This Filipino Visited 160 Jose Rizal Monuments Around the World
Joseph Ginno Jaralve was teaching his class at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina when he told his students to read the article "Ang Bayani sa Plaza" by historian Nilo Ocampo. The article critiques the appearance of Jose Rizal in many of his monuments around the country. If he was Filipino, then why is he depicted wearing an overcoat in statues?
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Jaralve assigned his students to visit five monuments of Jose Rizal around Marikina to see how the hero is depicted and whether Ocampo's article is accurate. What they discovered was that Rizal’s monuments are so different from each other.
“We learned that Jose Rizal’s monuments would vary in each place it is found. Most of these are found within campus grounds or outside government buildings,” Jaralve told Esquire Philippines.
Jaralve decided to pursue this assignment further by traveling to as many monuments of Rizal he can go to. He intends to visit all existing monuments, busts, and markers related to Jose Rizal, even if these are found in the farthest places around the world
160 Monuments Visited and Counting
So far, he has visited 160 of these in the Philippines and abroad.
“I’ve visited markers and busts in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Moscow.”
Asked about his favorite monument of Rizal, Jaralve picks one that is close to home.
“A hundred meters from our house, there is a monument of Jose Rizal. Ever since I was a kid, I would pass by this monument while walking home. It is one of the most perfect sculptures of Jose Rizal, technically speaking, because of the detail and fidelity of the image to Rizal’s actual look.”
Says Jaralve, most sculptures he encountered were haphazardly made and don’t look like Jose Rizal at all.
“It’s like they just sculpted it and put the name ‘Rizal’ to be able to call it a monument.”
Rizal Monument with a Swastika
Among the most interesting monuments Jaralve visited was one in Aklan that has a swastika on it.
“I don’t know what it symbolizes, but that’s what’s interesting with each sculpture. People who commissioned it or the place that hosts it sometimes imparts a piece of their identity and culture with the sculpture.”
Jose Rizal’s Significance in the Jaralve Family
Jaralve’s family traces its roots to Dapitan, where Jose Rizal was exiled. Rizal became so popular in Dapitan at the time that nearly everybody there named their sons after him.
“I’m named Joseph or Jose, after Jose Rizal, as was my father, and my grandfather. In our clan, there are dozens of cousins and uncles named that way.
“It all started when Rizal was exiled to Dapitan and people there started naming their children after him. Among those children named after Rizal was my grandfather, who passed down the tradition to his posterity.”
Jaralve says this tradition is common among many Dapitaños.
But more than the name and the sculptures, Jaralve revealed he is doing this to promote the ideals espoused by Jose Rizal.
“I want people to appreciate how Rizal transcends cultures and people, as evidenced by the presence of his monuments in many places around the world. He is a greatly admired figure not only in the Philippines but also around the world.”
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He considers Jose Rizal as not perfect, but it is because of these imperfections that ordinary people can hope to emulate his ideals.
Below are some of the photos he took while visiting Jose Rizal's monuments.
All photos in this story were taken and provided by Joseph Ginno Jaralve. He is the president of the Junior Chamber International-Marikina Sapatos, Inc. He lives in Marikina.