Preparation, events for Rizal's 150th birth anniversary

     Filipinos very well know that national hero Jose Rizal died a martyr in Bagumbayan, now Rizal Park. But how many of us know Rizal's haunts in Manila? How many of us have been to his home in Calamba, Laguna or the house he stayed in during his exile in Dapitan?
     Now, there is an opportunity to relive Rizal's life and retrace his steps by joining "Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150" (Rizal @ 150 Heritage Trail Project), a year-long tour at your own pace to Rizaliana sites all over the Philippines, from Luzon, Visayas to Mindanao.
     The Department of Tourism (DOT) is issuing Jose Rizal passports to those who are interested to explore sites connected to the national hero's life.
     The brochure passports are part of the agency's "Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150" project, one of the activities marking the national hero's 150th birth anniversary on June 19. Here, domestic and foreign tourists are given a year to visit selected historical Rizal sites in the country.

These are:

National Capital Region
1. Prison Cell and Rizal Shrine, Fort Santiago
2. Chapel Cell of Rizal, Fort Santiago
3. Site of the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, Intramuros
4. Site of the University of Santo Tomas, Intramuros
5. Site of the Trial of Rizal, Intramuros
6. Rizal Park, Roxas Boulevard
7. Rizal Monument, Roxas Boulevard
8. Rizal Execution Site, Roxas Boulevard
9. Rizal Fountain, Roxas Boulevard
10. Paco Park, Paco
Central Luzon
11. San Fernando Train Station, San Fernando, Pampanga
12. Kamestisuhan District, Malolos, Bulacan
13. Rizal Shrine, Calamba City, Laguna
14. Calamba Church, Calamba City, Laguna
15. National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Antipolo Church), Antipolo City, Rizal
Bicol Region
16. Rizal Monument, Daet, Camarines Norte
Western Visayas
17. Molo Church, Iloilo City, Iloilo
Central Visayas
18. Dumaguete City
19. Fort San Pedro, Cebu City, Cebu
Zamboanga Peninsula
Stamp to be affixed on Lakbay Rizal passport
20. Rizal Shrine and Waterworks of Rizal, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte
21. Dapitan Plaza, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte
22. Site of the Casa Real, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte
23. Dapitan Church, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte
24. Relief Map of Mindanao, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte
25. Santa Cruz Beach, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte
26. Dipolog Cathedral, Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte
27. Rizal Farm, Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte

     A rubber stamp will be affixed on the Rizal passport for each site visited. The first 100 tourists to visit all 27 destinations on or before June 19, 2012 will receive a "Kalakbay ni Gat Jose Rizal" certificate and tokens ranging from books to plane tickets.
    "The Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150 token and certificates are valid only from June 19, 2011 to June 19, 2012.  The rubber stamps are permanent and will be available even after June 19, 2012 for visitors," said the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) on the official Facebook page of Rizal's 150th birthday anniversary.


Luneta gets facelift in time for Rizal's 150th birthday

 The National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) is not sitting idly by as Jose Rizal's 150th birthday draws near.
     In preparation for the late national hero's birthday celebration, the NPDC has been refurbishing the Luneta Park (also called Rizal Park) by sprucing up its gardens, repainting its statues and adding new facilities.
     As early as December last year, the committee installed closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and started playing children's songs at the park's new Children's Playground, which took 30 days to complete with the help of the Tourism Department headed by Secretary Alberto Lim.
     With the help of volunteers and support from the private sector, NPDC looks to complete Luneta Park's facelift ahead of its 2016 deadline.
     Among the committee's plans are the addition of a free Wi-Fi zone, repair of the park's underground drainage system, and possible underground parking spaces and passages to ease the volume of vehicles.
Another treasure set to be revived is a drinking fountain donated by the town of Heidelberg in Germany, where Rizal wrote the last chapter of his masterpiece novel Noli Me Tangere. The fountain will serve as the centerpiece of a planned Noli Me Tangere garden.
     By 2012, the NPDC, the Tourism Department and several other historical organizations hopes to renovate the Rizal monument and launch the park's relief map, as well as come up with a Rizal Heritage Trail that tourists may follow all over the country.

Multi-arts festival to pay tribute to Jose Rizal

     Mi Ultimo Adios (Spanish for "My Last Farewell") was written by Rizal on the eve of his execution on December 30, 1986. His other famous works, which exposed various problems in the Spanish colonial society, include Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.
     The country's national hero is the highlight of the Cultural Center of the Philippines' (CCP) Pasinaya 2011 as Rizal celebrates his 150th birth anniversary this year.
     The event, dubbed as the biggest one-day multi-arts festival in the country, will be held on February 6 at the CCP's theaters, hallways and promenade areas. More than 2,000 artists from dance, music, theater, visual arts, literature and cinema are set to take part in the festivities.
     Other activities lined up include crash workshops (Learning How to Sing in 15 Minutes with the Madrigal Singers), activities for children and families (Instrument Petting Zoo with the University of Santo Tomas Symphony and storytelling), an Artists Market (Sining Butingting: Artistic Knicknacks), multimedia exhibits, and an opening parade.
     CCP is expecting more than 6,000 attendees in Pasinaya 2011. A limited number of priority passes will be sold for P100 each.

Rizal’s manuscripts to be restored in time for his 150th birthday

    Manuscripts of Jose Rizal are set to be restored as part of the preparations for the national hero’s 150th birthday.
     Two professional conservators from Germany, with the help of the National Library of the Philippines, will conduct the restoration and conservation work on the novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, and the poem "Mi Ultimo Adios" from the end of April until mid-May 2011.
     Also part of the preservation work is "Guillermo Tell", Rizal’s Tagalog translation of the play "William Tell" by Friedrich Schiller.
     The project is funded by the Federal Government of Germany as part of its cultural preservation program, and by the National Library of the Philippines.
It highlights the cultural relationship between the Philippines and Germany, one of the countries where Rizal studied.
     The National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) has been refurbishing the Luneta Park (also called Rizal Park) in time for the national hero's 150th birthday on June 19.

Gates open at Fort Santiago for Rizal's 'birthday party'

     Who would have thought that the place where Jose Rizal was imprisoned before getting executed in 1896 will serve as a venue for his birthday party 115 years later?
     Fort Santiago, a ruined old Spanish fort in the walled city of Intramuros in Manila, will be turned into a party venue on June 19 for "Maligayang Bati, Jose Rizal!" (literally "Happy Birthday, Jose Rizal!" in Filipino), part of a year-long tribute to the country's national hero.
     The event will feature kalesas (horse-driven carriages), live musical performances, food and wine, and a "Turn of the Century" photo booth, among others.
     It will be open to the public for a fee (P100 for adults and P50 for children ages 12 and below), but those who will come in their favorite Rizal costumes can enter for free.
     "It's a birthday party of sorts [for Rizal]. Gates open at 6 p.m.," said Lisa Bayot, the great granddaughter of Saturnina, Rizal's eldest sister.
     Bayot is spearheading the My Rizal 150 project, aimed at raising awareness about the country's national hero.
     "Bring food, wine, your banig (handwoven mat), anything you want to bring."
     Maite Gallego, a relative of Rizal's contemporaries Maximo Viola and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, for her part said, "Our mission is for every Filipino to know have a deeper understanding of Rizal and to discover the Rizal in each of us."
     "Maligayang Bati, Jose Rizal!" is only one of the many events lined up in celebration of the national hero's 150th birth anniversary.
     Other activities include a tour of selected Rizal sites in the Philippines, photo exhibits and film showings.

Rizal's legacy honored in 3 art exhibits

     The legacy of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal is honored in 3 art exhibits this month in the country, all held to celebrate the hero's 150th birth anniversary. 

'Jose Rizal Figuras' at SM Megamall
"Finished or Not Finished", 36 x 48, oil on canvas by Anton Mallari of the 6 O'Clock Habit group. Credit: Mendez Big and Small Gallery
     "Jose Rizal Figuras", an exhibit at the SM Megamall Art Center, focuses on the life of Rizal not only as a Renaissance man (doctor, artist, writer, scholar) but also as an obedient son and ladies' man.
     Participating artists include members of the 6 O'Clock Habit Group, among them Aleah Angeles, Chester Calayag, Jayson Cortez, Anton Mallari, Edwin Martinez, Jessie Mondares, Joel Quiñones, Kim Jerome Santiago, Bryan Teves, and Cyril Turao, and the Black Jack Group (Peter Alcazar, Jay Bermudez, Rey Bollozos, Reynard Borillo, Ronson Culibrina, Aubrey Fajardo, Isadore Lerio, Gualberto Licong Jr., John Marin, Gino Nagret, Rommel Sampana, Jukus Sepada, Jay Torres, Papi Umali, and Rodney Yap).
     They will be joined by sculptor Jong Tangiday, and guest artists Froilan Calayag, Joey Cobcobo, Joel Mendez, Papajack, Steve De Leon and Ronald Ventura. The show is curated by Mendez.
"Jose Rizal Figuras", organized by the Mendez Big and Small Gallery, runs until June 14. For details, call (632) 516-33-42, (632) 566-26-40, or 0917-8482691. 

'About Face' at Lopez Memorial Museum
     Extensive Rizaliana holdings, meanwhile, are on exhibit along with artworks from contemporary artists such xVRx, Renan Ortiz, Louie Talents, and Alvin Zafra at the exhibit dubbed "About Face" at the Lopez Memorial Museum in Pasig City ongoing until August 27.
     The show explores the human face and its many facets, be it good or evil, and features both the ordinary and the heroic. On view will be memorabilia of Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo, and Jose Rizal.
     "We continue in our quest to create relevance in our archives and for the collection and to continue to make it significant to the succeeding generations -- to young and younger and even younger viewers. We hope they enjoy the exhibits as we make it more meaningful to them," said museum curatorial consultant Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez.
     The Lopez Memorial Museum is at G/F Benpres Bldg., Meralco cor. Exchange Rd., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. For details, call (632) 631-2417 or visit

'Over Rizal: Monuments to a Hero' at the UP Vargas Museum
The Rizal monument in Tacloban, Leyte. 
     It's all about monuments, meanwhile, at the exhibit entitled "Over Rizal: Monuments to a Hero" to be held at the UP Jorge B. Vargas Museum from June 17 to August 2011.
     To be shown are images of monuments built in honor of Rizal in the country and overseas, culled from both personal and institutional collections.
     Also part of the show are the works of artists Denis Lagdameo, Kawayan de Guia, and Manny Migriño. The exhibit will also showcase film, documents, and archival materials showing Rizal's image, in an effort to explore the meanings and sentiments evoked by the hero's presence in public spaces as well as in the consciousness of Filipinos.

NCCA sets film showing on Rizal’s 150th fete

     Special screenings of feature films inspired by the life and heroism of National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal will be held starting today as part of the country’s celebration of his 150th birth anniversary on Sunday, June 19.
     The event is being organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), together with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), and the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), which will be holding special screenings at the Rizal Open Air Auditorium in Rizal Park, Manila.
     The list of movies is headlined by the movie Rizal sa Dapitan directed by Tikoy Aguiluz, to be shown today, June 17. The film, which stars Albert Martinez and Amanda Page, presents the hero’s exile in Dapitan where he stayed from 1892 to 1896. It depicts the experiences of Rizal (played by Martinez) in mingling with the locals, his efforts in educating young students, and how he met his “last love”, Ms. Josephine Bracken (Page).
     The following day, Saturday, Marilou Diaz Abaya’s Jose Rizal will be shown. The multi-awarded movie, which stars Cesar Montano in the title role, bagged various citations in year 1999, including the Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award of the Metro Manila Film Festival, the FAMAS Award for Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematography for the Gawad Urian Award. The film shows Rizal’s life and works as a writer, propagandist, lover, friend, brother, doctor, and as a man that inspired a revolution.
     Sisa, a 2008 film, will meanwhile be shown on June 19. The movie, which stars Jodi Santamaria, Jay Manalo, Aleck Bovick, and Carlo Maceda, presents the story of the fictional character Sisa (Santamaria) from Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere.
     A 15-minute documentary film, Lolo Jose: The Family Carries On will also be shown before the screening of each movie. The documentary was produced by Vibal Foundation, and tells the stories of Rizal from the point of view of his modern-day descendants. Story upon story are layered in a rich collage of history, experience and memory, until Rizal comes vividly to life in all his humanity: as a son, brother, lover, friend, and grand uncle.
     These screenings, which are open to the public, are also co-presented by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), Vibal Foundation, VIVA Films, GMA Films, and OnCam Productions.

     For more info, visit or or call Ryan Sebastian at the DOT Office of Product Research and Development, tel. no. (632) 523-8411 local 265.  Call CCP's performing arts department at (632) 832-1125 local 1600 to 1607. The Vargas Museum is on Roxas Avenue, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. For more details, contact (632) 928-1927, (632) 981-8500 local 4024, email, or visit



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