manila that arranged funding for the project, the Fujian Provincial Overseas Chinese Affairs Office and the Quanzhou Municipal Government.