As we try to shake off the Christmas hangover and look forward to the New Year celebrations, I hope it would not be a bother to recall the hero we know as José Rizal. It’s not an unfortunate event that his day of commemoration is sandwiched between two high celebrations. Instead, it should be placed side by side with them in terms of regard and importance.
* Rizal monument in Bay (Ba’i / Bae) Laguna
It would be better if Noli Me Tangere (Noli) and El Filibuterismo (El Fili), two of his well-known works, can be easily read during this time. For in his works are thoughts and exhortations that pierce through many aspectspolitical, social, educational, and even personal. One commentary in a newspaper today even suggested that his novels be made into TV series.* Perhaps not to make Rizal more relevant. He has proven this for long stretch of time already. But perhaps to ingrain Rizal in our minds and consciousness as a key figure our past and thus an integral part of our present and our future. To put images of Rizal on t-shirts or giving him a spiffy look through graphic designs are good ways of making him well-known. But I would go for a more laborious yet more lasting way: getting to know the national hero through his life and works. Let us make him alive in our lives and way of living.
* Bagulaya, Jose Duke S. “The Pleasures of Rizal’s Novels” Philippine Daily Inquirer, Vol. 30, No. 22, A10