Mission complete: Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150
The Lakbay Jose Rizal @150 is a unique initiative launched by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the Departement of Tourism and other local government units. This is to commemorate the sesquicentennial of Jose P. Rizal’s birth. This mini-race would take one to the various places that played a significant role in Rizal’s life. At each stop, there is a unique stamp that is affixed to a Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150 passport. Exciting prizes are then up for grabs for the first 100 individuals that have completed all the required stamps.
My Lakbay Jose Rizal @150 journey started at Camarines Norte on June 20 and ended at Zamboanga del Norte on August 19 last year. Since I am now based in Manila, most of the sites are just a jeepney or a bus ride away. I am also glad that I already bought promo flight tickets to some of the destinations outside Luzon, long before the contest was even launched. That meant that I only needed to change my itinerary a little bit to accommodate a quick visit to the stamp sites at Cebu, Iloilo and Zamboanga.
Looking back now, I still could not believe how I managed to complete all the 26 stamps within that span of time. It was far from the Amazing Race, but every trip requires some form of strategy too. You have to think of the best and most affordable route to get to and from the stamp sites and at the shortest time possible as well. For those of you who missed some of my stories, you may refer to the list below which is arranged in chronology of my visit.
1. Rizal Monument, Magallanes and Justo Lukban Streets, Daet, Camarines Norte
2. Rizal Shrine, J.P. Rizal St., Calamba City, Laguna
3. Calamba Church (San Juan Bautista Church), J.P. Rizal St., Calamba City, Laguna
4. Molo Church (St. Anne’s Parish) and Escolta, Jocson and San Marcos Sts., Molo District, Iloilo City
5. Paco Park, San Marcelino and Gen. Luna Sts., Paco, Manila
6. Rizal Park and Monument, Roxas Blvd, Burgos, Kalaw and Taft Avenues, Manila
7. Rizal Execution Site (Light and Sound Museum), Roxas Blvd, Manila
8. Rizal Fountain, Roxas Blvd, Manila
9. Prison Cell and Rizal Shrine, Fort Santiago, Manila
10. Chapel Cell of Rizal, Fort Santiago, Manila
11. Site of the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, Anda cor. Sta. Lucia St., Intramuros, Manila
12. Site of the University of Santo Tomas, Banco Filipino Building., A. Soriano cor. Solana Sts., Intramuros, Manila
13. Site of Trial of Rizal, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), Gen. Luna cor. Muralla St., Intramuros, Manila
14. San Fernando Train Station, Brgy. Sto. Niño, San Fernando, Pampanga
15. Kamestisuhan District (Women of Malolos Marker/ Bautista House), Sto. Niño St., Malolos, Bulacan
16. National Shrine of our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Antipolo Church), Oliveros St., Antipolo City
17. Dumaguete City
18. Fort San Pedro, Pier Area, Cebu City
19. Dipolog Cathedral, Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte
20. Rizal Farm, Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte
21. Dapitan Plaza, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte
22. Site of the Casa Real, Barangay Talisay, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte
23. Dapitan Church, City Hall Drive, Barangay Sta. Cruz, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte
24. Relief Map of Mindanao, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte
25. Santa Cruz Beach, Punto del Disembarko de Rizal en Dapitan, Sunset Boulevard, Dapitan City
26. Rizal Shrine and Waterworks of Rizal, Barangay Talisay, Dapitan City
At the onset, I did not expect any lofty prize or recognition out of this experience. I just wanted to learn more about Rizal beyond what is written in most of our history textbooks. Undoubtedly, he is the most famous famous figure in Philippine history primarily because he is the country’s national hero. Aside from that he is also immortalized in coins, in matchboxes and in statues erected in almost every public plaza in the Philippines.
Ironically, his ubiquity may have also contributed to the indifference to his writings and works. So if you would ask ten different persons how Rizal is still relevant in our present context, you would probably get ten different answers too. It is a good thing that endeavors like these are launched to creatively teach especially the younger generation not only about Rizal’s life and death, but also the rich heritage of the Philippines as a whole.
I could still say that there is so much to learn about Jose Rizal even if I have seen many monuments of him during each trip. What I had then was just a glimpse of this man’s little and big adventures in the Philippines. But I could say though that he lived a full life because given the circumstances that was presented to him, he did what he had to do. This very detail separates the heroes from everyone else.
More than 150 years have already passed since Rizal’s birth. But his legacy is still felt by the present generation and even by the generations to come.