To commemorate the 150th birthday of National Hero Jose Rizal on June 20, 2011, the Philippine Center for Photojournalism (PCP) contributed to a photo project of Interaksyon.com, TV-5′s website.
In order to show the importance given by a town, city or municipality of a tribute to the hero, they asked members to contribute one picture of a Jose Rizal street, avenue or plaza with his statue to show its current status. To add to the variety and get a nationwide scope, they asked photographers in Manila to contribute pictures from the provinces.
Having visited Camarines Norte earlier this year, I volunteered a photo of the Rizal monument in Daet, which is the oldest in the country.
Rizal Monument in Daet, Camarines Norte, Bicol Region
The Daet monument is the first Rizal monument in the country and was built 13 years before the Rizal monument in Luneta. The monument was unveiled on December 30, 1898, two years after Rizal’s death.
The 20-ft. high marker is a three-tiered, three-sided block with a triangular shape towards the peak. It is engraved with stars and a name Jose Rizal, as well as the names of Rizal’s popular novels Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo, and Morga (referring to Dr. Antonio Morga, a Spanish authority on Philippine historical studies).
Interestingly, Camarines Norte was one of the first provinces to celebrate Rizal Day. They also celebrate with a Bantayog Festival in honor of the first Rizal Monument every April.
I also found another picture of a Rizal monument I had taken in Jolo, Sulu some years ago when I was there for a book project.
Plaza Rizal, in Jolo, Sulu, ARMM
While the island of Jolo has breathtaking beaches and other great sights, most tourists (local and foreign) are hesitant to travel there due to the hype about security problems. This probably also explains why there’s not much information available about the Rizal Plaza there.
The Rizal monument can be found at the center of Plaza Rizal, which is located within the “walled city” of Jolo City, the largest town on the island Sulu.
The walled city was constructed in 1876 by the Spanish, and served as garrison of the Spaniards. Plaza Rizal was created to honor the Philippine National hero, Jose Rizal. It is situated in front of the Catholic Cathedral and the Notre Dame Girls’ High School and Elementary School.
Recently, the Lakbay Jose Rizal (Rizal @150 Heritage Trail Project) was launched, which asks travelers to rediscover and visit sites which became a part of our national hero’s life. I think it’s a great way to celebrate both travel and patriotism.
According to The Rizal Project and Amazing Facts about Jose Rizal, considering that Jose Rizal lived during the latter part of the 19th century where the only means of long distance travel was by ship, he can be considered a very well traveled man.
His extensive travel resume is something modern-day travelers can look up to. Rizal had been to the United States, Spain, Great Britain, France, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Italy, Singapore, Borneo, Hong Kong, China and Japan.
Our national hero was also very good at mastering foreign languages, an extremely useful skill for those who love to travel. He could write and read at age two and grew up to speak 22 languages including Latin, Spanish, Catalan, German, French, English, Chinese and Japanese!
Aside from numerous monuments here in the country, monuments in honor of Jose Rizal have been erected in various parts of the world like Madrid, Spain; Wilhelmsfeld, Germany; Jinjiang, Fujian, China; Chicago, Cherry Hill Township, San Diego, Seattle, U.S.A.; Mexico City, Mexico; Lima, Peru; Litomerice, Czech Republic; and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Copy of Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere modeled by my nephew Elias.