By Go Bon Juan â€“ The Chinese ancestry of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, and his family is well known. Some people may also know that Rizalâ€™s father had a house on Estraude Street near Juan Luna Street, and his mother lived in a house on San Fernando Street. Both locations are in Binondo, Manila. But did you know that Rizalâ€™s brother and sister once operated a restaurant on Ongpin, which is Chinatownâ€™s main street? A footnote on page 389 in John Foremanâ€™s The Philippines (1906) reads, â€œPaciano rose to the rank of general before the rebellion ended.â€
â€œ. . . Rizalâ€™s brother and sister were keeping [in 1904] the Dimas Alang restaurant, at 62 Calle Sacristia, Binondo [Manila]. It is so named after the pseudonym under which their distinguished brother often wrote patriotic articles.â€
Calle Sacristia is the old name of Ongpin Street. It was renamed in 1915 to honor Roman Ongpin.
According to Wittonâ€™s Manila and Philippine Directory 1902, a certain Coien Co. owned and operated a â€œsmall shopâ€ at 62 Calle Sacristia in 1902. How and why Paciano Rizal and his sister turned the shop into the Dimas Alang restaurant two years after is not known. There is also no information on how long Rizalâ€™s brother and sister operated Dimas Alang and what happened to it.
We hope to someday locate the site of Dimas Alang restaurant along Ongpin and ask the National Historical Institute to install a marker there.
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