WHAT IS ‘RIZAL DAY’?
Before becoming known as the Philippine National Hero—a title given by the Americans during their occupation of the Philippine islands to prove they were “better” than the previous colonizers—Dr. Jose Rizal was known as one of the several noble Filipinos who stood up for his people. December 30, his day of death, was initially declared as a national day of mourning by the first president of the Republic.
A day of mourning, as a family grieves the passing of a beloved, because that was exactly how he was to the citizens of the young nation at that time—a man who loved his people, who in turn loved him back. And it was through his expression of that profound love that he was able to demonstrate his heroic nature. He was a hero not because he died, but because of how he lived.
He used his talent in writing—only one of many he had been endowed with—to stand up for all Filipinos living under the oppression of Spanish colonial rule. Through the articles they published on the newspaper “La Solidaridad”, he and other Filipino writers spoke up against threats to the dignity of their people and stood by the truth. Rizal is most known for two famous novels he wrote, one of which (“Noli Me Tangere”) inspired the Philippine revolution against Spain, which eventually led to his execution. He was also a very well-travelled man, and it was perhaps during his trips to and around Europe that he was motivated to write the poem “Canto del Viajero” (Song of the Wanderer).
RIZAL y LOS TRES VIAJEROS
In honor of Dr. Jose Rizal, we at Route Projects gratefully celebrate his life and his heroic writing through the poetry of 3 Filipino immigrants in Europe: Consuelo Montero in Spain, Noli SB in Sweden, and Rhey Sta. Maria in Greece. Click on their image to know more about each migrant poet and read their poetry.