RIZAL IN DAPITAN From June 17, 1892 to July 31, 1896, Dapitan became the bare witness to one of the most fruitful periods in Rizal’s life. His stay in the province was more than he was living in exile. It was the period when Rizal had been more focused on serving the people and the society through his civic works, medical practices, land development, promotion of education and of course, coming accross with his one true love, Josephine Bracken. The part of Rizal’s life where he came to know Josephine is the most romantic.
Their love story was an example of unconditional love because despite of the fact that there were no priest who was willing to marry the them, the couple exchanged their vows before God in their own way. Their love bear its fruit – Josephine was pregnant. Unfortunately, Josephine gave birth to a one-month premature baby boy who lived only for three hours. The child was buried in Dapitan, bearing the name Francisco, after Rizal’s father. I got mad with Jose Rizal in the event of Josephines premature birth of the supposedly son of a hero.
How come Rizal who was a doctor was so unmindful of Josephine’s condition that night when his anger bursted after Maria’s accusation of Josephine being a spy? Not only physically but mentally and emotionally, Josephine who was then pregnant was tortured of Rizal’s misbehavior which caused her to collapse and ultimately lose the baby in her womb. I can imagine how Rizal’s life would be more colorful and interesting if he had a son who lived and continued his good doings. It is really disappointing that losing that baby ends Rizal’s direct lineage.
Who Was The True Love Of Rizal
If he was not a hero, he would have been long forgotten because his direct ancestry ended when he was killed. However, I believe without a doubt that he really deserves to be our national hero in every man’s point of view. People in Dapitan looked up to him, adored and respected him. The young ones had the passion to follow him, learn what he has to teach and follow what he has to instruct. He established a school in Dapitan which was attended by 16 young boys from prominent families. Instead of charging them for the matriculation, he made the students do community projects for him like maintaining his garden and field.
He taught them reading, writing in English and Spanish, geography, history, mathematics, industrial work, nature study, morals and gymnastics. He encouraged his students to engage in sports activities to strengthen their bodies as well. There was no formal room, like the typical classroom nowadays. Classes were conducted from 2 p. m to 4 p. m. with the teacher sitting on a hammock while the students sat on a long bamboo bench but still the students spirits were so solid to learning. Rizal also definitely wins my admiration for his being a doctor in that primitive era with limited tools and medicines.
He really was good. As a physician, Rizal provided free medicine to his patients, most of them were underprivileged. However, he also had wealthy patients who paid him well enough for his excellent surgical skill. Among them were Don Ignacio Tumarong who gave Rizal 3000 pesos for restoring his sight, an Englishman who gave him 500 pesos, and Aklanon haciendero, Don Francisco Azcarraga, who paid him a cargo of sugar. His skill was put into test in August 1893 when his mother, Dona Teodora Alonzo, was placed under opthalmic surgery for the third time.
The operation was a success, however, Alonzo, ignored her son’s instructions and removed the bandages in her eyes which lead to irritation and infection. When Dr. Pio Valenzuela came to Dapitan, I thought we would be of a great support to Rizal’s undertakings and missions but it was disheartening to later on realize that his visit would just endager Pepe. Prior to the outbreak of the revolution, the Katipunan leader, Andres Bonifacio, seek the advise of Jose Rizal. In a secret meeting on May 2, 1896 at Bitukang Manok river in Pasig, the group agreed to send Dr.
Pio Valenzuela as a representative to Dapitan who will inform Rizal of their plan to launch a revolution against the Spaniards. On board the steamer Venus, Valenzuala left Manila on June 15, 1892 and in 6 days, arrived at Dapitan with a blind companion, Raymundo Mata. At night, Rizal and Valenzuela had a talk in the former’s garden. There, Valenzuela told him of the Katipunan’s plan. Regarding this, Rizal outspokenly objected Bonifacio’s “premature” idea for two reasons: 1. the Filipinos were still unready for such bloody revolution; and 2. he Katipunan lacked machinery – before plotting a revolution, there must be sufficient arms and funds collected. Valenzuela also told Rizal of their plan to rescue him in Dapitan. Again, the exiled hero disagreed because he had no plan of breaking his word of honor to the Spanish authorities. This reality was presented to the court but was ignored.
But prior to keeping Rizal in captive by the government, was his sad farewell to Dapitan. At midnight of July 31, 1896, he left Dapitan on board the steamer Espana, ogether with Narcisa, Josephine, Angelica (Narcisa’s daughter), three nephews and six of his students. Many were saddened as the adopted son of Dapitan left. In Cebu, on their way to Manila, Rizal successfully performed an opthalmic operation to a merchant who paid him fifty silver pesos. After almost a week, on August 6, 1896, Espana arrived in Manila. Rizal was supposedly to board the Isla de Luzon for Spain, but unfortunately, left ahead of time. Instead, he was transferred to the Spanish cruiser Castilla to stay and wait for the next mail boat that woul sail for Spain next month.
He was prohibited from leaving the vicinity but was allowed to accept visitors so long as they were his immediate family. Of course, all these delays were part of the drama – Rizal has now fallen to the critical/deadly Spanish trap. Before Rizal’s final moment in Bagumbayan were court proceedings. On one of these moments where he spoke of Education and NOT rebellion as his weapon to liberating the country and the people from the Spanish tyranny, and as far I know, Rizal had perfectly became triumphant in his objective especially these days where Filipinos are known worldwide of being well educated.