Was Rizal an accidental hero?

Here’s something to ponder over for Rizal’s birth anniversary which falls today…

In a manifesto issued while awaiting his trial, Rizal condemned the very rebellion that Filipinos today exalt to the highest heavens. In fact, he tried to run away from it by volunteering his services as a doctor for the Spanish army in Cuba which was also up against an insurrection. He did not want to be associated with the Katipunan.

Simply put: Rizal died for that rebellion which he had spurned. His loyalty remained with his “patria grande” — Spain. Why is it that nobody calls him a traitor in the same manner in which the memory of Aguinaldo is being tarnished today? Between Rizal and Aguinaldo, it was the latter who was more of a revolutionary for he adamantly fought for our country’s independence from Spain. And when Filipinas started to crumble after Spain had left, it was he who strived for its continued unification under one anthem and one flag.

¿Tapos siyá pa ang traidor?

Lest you forget, Aguinaldo as President decreed in 1898 that Rizal’s death anniversary be remembered as a national day of mourning. This move antedated by a period of about three years the US colonizers’ declaration that Rizal be made a hero.

Had Rizal joined the Katipunan, or at the very least, approved of its actions, his “martyrdom for independence” would have been valid.

In view of the foregoing, why is Rizal still a hero to you? 🤔

PS: I am in no way questioning Rizal’s heroism. To my mind, he should still be regarded as our country’s foremost national hero (and I have valid reasons). I simply wanted you, dear reader, to think, hehehe! Tama na munà ang gadgets. Gamitin ang utac at bacá mapanis. 😂✌️


Photo of Rizal’s reproduced ancestral house: Tsambaproductions.

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Why is Rizal a hero to you?

What’s your favorite Rizal poem? Chances are, you won’t be able to name one save for, of course, the usual stuff they taught us in school: the very last one he wrote. Do you even know how many poems he wrote? Are you even aware how exquisitely beautiful his verses are, and what are the usual themes of his poetry?

(as expected, I hear crickets chirping)


You see, Rizal was first and foremost a POET, a passionate bard who masterfully versified his profound love for Filipinas. He began his writing career as a poet and ended it as a poet. He is not all about the Noli and the Fili. He is not all about the Propaganda Movement. It is most unfortunate that he can no longer be understood by today’s generation when, at the turn of the 20th century, our forebears were cut off from his culture by a new language —THIS language I’m using right now— imposed by a nation experimenting with imperialism. When Rizal and his contemporaries were already soaring like Cervantes and Clarín, those hapless Filipinos who came after them had to learn anew the ABCs of another culture. So now we read him through bastardized and oftentimes annoying English translations. Unfortunately, we never soared like Shakespeare and Tennyson using the English language.


There was one, however, who came close: Nick Joaquín. But he was on a league of his own: his first language was Spanish, and many attribute his mastery of English, aside from his being an indefatigable bookworm, to his proficiency of his mother tongue (English and Spanish are cognates). It can even be argued that his translation of Rizal’s valedictory poem was more superior than the original. Perhaps among all Rizal translators, it was only Nick who was able to capture the imagination and depth of the national hero as well as the spirit of the Filipino.


But since we have been linguistically cut off from that faraway culture, our REAL culture, not all of us can be Nick anymore. Not all of us can be Rizal anymore.


Why is Rizal a hero to you?


Rizal is a hero not because of his defiance to authority. He is a hero because of his deep love of country, a burning love that can only be understood by reading his verses (NOT his novels) in the language in which he wrote them. This is something that all patriotic Filipinos should think about every time Rizal Day falls, so that its celebration will not be rendered futile.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC)

It is sad to note that the essence of Rizal’s heroism today has degenerated into mere hero worship and opportunistic commercialism. There is nothing wrong in honoring Rizal, but it is best that we thoroughly understand what his heroism really is all about. Understanding him is the best way of honoring his memory.

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Marcos is (not) a hero?

Hey Flips! Today is the birth centenary of former president Ferdinand Marcos, that’s why the local Internet community has gone bonkers once more, turning their respective timelines into virtual warzones (much to my entertainment). Some say he’s a hero, while others call him a villain. So let me join in the fun!

I also do not consider Ferdinand Marcos as a hero. But neither was he a villain. For me, he is simply a powerless historical figure, a former president who did a lot of bad things (crony capitalism; embezzlement of millions of dollars; condoning human rights abuses of Fidel Ramos and Fabián Ver; harassment of political rivals; faking a few war medals; banning Voltes V from local television — probably the most vile move he ever did; agreeing to neocolonialistic US policies during his first few years which empowered his authoritarianism; etc.) and a couple of good stuff that we really don’t need anymore (power plants such as the Bataán Nuclear Power PlantLeyte Geothermal Production FieldMakban Geothermal Power PlantAngat Hydroelectric Power Plant, etc.; establishment of numerous state colleges, universities, and secondary schools; Cultural Center of the PhilippinesFolk Arts TheaterPhilippine International Convention CenterNational Arts Center; the National Artist of the Philippines award; health centers such as the Philippine Heart Center, the Lung Center of the Philippines, and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute; modern roads, bridges, and highways like North Luzón ExpresswaySouth Luzón ExpresswayMarcos HighwaySan Juanico Bridge, Maharlika Highway, etc.; Light Railway Transit; rehabilitation of the walled city of IntramurosDepartment of Agrarian ReformInternational Rice Research Institute; the Philippine National Oil Company which then controlled Petron Corporation that sold cheaper gasoline; the “Kadiwa” store system which was very helpful to the impoverished; credit programs such as the “Kilusang Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran“, the “Gulayan sa Kalusugan“, and “Pagkain ng Bayan” programs, etc.; housing programs; various labor reforms and export development; strong recognition of Sabah, Borneo and the Spratly Islands as part of our patrimony; recognition of the Spanish language as one of our official languages through Presidential Decree No. 155; taking good care of his number one political rival by allowing him to go to the US for a heart surgery; harassment of oligarchs such as the López clan of Iloílo; peace and order/suppression of communist rebels; litter-free roads; disagreeing with neocolonialistic US policies during his last few years which led to his downfall; etc.). So I guess the best way to fight his memory is to stop patronizing all the things that he ever did for us, good or bad. Seriously. 😂😂

Indeed, Marcos was not a hero. Nor was his rival Ninoy Aquino. The former was just a president. The latter, an oppositionist. They are simply historical figures. Deal with it. #Marcos100  😂😂😂😂😂

Originally posted from an experimental blog of mine, this time with slight edits.