Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Own Brand of Rizal

December 30 here in the Philippines is the death anniversary of our national hero who happened to be Dr. Jose Rizal. Rizal, for me, is what it truly meant by a legend. It’s funny that while I was thinking about him, I am thinking about my changes, too. It always crosses my mind. At some point, Rizal let me know that I was passing on from childhood to adolescence and now that I am a year from leaving my teenage years. It helped me know that my thoughts are undergoing changes and I am beginning to develop principles.

When I was not yet in school and to play outside was my life, Rizal for me is a candy. My mom will give me a coin which has Rizal’s face embossed in it and I will trade that coin for a candy or a gum. That was my own Rizal. When I was studying, maybe in pre-school, Dr. Jose Rizal was Philippines’ National Hero. He was along with the mango which happens to be our National Fruit, along with the carabao which is our National animal, along with other symbols of the word nationalism. When I was a bit older, perhaps grade two, Jose Rizal became a doctor, sculptor, writer, ophthalmologist, painter, novelist and everyone I want to be. My teacher told us that no one can be compared to Pepe, his nickname. When I was grade four, Rizal was from Calamba, Laguna and was the opposite of Bonifacio who became a hero because he used his sword. My teacher educated us about what Rizal did and sacrificed just to win our freedom again. Finally, when I was a sixth-grader, I learned that Rizal’s real name was Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado Alonzo Y Realonda Quintos. (Believe it or not!) I studied about his works and felt that he really deserves to be the National hero of the country. I admire his writing skills and delivered his poems with great pride and love for my own country. I felt that I am really the hope of the nation, that it’s easy to be a hero in my own way but everything changed when I entered high school. It was during those four years that I studied all about his two major works, Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. I learned that Nationalism is not about singing the National Anthem and patronizing Philippine-made products. It’s surely more than that. I studied Noli Me Tangere and developed this fury towards the government and the corruption widely going on. I saw that it’s not always healthy to follow the authority because they are selfish and insensitive. I, being a Filipino, should take part and responsibility in fighting for the freedom Rizal once fought for and lead him to his tragic death. Those were my thoughts back then. My eyes were opened. It was also because of Rizal that I developed those principles I have today and those commitments I chose to partake. Now I know the reason why he fought and had given up his dreams. A life which is not spent on a noble act is senseless. When I was in college where everything seems to be challenging your principles in life, I learned that Rizal was no one perfect. My professor educated us about the National hero’s flaws and wrongdoings. I suddenly became confused about the person I looked up to. However, the nationalism remained. Rizal may not be everyone I thought him to be but still, he deserves to be respected and his works are still living masterpieces.

I always hate to sound like a hero. I don’t want to quote their words even though I find them really true and interesting. Maybe because I always appreciate things quietly. I feel the sympathy of those poor Filipino people being harassed and abused by government officials. I chose not to set my feet in the road and join rallies, instead, I chose to sit in front of this blog spot trying to convince people about my point (if ever I do have) and trying to make my words living characters which will somehow imitate how Rizal used to be. Rizal for me today is no more like a God. He is just a hero who deserves to have the respect he has today. He is intellectual and open-minded, just the way I want myself to be. He is a great writer which works touch hearts and mold lives to make better people, just the way I dream myself to be.


mOkO cHaN_~ said...

"I learned that Rizal was no one perfect."

I totally agree to what have you said here. Even heroes are not perfect, of course nobody's perfect. For me the Rizal we know may be called as a righteous person, and respected person from the past to this present time up to the future. I love how you explain your thoughts, keep it up ^^

Rhaingel said...

Well thank you so much! It's funny that we view Rizal differently, allowing such differences with perceptions yet we see him as someone who deserves all the respect from the Filipinos. After all, what he did was noble. Thanks for coming by my blog. :)