Photographing the siblings’ tombs, playing music at an old piano owned by a lost love, and reminiscing his childhood memories in his hometown… These were how I retraced the footsteps of my Kababayan, Jose Rizal, the Philippines’ National Hero.
Just 20 minutes away from the University of the Philippines Los Baños lie the remains of the siblings of Jose Rizal: Paciano, Josefa, and Doña Trinidad.Don Paciano, Rizal’s only brother lived in Los Banos. Little did I know that the old house beside the municipal hall of Los Banos was the same house where Paciano spent some years of his life.
Thanks to P.I. 100 (a course study on the Life and Works of Jose Rizal)! I discovered this place. Excited like kids, my classmates took out their cameraphones and started clicking when they saw this.
Another tomb contained the bones of Rizal’s sisters who died as old maids: Josefa and Doña Trinidad.
An hour away from Los Baños (without traffic) was the hometown of Jose Rizal–Calamba. Adjacent to the St. John the Baptist Church was the ancestral home of the Rizals, where the young Rizal, Pepe, was born.
Though a Calambeña, I felt like a stranger in my hometown when I entered the abode of the Rizals. I know it’s a shame that I only got to visit it because of P.I. 100. Nonetheless, I was grateful, I did.
The existing house was just a replica of the original. The original house was destroyed during World War II. The vast backyard of the Rizals showed their status in the society. This was where I saw another replica–the bahay kubo. It was where Pepe used to play as a kid. Of all the features of the house, only the deep well (turned wishing well for visitors) survived the war.
But what captured my interest was the small museum of Rizal’s belongings beside the house. I was surprised how small his garments were. Indeed, he was vertically-challenged too.
And then I saw this. Wow. My favorite among all his novels—Noli Me Tangere
We bade Calamba goodbye and headed to Lipa, Batangas, where Casa Segunda is.
Casa Segunda is the home of the prominent family of the Katigbaks whose matriarch, Segunda Katigbak captured the heart of Rizal. Segunda was a friend of Rizal’s sister, Olympia.
One of Rizal’s notes:
Aww. Rizal was indeed a romantic.
For me, knowing the story of Segunda and Rizal was the highlight of the trip.
It led me to understand the story behind Rizal’s inspirations for the characters of his novels. His characters reflected the people who made an influence in his life.
Here are some photos at Casa Segunda:
The backyard of Casa Segunda reminded me of “Suyuan sa Azotea” (in Noli Me Tangere)
I also saw an old piano at Casa Segunda and played. hehe. The piano was still in good condition.
Lakbay Aral of UPLB’s P.I.100 was a success! Indeed, lessons are best learned outside the four corners of a classroom. I dug out these memories, which happened three years ago.
*This post was written in honor of my kababayan, Dr. Jose Rizal as Filipinos celebrate his 150th birthday on June 19. This post is part of the Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ 8th Blog Carnival, entitled: Rizal and Travel, hosted by Ivan Henares of Ivan about Town.