Sunday, June 19, 2011

150 Years Of A Hero

Today, June 19 is the 150th birthday of Jose Rizal, Philippines' National Hero.

Any Filipino out there who doesn't know who Jose Rizal is, should be ashamed of themselves. He's done much in his life and he's proven that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword (during the time when education and literacy is valued).

(if you don't know who Jose Rizal is click here)

Got me thinking of the same question others are thinking- What if Jose Rizal was born on a later time (70's,80's, 90's) what do you think will he do to change our country??? Some said he will use the social media (twitter, facebook), some said he'll lead an activist group, some said an educator, some said he will be a politician.

After all the answers I got, it made me realize that at the end of the day the answers I will receive from people are all just a product of wishful thinking and imagination. At the end of the day, all of us should just be thankful for the contributions and sacrifices this hero gave for us and for our country. At the end of the day, people like me, will just hope that his legacy will live in the hearts of the Filipinos forever.

Last week, I was given a chance to join Manila Bulletin's Students and Campuses shoot for their Jose Rizal Special "A Hero In Love" printed last Wednesday (June 15). A young, modern-day inspired Jose Rizal modeled  by (for me the best actor of this generation) Sid Lucero, together with the women of his life Leonor Rivera (Gwen Zamora), O Sei San (Sarah Lahbati), and Josephine Bracken (Bela Padilla).

"Historians say Jose Rizal romanced the hearts of a dozen women, but only 10 had been identified. Quite a feat for a young man who stood at only 4’11”...

Jose Rizal's life is one of the most documented of the 19th century due to the vast and extensive records written by and about him. Almost everything in his short life is recorded somewhere, himself being a regular diarist and prolific letter writer. Much of these materials that have survived were drawn from his travel diaries – the insights of a young Asian encountering the West for the first time. This period of his education and his pursuit of life included his recorded affections.

Leonor Rivera — Rizal’s ideal woman – was his girlfriend for 11 years. Unfortunately, Leonor’s mother disapproved of the relationship with Rizal, who was then earning the reputation of being a dissident. She hid Rizal's love letters from Leonor, most of them sent from Spain. Leonor believing that Rizal had already forgotten her, consented to marry her mother’s choice, Englishman Henry Kipping. Leonor was immortalized by Rizal in the character of Maria Clara in his novels ‘Noli Me Tangere’ and ‘El Filibusterismo’. Rizal and Leonor were said to be distant cousins.

On his second trip to Europe, Rizal stopped by Japan where he met O Sei San, a lovely and intelligent daughter of a samurai. She served as Rizal’s interpreter and accompanied him on sightseeing trips around Japan. She was fluent in English and French. She introduced Rizal to Japanese culture, teaching him to write and paint. Rizal would have married O Sei San, but he left Japan because he thought he was destined for a greater mission in the Philippines. In a letter, he said of her: ‘O Sei San, O Sei San, sayonara. No woman, like you, has ever loved me..

While on exile in dapitan, Zamboanga, Rizal met a petite 18-year-old Irish girl. Her name was Josephine Bracken, the adopted daughter of George Taufer who had traveled to Dapitan from Hong Kong to have his eye treated by Rizal. Immediately attracted to Josephine, Rizal called her ‘dulce estranjera,’ or sweet foreigner. While there had been a few other women in Rizal’s past, Josephine alone was the one he married. The day before his execution, in Rizal’s final poem ‘Mi Ultimo Adios’, he said of Josephine (translated as follows), ‘Farewell, sweet tender foreigner, my friend, my felicity’.

Location Manila Bulletin Office
Photos by Jovel Lorenzo
Styled by Lorraine Rafols
Grooming for Sid Lucero by Janeth Tia
MakeUp for Bela Padilla by Janeth Tia
MakeUp for Sarah Lahbati by Rene Joaquin
MakeUp for Gwen Zamora by Rene Joaquin
Clothes from Forever21 courtesy of SM Department Store

Caption Source: Manila Bulletin Website

Visit Students and Campuses Facebook click here

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