One of the major tourist destination of the Philippines which is also a historical landmark is the Rizal Shrine in Dapitan City. It is situated in a 16 hectare estate in Barangay Talisay which Dr. Jose P. Rizal purchased during his exile in the Dapitan in July 17, 1892 to July 31, 1896. Rizal Shrine approximately 2 kilometers North West from Dapitan City Plaza where Casa Real, Relief Map of Mindanao, St. James Church and Parochial School are near.
History of Rizal Shrine in Dapitan
A month after Rizal landed in Dapitan, a Spaniard from Manila brought lottery tickets to Dapitan to sell it. Dr. Jose P. Rizal, politico-military Governor Ricardo Carcinero and a Spaniard from Dipolog bought a ticket which fortunately won for them P20,000. Rizal share was about P6,200. He gave P2,000 to his beloved father and P200 to his friend in Hongkong named Basa. He invested the remaining money in business, bought lands and built houses in Talisay which is now popularly known as the Rizal Shrine.
Rizal was housed in Casa Real when he arrived and later transferred to Talisay. His mother Doña Teodor Alonso, his sisters and some relatives and neighbors from Calamba, Laguna came to live with Rizal until 1896.
Rizal Shrine is where Dr. Jose P. Rizal lived his life to the fullest. One of his ideals states that: “A life which is not consecrated to a great ideal is useless. It is a pebble lost in the field without forming part of an edifice”. Rizal was a paradigm of man with a mission. He was making the most out of his exile in Dapitan. He spent his 4 years living in as a physician, merchant, farmer, inventor, painter, sculptor, archaeologist, linguist, grammarian, teacher, architect, poet, biologist, composer, surveyor and environmentalist. He was also a father and brother to all Dapitanons and improved their lives. No wonder Dr. Jose P. Rizal is considered as Philippines’ National Hero. He is the “Jack of All Trades”.
The Court Martial imposed capital punishment and “the payment of indemnity to the State in the amount of One Hundred Thousand Pesos, the obligation to pay such indemnity being transmissible to the heirs of the accused”. Rizal’s properties in Talisay were confiscated by the Spanish authorities and Don Cosme Borromeo was appointed custodian of the impounded properties.
In 1913, the government of the Philippines developed the place where Rizal and his family stayed into a park. After a year it was further developed and only in 1940 where the late President Manuel L. Quezon of the Commonwealth Government issued a proclamation declaring it a “Rizal National Park”.
Structures inside Rizal Shrine in Dapitan
- Casa Cuadrada – Rizal’s Home together with members of his family who came to visit him. It has been faithfully reconstructed in its original light, native materials.
- Casa Redonda – an octagonal dwelling which served as a dormitory to some of his pupils. It was later converted to a clinic and it was here where George Taufer, the foster father of Josephine Bracken was operated on his eyes.
- Casa Redonda Pequena – a hexagonal structure which served as the chicken house.
- Casitas de Salud – there are two of these structures intended as tea houses but which our national hero converted into clinics to accommodate patients from far flung municipalities.
- Aqueduct – a reservoir which served as a good water system. Bamboo tubes used to connect the diversion canal to the kitchen and lavatory.
- Mi Retiro Rock – it is a natural heart shaped rock so called because it was here where our national hero is known to have scribbled beautiful verses of his famous poem “Mi Retiro (A Mi Madre)” which translates to “My Retreat (For my Mother) and “Himno a Talisay” which translates to “Hail to Talisay”. He also spent many hours watching the sunset here.
- Amphitheater – an open air auditorium with a seating capacity of 500 which was constructed beyond the Mi Retiro Rock by the city government from funds from the office of the Reginal Commissioner headed by Rear Admiral Romulo M. Espaldon, now Minister for Muslim Affairs.
- Rizaliana – a modern, concrete building constructed in 1972 which houses all Rizalian books, periodicals and all sorts of historical exhibits. Part of it also serves as the Office of the Rizal Shrine Curator.
Rizal Shrine at Present
Located 10-15 minutes away from Sunset Boulevard where the Gloria Fantasyland and the long beach of Dapitan is situated, Rizal Shrine is now one of the most interesting places to both Filipinos and Foreigners. Entrance is free while parking is at a very minimum price. There is no restaurant and only one store that sells junk foods and drinks is available nearby. A souvenir shop that sells shirts, necklaces, bracelets, rosaries and other products is available inside Rizaliana building. A monument of Rizal was erected on March 8, 1987 by the Order of the Knights of Rizal. Through the efforts of the government of Dapitan, railings were established, surrounding the Rizal Shrine so one can have a variety of views on the landscapes.
Rizal Shrine in Dapitan reflects the diligent lifestyle led by Rizal through the rebuilt structures of his nipa hut residence, hospital, dormitory, dam and waterworks. The Rizaliana Museum exhibits Rizal’s original clothing, blackboard and desk he used in his boys’ school, and reproduction of sculptures, paintings, and select manuscripts. The Rizal Shrine affirms the hero’s patriotism through his prolific industry and selfless service to his fellowmen.