DAPITAN CITY, Philippines - This summer, Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte province in Mindanao, has a lot on its plate, actually more considering the fact that aside from the Palarong Pambansa from May 8 to 14, and the Hudyaka Festival that runs from May 6 to June 6, the Shrine City will also commemorate the 150th birthday celebration of our Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.
Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro declared that “this is actually a source of pride and excitement for everyone in the province of Zamboanga del Norte, that aside from the Palarong Pambansa, Dapitan will also celebrate the Dr. Rizal's 150th birth anniversary.
“Dapitan was a refuge for him, a happy place, where his love was nurtured with Josephine. What the people should realize is that what we are building here for this Palaro are not just the structures, the pools or grandstands, but we are building what Rizal sow in Dapitan – the love of country and love for your fellowman,” Luistro said.
“After the Palaro, athletes and guests will continue to talk about how well-organized, how hospitable, how well they were taken cared of in their stay in Dapitan, in Dipolog City, in Zamboanga del Norte. That fact is it will be a source of pride for all people here.”
Luistro also mentioned of Rizal being an environmentalist. “I amm hoping that the program for the Palaro will also have an environmental feel. Rizal was an environmentalist. So, environmental awareness should be a priority for the Palaro,” he said.
“What a source of pride it will be for you, the people of this beautiful province when athletes will go home and say that this is the best Palaro ever,” Luistro added. “That will be your birthday gift to Dr. Jose Rizal. This type of investment will come back to you. To the province, to the city, to the people because what we show is not just the external site, but our love for our country. This will put Dapitan in the national, and hopefully, in the global map.”
Rizal was a Filipino patriot and the most prominent advocate for reforms in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. He was the founder of La Liga Filipina, a civic organization that subsequently gave birth to the Katipunan, which was then led by Andrés Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo.
Rizal was a prominent proponent of institutional reforms by peaceful means rather than by violent revolution. He was exiled here in Dapitan from 1892 to 1896. During such four-year stay in Dapitan, Rizal would practice medicine, pursue scientific studies, continue his artistic and literary works, widen his knowledge of languages, establish a school for boys, promote community development projects, invent a wooden machine for making bricks, and engage in farming and commerce. (With a report from Becky de Asis)