|RIZAL CONFERENCE 2011|
Yes, one of the world's greatest lovers is a Filipino.
And his name is Jose Rizal.
For the longest time, his name had been linked to a petite Segunda Katigbak, to a towering Leonor Valenzuela, to a protective Leonor Rivera, to a poetic Consuelo Ortiga, to an intelligent O-Sei San, to a buxom Gertrude Beckette, to a demanding Nelly Boustead, to a lachrymose Suzanne Jacoby, and a happy Josephine Bracken.
But, to the more avid Rizalians, or Rizalists, they would prefer remembering him – on his 150th birthday on 19 June 2011 -- for his love, other than romantic.
As a professor who used to handle Philippines Instutions 100, or Rizal Course, we find him as classic and universal as his love for his country.
In fact, his “predictions” could have prevented bad, or sad, news from happening -- had the concerned parties listened to him or read between his famous lines.
Here are the Top Ten Tips from Rizal to all of us who should share nothing but love:
- “Always keep before your eyes the honor and good name of all. Don't do anything which you cannot tell and repeat before everyone with head up and a satisfied heart.”
- “Men should be noble and worthy and behave like men and not like thieves or adventurers who hide themselves. You should despise a man who is afraid to come out in the open.”
- “The individual should give way to the welfare of society.”
- “He who does his duty in the expectation of rewards, is usually disappointed, because almost no one believes himself sufficiently rewarded.”
- “I am assiduously studying the happenings in our country. I believe that nothing can redeem us except our brains.”
- “Within a few centuries, when humanity has become redeemed and enlightened, when there are no races, when all peoples are free, when there are neither tyrants nor slaves, colonies nor mother countries, when justice rules and man is a citizen of the world, the pursuit of science alone will remain, the word patriotism will be equivalent to fanaticism, and he who prides himself on patriotic ideas will doubtless be isolated as a dangerous disease, as a menace to the social order.”
- “At the sight of those injuries and cruelties, while still a child, my imagination was awakened and I swore to devote myself to avenge one day so many victims, and with this idea in mind I have been studying and this can be read in all my works and writings. God will someday give me an opportunity to carry out my promise.”
- “A grand Genius had been born who preached truth and love; who suffered because of his mission, but on account of his sufferings, the world has become better, if not saved. Only it gives me nausea to see how some persons abuse His name to commit numerous crimes. If He is in heaven, He will certainly protest. Consequently, Merry Christmas!”
- “A nation wins respect not by covering up abuses, but by punishing them and condemning them.”
- “It has been said that love is the most powerful force behind the most sublime actions; well then, among all loves, that of country is the greatest, the most heroic and the most disinterested.”
The day before last year's Rizal Day, a decree issued by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo on 20 December 1898, our family had the chance to visit Fort Santiago. At the Rizal Shrine, we were able to watch a play -- Rizal: Haligi ng Bayan -- directed by Dr. Anton Juan who used our National Hero's quotable quotes as his actors' script.
A week after, Walter Hahn did the same, by citing his words of wisdom, in his lecture called 3 X 150 at the Philippine Education Theater Association (PETA) Theater Center. It was on the Feast of the Three Kings and he used the wise sayings of these Three Wise Men -- Tagore, Rizal, Steiner. But what was stuck in our minds was the letter from another Wise Man -- Ferdinand Blumentritt: “You have a brave heart and a more noble woman looks at you lovingly: Your Native Land. The Philippines is like one of the enchanted princesses of German folklore who is the prisoner of an ugly dragon waiting for a valiant knight to liberate her.”
It was a letter for Rizal written on 15 February 1891.
Yet it sounds as if it was the latest privilege speech of, say, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago or Pastor Ullmer's clan's updated blog entry from Wilhelmsfeld, a.k.a. “Noli Village,” where he finished Noli Me Tangere at the age of 25 and where you can find the sandstone fountain from which Rizal had drunk in 1886, which now can be seen in Luneta Park as a German donation to the Philippines.
We can go on and on, as our favorite love song goes, about Rizaliana.
However, if you can still feel the need for further explanations and interpretations of his life and works, might as well heed the invitation from Dr. Ma. Crisanta Nelmida-Flores, the director of the much-awaited conference at the University of the Philippines' GT-Auditorium within the Asian Center compound from 22 to 24 June. Entitled Rizal in the 21st Century: Local and Global Perspectives, it expects to gather all scholars, professors and teachers of Rizal course, researchers and practitioners engaged in Rizal Studies and Philippine Studies from all over the world such as Dr. Syed Farid Alatas from Malaysia; Dr.Vasco Casini from Italy; Dr. Isaac Donoso from Spain; Dr. Cristina Barron from Mexico; Dr.Hilmar Farid from Indonesian; Dr. Lucien Spittael from Belgium; and Dr. Victor Sumsky from Russia. Of course, never to be outdone are our Filipino experts on Rizal here like Dr. Consolacion Alaras, Dr. Prospero Covar, Dr. Wystan De La Peňa, Dr. Augusto de Viana, Dr. Albina Fernandez, Dr. Francis Gealogo, Dr. Ramon Guillermo, Dr. Jimmuel Naval, Prof. Ambeth Ocampo, and Dr. Zeus Salazar as well as abroad like Dr. Caroline Hau, Dr. Reynaldo Ileto, Dr. Floro Quibuyen, and Dr. Epifanio San Juan. Dean Mario Miclat of Asian Center, Dean Elena Mirano of the College of Arts and Letters had been on top of this historic event believed to be one of the grandest celebrations of Rizal's Sesquicentenary like the construction of a bigger Rizal monument in Rome or the publication of Rio Alma's Rizal:Makata or the Alpabetong Rizal Project we collaborated with Elmer Borlongan for Atty. Gigo Alampay's Center for Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development (CANVAS). For inquiries, kindly call Tere Peralta at #9287508.
During People's Gala, where we, together with Mike Coroza and The Batutes were acknowledged as Pasinaya 2011 performers, we missed Tommy Abuel, Albert Martinez, Cesar Montano, Joel Torre and other Crisostomo Ibarras – aside from John Arcilla, BartGuingona, Cheeno Macaraeg, Pen Medina, and Paolo Rodriguez whom we saw at the Cultural Center of the Philippines's Main Theater – who can recite Rizal's poetry far better. Also at the CCP, Tanghalang Pilipino has opened its for its Silver Anniversary Theater Season via an audition in National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera and Ryan Cayabyab's Noli Me Tangere: The Musical with National Artist Salvador Bernal as costume and stage designer, and Audie Gemora as director. For details, please call Tanghalang Pilipino at 832-3661 or 832-1125 loc. 1620 or 1621 and look for Yanna Acosta and Bheng Salilican.
Well, if you won't lift a finger to make things happen, expect Rizal to haunt you with his take on unfinished businesses: ““It is a useless life that is not consecrated to a great ideal. It is like a stone wasted on the field without becoming a part of any edifice.”
When Jose Rizal was an exile in Dapitan, he collected different kinds of species of animals. Among them were the Draco Rizali (Wandolleck), a specie of flying dragon, Rachophorous Rizali (Boetger), a hitherto unknown specie of toad and Apogonia Rizali (Heller), a small beetle, which were later named after him.