A picture of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal’s bronze statue in Rome, Italy recently emerged on social media, prompting a look at how the patriot is revered in other countries.
The statue was built in Piazzale Manila during the commemoration of Rizal’s 150th birthday on June 19, 2011 through the Philippine Embassy to the Holy See.
It was also built with the help of Josephine Bantug, a relative of the national hero through the family line of his sister Narcisa.
Piazzale Manila is where the Filipino community in Italy commemorate Rizal’s birthday, as well as the Philippines’ Independence Day on June 12.
Josè Rizal memorial in Rome Italy. pic.twitter.com/MklfD2Vkyg
— Memorias de las viejas Filipinas (@ViejasFilipinas) January 14, 2019
Rizal visited Italy for three days during his travels in Europe.
He arrived on June 27, 1887 and went to the Capitoline, Tarpeian Rock, Palatine, Roman Forum, Colosseo, Capitoline Museum, and the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
The national hero also reportedly took a flower from the Palace of Septimius Severus and sent it to his friend Ferdinand Blumentritt.
On his second day, Rizal went to Rome and wrote a letter to his father that read: “I was in Turin, Milan, Venice, Florence, and for some days I have been here.”
The national hero left the country on June 30, 1887 and encountered an Italian priest in a train who reportedly treated him like an old friend. Rizal referred to him as his “Father Confessor.”
He also wrote about his overall fondness for the country, where he was quoted writing that he would stay in Italy “until the last moment.”
“I will give up visiting the other cities. If I had one more year, I would spend it all here… Ancient Rome allures me exceedingly,” Rizal had penned.
Rizal monuments around the world
Other countries have also built their own monuments and busts to honor the Philippine hero who has displayed excellence in several fields and inspired the Philippine Revolution.
A monument exists at Madrid, Spain, the country where Rizal stayed the most in his European travels.
It is located in a well-lighted and landscaped 70-meter corner lot at the Parque Santander along Avenida de Filipinas in downtown Madrid.
Rizal stayed in Spain from 1882 to 1891 and described Madrid as “one of the pleasant cities of the world.” He also claimed that it has the same “spirit of Europe and of the Orient.”
A bust of the national hero exists in Tokyo, Japan as well, the country where Rizal fell in love with a woman named Seiko Usui. The figure is located in Hibiya Park, the same site of the hotel where Rizal had stayed in 1888.
The national hero learned all about Japan’s culture, customs and traditions in his 45-day stay and documented his fascination with the country.
A statue also exists in Wilhelmsfeld, Germany that features Rizal with a quill in his hand. The hero in his visit attended lectures and wrote the last chapters of “Noli Me Tangere.”
Rizal also celebrated his 25th birthday with the family of a pastor named Karl Ullmer and stayed with them for a three-month vacation.
Busts were also installed in his honor at Litoměřice, Czech Republic as part of a sister-city agreement with Calamba, Laguna.
Rizal in his visit to the country met scientists, including botanist Heinrich Willkomm. The national hero would later on collaborate with Willkomm during his exile at Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte.
Several statues were also built in his honor at Australia, specifically in New South Wales and Victoria.
While Rizal did not particularly visit Australia in his travels, the statues were erected to commemorate his bravery and contributions to the scientific and literary field.
Australia is considered one of the Filipinos’ top countries for migration and overseas employment opportunities nowadays.
A bust of the patriot is also found in Argentina, specifically in Paseo de la Republica de Filipinas along Avenida de los Incas in Buenos Aires.
Similar to Australia, Rizal did not visit Argentina but the bust was built by the Philippine Embassy in Buenas Aires to commemorate his martyrdom.
Another South American country also built a bust in his honor. Peru has a bust decorated with four inaugural plaque markers on each side.
It was built in a park named after Rizal through the efforts of Philippine Honorary Consulate in Peru and the municipality of La Molina.
Several monuments of the national hero can also be found in the United States, the country’s longest defense ally.
They are located in Juneau, Alaska; Kauai and Lihue in Hawaii; Chicago, Illinois; Orlando, Florida; California; Cherry Hill in New Jersey; New York City, Seattle and Carson, California.
Rizal went to the United States on April 28, 1888 and visited New York, Oakland, Reno, Chicago and Boston. He immediately noticed the racism against Black Americans at that time and shared his observations to Mariano Ponce.
A monument of him also exists in Fujian, China in what is considered the “biggest Rizal park” by the Knights of Rizal.
A shrine was additionally built to acknowledge the national hero’s Chinese roots through his great-great-grandfather Domingo Lameo, a Chinese immigrant to the Philippines.
Although Rizal did not particularly visit China, he set foot in Hong Kong and Macau after he was threatened by friars and Spanish officials. — Featured photo from ‘Viejas Filipinas’ via Twitter