After more than 4 years in exile in Dapitan, Jose P. Rizal left for Manila onboard SS España last July 31, 1896. He was set to depart for Cuba after his application to serve as a temporary physician during the war was granted by the Governor General Ramon Blanco earlier that month. He and his family arrived at Dumaguete at dawn on August 1, 1896. This was then the first of his many stopovers before reaching his intended destination.
Rizal barely spent a full day in Dumaguete but he still managed to accomplish a lot. While his family went around the town, he met with the local officials, visited Mr. Herrero Regidor who was his old classmate and performed on eye operation in the afternoon. They left for Cebu late in the evening.
He described the people of Dumaguete as having ‘the taste of decorating their houses with plants and flowers.’ I am not certain though if this description would still be true to this day. But even so, this brief visit was memorable for him that he wrote a separate entry in his diary about it.
There are a few reminders of his brief presence today in Dumaguete City – a monument in the town center erected in his honor and the Rizal Boulevard, a 780 m concrete walkway built in 1916. The latter offers a tranquil view of southwestern Cebu and also serves as a show window of the city. I imagine then that since there was no Sans Rival or Silliman University or Jo’s Chicken Inato to occupy his time, Rizal may have stood comtemplating on its very shores more than a century ago.
The author would like to thank the Dumaguete City Tourism Office for assigning someone to stamp his Rizal passport on a weekend.
Mr. Audrey Noel Tumulak
Quezon Park Tourism Officer
+63 35 422-9409
(M-F, 8 am- 5 PM)