Manila sins: Dr. Jose Rizal’s abandoned graveyard

The graveyard of Dr. Jose Rizal in Paco cemetery, Manila

A nation so devoid of heritage is what engulfs me as I was enraged looking at how the original graveyard of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal was treated by modern Filipinos and even by the government who enjoys the freedom Dr. Jose hardly fought and won. His life, his sacrifices were sacrilegiously left in the void annals of history in the modern metropolis. Not even one which evokes pride, his lonesome graveyard is the living testament of how Filipinos treat their national hero, not a tinge of respect accorded. Why did I say so? This is what I saw when I visited the original resting place of Dr. Jose Rizal in Paco cemetery, in what used to be the center of Manila, right after he was killed by the Spaniards in Bagumbayan.

an unadorned cross painted ordinarily with the date of Dr. Jose Rizal’s death

Though his eternal graveyard shifted from the Paco Cemetery to now-present Luneta Park, I hardly cannot believed that this man’s original resting place, the first place his remains were kept is unguarded, with no flowers or eternal flame, just a plain cross and a marker marking the site. As if trying to act like Spaniards ourselves, we failed to preserve its sacred grounds like we are supposed to. We just left it as it was, just an ordinary Paco cemetery where history has been deprived of the supporters of Dr. Jose.

His remains were entered in December 30, 1896 and Paco Cemetery was Dr. Jose Rizal’s resting place for 16 years. This is the same historic place where martyrs of freedom were laid to their final resting place and a bastion of its democratic ideals against Spain, yet Filipinos nowadays, wantonly regarded this sacred place as a minor historical site. Perhaps because the remains of Dr. Jose Rizal were transferred to his present-day monument in Luneta, people have not been so keenly aware of its significance. I have retraced Dr. Jose Rizal’s steps and his first resting place with a broken heart and a spirit so wanting of democratic guidance and idealistic reflection of the kind of society I lived in.

The singular marker doting Dr. Jose Rizal’s place in Philippine nationhood

Am I the only one seeing this in the milieu of my own society where the great national hero, according to my own definition, should be accorded his due. As I have seen it in Paco Cemetery, the grave was just a grave, a silent reminder of the man who used to be interred momentarily for 16 years until the Americans in cahoots with Filipino leaders transferred his remains to Luneta. Not the one who questions the intentions of history as it is foolish, I am reflecting what repercussions this have on my own society, our society and our nation.

In afterthought though, I asked myself if my country is a nation of the forgetful righteous, who interprets the sacrifices of Dr. Jose Rizal devoid of a full understanding of his struggles even in death. We have deprived ourselves of the key interesting place to reflect where this nation we called the Philippines started its democratic birth, forever berthed on the struggles of him we so fondly called Jose Rizal. As I have seen it with my own eyes, though the grave was regularly manicured, its lesser due than Luneta Park, tourism or otherwise, just made a mockery of how his intentions were made as an offering to a battered republic and though freedom was handsomely won against the Spaniards, lost yet again in the modernity we so live in today.

Guarded only by a lamp-post, Dr. Jose Rizal’s original grave was left out in the nation’s psyche and sadly, in its history

Categories: Manila | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Manila sins: Dr. Jose Rizal’s abandoned graveyard

  1. I agree with your sentiments Doc. Mas maganda pa libingan ng mga kung sino sino kaysa sa National Hero ng bansa natin.

    • Yes Christian and as my friend commented too, it was in accordance to the wishes of Dr. Rizal himself to be buried the way as it is now as his last wishes but with what has happened to Luneta and the celebrations all over the country every December 30, his death anniversary, we have violated his will already so why leave this original burial ground unceremoniously unguarded?

      We, as a nation have failed to give credit to our own heritage and I will bet how many college students, perhaps even professionals everywhere who have visited this grave site of Rizal, ergo the more it is imperative to give it its due befitting a National Hero.

      I agree with you too when you said that mas magaganda pa libingan ng kung sino sino kesa sa taong nag buwis buhay para sa ating kalayaan at kasarinlan. Unfortunate but true.

  2. This pains me 😦

  3. Doc!!! 😀 I went here too, for the MNL Carnival hosted by Lakwatsero, and i thought Paco Park was so quiet and so pretty ❤ akala ko Rizal wanted a quiet nook to rest in, not the ostentatious garb that Marcos has. 🙂

    • well, as his letters would have sufficed dated December 30, 1896 addressed to his family, Rizal wanted a quite one but since we had violated his will with the ones we are doing in Luneta, might as well treat it with national pride and accord the status of a National Hero.

      We seemed to be a failure in securing legacies of great men and women who served our country very well.

  4. Andrés C. Bonifacio and his brother, Procopio C. Bonifacio, suffered a worse fate : wrongly and falsely accused of a crime they did not commit, tortured and murdered. Their bodies were never recovered and as such did not have a proper Christian burial.

    The criminals behind this? Our founding fathers, all of them Filipinos and Spanish and/or Chinese mestizos.

    The reason? Ambition,hunger for power and pride.

    This kind of crime is still being committed in our organization today. Lies, half-truths and propaganda proliferated by the ambitious and the proud. Beware of your so-called friends. 🙂

  5. Sam

    We, as a nation, have no identity. We must undergo a cultural revolution by banning all imports of foods, goods, entertainment, and instead produce our own foods, goods, entertainment for self-reliance and national pride.

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