Monday, December 16, 2019

Exploring Rizal Shrine in Dapitan City

Dapitan is a small city in Zamboanga del Norte and is not your usual popular tourist destination. It is often treated as a port when travelling to Dumaguete or a passageway to Davao. But history buffs would enjoy taking a short visit here as this place was where the Philippine National Hero, Jose Rizal, was exiled during the Spanish Regime. And the shrine dedicated to him allows everyone to have a glimpse of his life in this humble and quiet city down south. 

Hello, Rizal Shrine, Dapitan
Jose Rizal is no stranger to most of us especially if you did your part in history class. Tagged as a Renaissance Man, Rizal has a lot of titles under his belt aside from being a doctor, writer, entrepreneur and hero. 
As one of the personalities that caught the Spaniards' radar, Rizal was exiled to Dapitan with hopes of putting off the fire he caused which triggered rebellion and uprisings. But his exile didn't stop him from being the hero he was born to be.
And to keep his memory alive, a massive 16 hectare of land purchased by Rizal himself, was turned into Rizal Shrine. 
Located 2 kilometers away from downtown Dapitan, Rizal Shrine features a museum that keeps some of Rizal's personal possessions, several reconstructed houses to illustrate Rizal's community and living conditions, as well as an aqua duct which was designed and constructed by Rizal with the help of his pupils. 
I had a grand time looking around the museum and checking some of Rizal's works. But it was the long list of his credentials which impressed me the most. I guess I never really fully grasped how amazing he was until recently. A doctor at a very young age, he was also an architect, naturalist, teacher and so much more.
The different houses in the park have different uses. 
Casa Redonda was used as a dormitory for Rizal's students which was later turned into a clinic. Casitas de Salud which was originally used as tea house was also turned into a clinic to service patients from other communities and barrios. 
But what intrigued me the most was Casa Residencia which was the rectangular house where Rizal and Josephine Bracken lived during his stay in Dapitan. 
It had a bedroom, veranda, living area, bridge connected to the outdoor washroom and pathway to the kitchen. 
The park also has several statues of Rizal with some also showing his notable guests.
Before exiting the park, make sure to climb up the Mi Retiro Rock where Rizal wrote his popular poem Mi Retiro. 
We had a lovely time walking around the park. We got to know Rizal a bit more and enjoyed a more active afternoon strolling around the naturally shaded park. It would have been great though if they didn't burn some leaves while visitors were still inside the premises. 
Note: Rizal's landing site in Dapitan is just a kilometer or so away from Rizal Shrine. 

Rizal Shrine is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m..

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