Jose Rizal Mercado was born on June 19, 1861 at Calamba in the province of Laguna. He was the second son and the seventh of 11 children of Francisco Mercado and Teodora Alonso. He spent his childhood in this two-storey house, located at the heart of the Calamba town center.
The original house, howevever, was destroyed during World War II. It was then reconstructed by virtue of Executive Order No. 145 of President Elpidio Quirino and was said to be funded mainly through the donations of schoolchildren. The reconstruction efforts were spearheaded by Architect Juan F. Nakpil. He researched, designed the ancestral house of Rizal to be a truthful copy to the original. It was then inaugurated on June 19, 1950.
At the ground floor of the house are various memorabilias, photo displays that show what a typical Filipino house looks like during that century . Visitors would then be treated to the various sections of the house – bedrooms, kitchen and even the toilet. One must not also miss Rizal’s small boy statue and that of his pet dog, Berganza located at the back of the house.
The facade of the house has been repainted green to commemorate the sesquicentennial of Rizal’s birth. The color was chosen ‘to honor the memory of the Rizal family and their way of life.’ The Spanish ricial describes a green field that is ready for harvest. Not many were pleased with the idea of course.
The disagreement between the paint hue or color swatch is quite understandable too. But what is probably more important is to reflect on what the Calamba Shrine or the reconstructed Rizal house stands for in this present century. When viewed in that perspective, it serves to be an important historical reminder and ceases to be just another ancestral house that we just pass by on a daily basis.
How to get there
The Rizal Shrine-Calamba stamp site for the Lakbay Jose Rizal @150 is at the office located within the shrine premises. The blogger would like to thank Merry Epan for guiding him in getting to Calamba after their company activity at Sta. Rosa in Laguna. Transportation options in getting to Calamba are enumerated here.