|Lisa Bayot (in white) promoting PreMYo Rizal to teachers and students in Pandi, Bulacan|
It was Atty. Ramoncita Reyes who represented the Rizal descendants during the sneak preview of Mirana Miranda's video version of Ultimo Adios at Rizal Shrine, Fort Santiago Intramuros, Manila last 29 December.
But, Ms. Lisa Tinio Bayot, who seemed to be just another pretty face in the crowd, was sure that she had her fair share of immortalizing her lolo.
On 19 January 2011, when we coincidentally turned 47, she started it all by collaborating with the Holy Angel University's Juan D. Nepomuceno Center for Kapampangan Studies to create facebook rizal 150 to 150, a 150-day countdown to Jose Rizal's 150th birth anniversary.
Speaking of how great she is as the great granddaughter of Saturnina Rizal, our National Hero's eldest sister who married Manuel Timoteo Hidalgo of Tanauan, Batangas! A draftsman and interior designer of her own Saturnina Development Corporation, Ms. Tinio Bayot exerted extra effort to further make Rizal more relevant to the Gen X, or Y, by teaming up with Trixie Herbosa Grau, the great granddaughter of Lucia Rizal, Maite Gallego, a descendant of Maximo Viola, together with Rosalyn Consing, Loi Ilustre, Miko Liwanag, and Miles Po who are all members of Binhi English Literacy Foundation Inc.
On 28 May, she and Ms. Herbosa Grau led the slideshow presentation calledRizal as Young Hero for the Filipino Child at the Museo Pambata.
And, on Rizal's birthday itself, 19 June, they organized the Maligayang Bati Jose Rizal at the Fort Santiago. It was participated in by Cris Villonco, who sang Sinta ng Bayan, playing not Maria of Sound of Music but Maria Clara;Sipat Lawin Ensemble, a theater company composed of the Philippine High School for the Arts's theater arts alumni; Heroes Square, another young theater group which performed a 30-minute play; Buhay na Kasaysayan whose actors wore military uniforms from different periods of Philippine history; Ateneo Chamber Singers, conducted by Jojo Velasco, who did Maritess Salientes' composition and arrangement in MyRizal Jazz Symphony; and Gerard Salonga, the 2011 The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Awardee for Music, who jammed with Ms. Salientes for the finale number as a call to unity of allFilipinos for the love of country. Through the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Society of Filipino Film Archivists, Gerardo de Leon's 1961 adaptation of Noli Me Tangere was projected on the walls of Fort Santiago where Rizal spent his last days 115 years ago.
Then, they launched the website at the Manila Diamond Hotel where they made a birthday cake with Maligayang Bati, Jose Rizal!, shaped in the form of the original design of Noli Me Tangere's cover.
What they started in 2011 reached its peak during the awarding ceremonies ofPreMYo Rizal essay-writing contest at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation Plaza's Yuchengco Museum last 5 December.
The “new Rizals,” for Grade School (Filipino), include: Therese Diane S. Villanueva from Occidental Mindoro State College, first place; Jonalyn T. Juarez, Cantabaco Elementary School, Cantabaco, Toledo City, second place; Jaydie Ann R. De Castro, Paaralang Sentral ng Timog Boac, Laylay Boac, Marinduque, third place.
For High School (English), the winners are Marisse T. Sonido, Assumption Antipolo, first place; Nicole Louise G. Serrano, Ramon Magsaysay Cubao High School, second place; and Jose Vergel T. Herrera, Saint Columban College, Pagadian City; third place.
For College (Filipino): Teressa S. Villanueva, UP Diliman, first place; Jan Victor R. Mateo, UP Diliman, second place; Erick Dasig Aguilar, UP Diliman, third place; Roberto O. Umil, and Mon Karlo L. Mangaran, Far Eastern University, both honorable mention. On the other hand, College (English): Alexei Frederick Remollino Flores, UP Diliman, first place; Anne Margaret P. Cordero, UP Diliman, second place; Cristina Gratia T. Tangtengco, Ateneo de Manila University, third place.
Everything about it can, actually, be found on www.myrizal150.com – but we still preferred to hear it from the founder herself. Thus, we asked Ms. Tinio Bayot about a nagging question: “Is there life after Rizal?”
Vim Nadera: What is your project -- My Rizal -- all about?
Lisa Bayot: Maite Gallego and I co-founded MyRizal composed of some descendants and friends of Rizal. It is a movement, an invitation and a challenge for all to rediscover Dr. Jose Rizal, have a deeper understanding of his heroism and ideals, and to celebrate the Rizal in each of us. MyRizal is inclusive and encourages participation by everyone—regardless of whether you are a Rizal relative or not--150 years after his birth. We have with us today his spirit, his example, his body of works. If Rizal lives in us, we can live Rizal.
VN: What urged you to co-found it with Maite Gallego and Trixie Herbosa Grau?
LB: We – together with , Rosalyn Consing, Lois Ilustre, Miko Liwanag, and Miles Po – and are members of Binhi, an NGO I founded in 2008 advocating education for the youth, and Rizal embodies this quest for education.
I thought we can match the ideals of both organizations for this purpose. Teodora Alonso is an “icon” of Binhi since our advocacy is education, and often, Binhi gets community-based mothers to teach Binhi classes. During Binhi parent orientation day, we point out Alonso’s significant influence on our national hero, and we point out opportunities to be a hero in one’s family and communities.