Rizal Monument

Rizal Monument, Rizal Prk, Manila, Philippines

Public Art : Rizal Monument

Sculptor : © Richard Kissling

Date Unveiled : The Monument was unveiled on December 30, 1913 (on the 17th anniversary of Dr Rizal's death).

Description : 12.7 m bronze and unpolished granite sculpture and obelisk. On one side of the Rizal Monument is a marble plaque marking the exact spot where the hero met his death by firing squad and on the other side is one of his poems. The central bronze figure is of Dr Rizal. The bronze figures around the sculpture were cast in Switzerland. Dr Rizal's remains are buried within the monument.

Location : Roxas Boulevard, Western end of Rizal Park, Manila, Philippines.

Funded : By public subscriptions

Cost : P100,000

Inscription :

I want to show to those who deprive people the right to love of country, that when we know how to sacrifice ourselves for our duties and convictions, death does not matter if one dies for those one loves – for his country and for others dear to him.
"To the memory of Jose Rizal, patriot and martyr, executed at Bagumbayan Field December thirtieth 1896, this monument is dedicated by the people of the Philippine Islands".

Who Was Dr Rizal ? : Dr Jose P Rizal (1861-1896) whose full name is José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda, was the most prominent advocate for reforms in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. Rizal was more than just a national icon, he was a scholar, educator and doctor.
To say the man was less than a genius would be an understatement, he not only studied in Manila but traveled to Spain where he obtained a degree in Medicine. This was followed by study at the University of Paris and then at the University of Hiedelberg (earning himself a second doctorate). He spoke in at least ten different languages and was a prolific poet and novelist, his most famous two being Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. These writings did nothing but anger Spaniards and hispanicized Filipinos due to their insulting symbolism. Rizal was scathing of the Spanish Fars and their atrocities ( committed in the name of the church) and also of the government.

He fought against the 333 years of Spanish rule, but was an advocate of peaceful means of reform, rather than of violent means. Ironically it would be his death that became the catalyst for the Philippines Revolution. When Rizal returned to Manila in 1892 he brought with him ideas of reform and of change. The government was none too happy with his ideals and he soon found himself an enemy of the State. After being implicated in the activities of rebellion, Rizal was imprisoned , along with his brother Paciano, in Fort Santiago before being deported to Dapitan (province of the Philippines) .

He was later executed by firing squad after being found guilty of rebellion and conspiracy. He was secretly buried in Paco Cemetery in Manila with no identification on his grave. Fortunately his sister Narcisa, searched for his possible gravesite and eventually found freshly turned earth of a makeshift grave heavily guarded. Two years later Rizal's remains were exhumed and moved to the family home where they remained until 1912. In 1913 they were exhumed once more and placed under the monument and the site of his execution.

History of the Rizal Monument : The Rizal Monument was constructed during the American colonial period of the Philippines. In September 1901 it was officially approved by Act No 243 which granted the use of public land to erect a monument to Jose Rizal and allow his remains to be housed there too. The competition for a design attracted sculptors from around the world. Fortunately for second place Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling, the winner was unable to raise a bond for the duration of the monuments construction and had to forfeit from the competition. Kissling was then announced the winner.

Of Course There Is Controversy : To think a monument dedicated to a national hero would not have at least a little controversy, you would be wrong.

In 1961 a steel pylon was placed over the obelisk in an attempt to modernize park. Despite it increasing the Rizal Monument's height by an extra 30.5m the public were not impressed. After much criticism the plylon was eventually removed the following year.

Things You May Not Know About the Rizal Monument :

The monument also serves as the point of origin or Kilometre Zero to all other cities in the Philippines.

The Rizal Monument is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by honor guard sentries known as the Kabalyeros de Rizal (Knights of Rizal).

Rizal park was formerly known as Bagumbayan and Luneta before being renamed in honor of Dr Rizal.

It is almost compulsary for visiting dignataries to lay a wreath at the monument.


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