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
Location : Roxas Boulevard, Western end of Rizal
Park, Manila, Philippines.
Funded : By public subscriptions
Cost : P100,000
|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
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
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
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
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
It is almost compulsary for visiting dignataries to lay a wreath at the monument.