Who is Dr. Jose P. Rizal? PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 June 2011 14:59

Do you really know Dr. Jose P Rizal?

Perhaps you do, because he is our national hero, his picture is found in the Philippine currency and Philippine stamps, his monument was erected at the Luneta Park in Manila, his famous novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo are being used as textbooks in high school and college, subject Rizal, and there are schools and streets named after him, Jose Rizal University and Rizal Avenue and that is all, is it not? What are his life and works, his Idealism and martyrdom and what sufferings he has gone through.

Do you know that he made a supreme sacrifice of dying for his country so that we will gain the freedom that we all wanted? All Filiplnos living and departed owe him a debt of gratitude, otherwise we will not enjoy the freedom we have today.

Borrowing the words of Chairman Ivan John Uy of the Commisslon on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), he said that, “many Filipinos today have forgotten Rizal and the sacrifices he had made for freedom and the motherland!”

Perhaps they have not forgotten Rizal as a hero, but what they forgot to do was memorize a line or two of the immortal masterpiece of literary gem of “My Last Farewell”, a legacy to the Filipino in his dying hours.

To have a glimpse and feel of the masterpiece poem, wrritten here below is the first, third and last stanza of My Last Farewell to showcase his idealism and unconditional love of country:

Farewell , dear Fatherland, clime of the sun carress’d
Pearl of the Orient seas, our Eden lost!,
Gladly now I go to give thee this faded life’s best,
And were it brighter, fresher, or more blest
Still would I give it thee, nor count the cost.

I die just when I see the dawn break,
Through the gloom of night , to herald the day;
And if color is lacking my blood thou shall take,
Pour’d out at need for thy dear sake
To dye with Its crimson the waking ray.

Farewell to you all, from my soul torn away,
Friends of my childhood in the home dispossessed!
Give thanks that I rest from the wearisome day!
Farewell to thee, too, sweet friend that lightened my way;
Beloved creatures all, farewell! In death there is rest!

Do you know that Rizal is a Medicine graduate of UST, an Eye Surgeon Specialist who successfully operated his mother’s eye disease - cataract?
Do you know that Rizal is a well-traveled Filipino visiting foreign countries of the world some of which are Singapore, Hongkong, Japan, Spain, Germany, Italy, Africa and I am sure it includes America.

Do you know that Rizal’s two close friends, one Filipino and an Austrian, Dr. Maximo Viola, a scion of rich family in Plaridel, Bulacan, who financed the printing of Noli Me Tangere and Professor Ferdinand Blumentritt, Director of the Ateneo of Leitmeritz, Austria. Two people who helped him in times of need.
Do you know that Rizal is a prolific and accomplished writer having written two famous novels with the third unfinished, numerous poems,essays and letters all worth reading? It is for you to find out.

Yes, I do believe that you know Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo and my Last Farewell for those who went to college, but how about to those who did not. I suppose that even those who went to college were not able to imbibe his principles and idealism because social cancer of corruption and injustice still exist today and maybe the years to come.

This is my unsolicited advice to all able-bodied Filipinos, patriotic and peace-loving, young and old, to visit the Rizal Shrine in Dapitan City as a token of gratitude and to honor the 150th Birth Anniversary of Dr. Jose P. Rizal. His last domicile before he was unjustly executed in Luneta, Manila.

You will never regret it, because the place is peaceful and the people are respectful and honest per my experience when I visited the city for the second time. --CESAR A. BERNARDO