Think about it. Imagine a slightly surreal sensorium where the recent and remote past coexist in a timeless now. Pre-Hispanic bulol figurines jostle for space with antique santos and an impressive 18th-century carved altarpiece depicting Jesus and John the Baptist with Chinito features. Overseeing the proceedings is, of course, Rizal, wearing a curious and ever-so-slightly bemused expression, and as the host prefers, no overcoat.
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Oct 16, Jr Bacdayan rated it liked it Finally! My semester has just ended. Anyway, one of my courses this semester was PI or the "Rizal" course. I used to be a brash and outspoken young man always quick to make assumptions and always fiery with passion for what I deemed was right; even when all I had was a premature conclusion. I brought this attitude here in our university and was quickly humbled by men and women that maintained their calm and adhered to logic, not sudden whims and misguided passion.
This, I said to myself is what I wish to become. I resolutely set to change my ways and actions. To some degree I think I have succeeded. But improving oneself is a continuous and endless process that every individual must aim for. Even our venerated national hero was not the product of biological perfection and natural wisdom.
He slowly, meticulously improved himself with every mistake he made, with every book he read. Like you and me, he is a human being that achieved what he did, not because he is special or was destined by some great prophecy, but because he worked for it. A good example would be in the field of language.
He did not become a polyglot naturally; language did not come easy to him. It was the product of a diligent and willful learning process. In his letters to his sister, he expostulated that while in Germany, he had a hard time learning the native tongue.
Then, on a latter correspondence, he would state he had finally been able to understand everybody but that the problem was not everybody could understand him. This is a clear example of language acquisition through exposure. Filipinos often marvel when they see that Rizal was literate in a handful of languages. I stated earlier that I learned to see things contextually, and is important to see things that way. He was only a hardworking and ambitious individual who had the opportunity to be exposed to such languages.
Rizal worked diligently to become the man he was. This is what they fail to say. Anybody can be like Jose Rizal. I remember my History 1 class like it was only yesterday. Professor Jerome Ong handled our class superbly and presented History with a certain charm and complete knowledge that my high school history classes had been missing. I remember learning for the first time that Aguinaldo was responsible for the deaths of several heroes, especially Andres Bonifacio. It opened my eyes and it was what prompted my love for history.
Even as I child I have always been fascinated by the past and all its hidden complexities. Sorry, I digress. We proceeded on the topic of whether Rizal was rightful national hero. Professor Ong gave us the usual Bonifacio was the leader of the revolution, he represented the masses.
Rizal was an American-sponsored hero, that he was a conscious hero, the usual UP, Bonifacio-inclined speech. Then he asks us what we think. Immediately everybody was begging to agree. I could hear their assents and their outbursts at such a travesty. I too was inclined to agree. But then I remembered to look at it objectively and contextually. It is weak to think that we should change our national hero just to fit the mold of the others around us.
Nationalism, works and influence are basis for a hero, not the amount on his bank. If a majority of Filipinos are females, should the National hero be a female?
I agree it should be considered, but it should not be the main point. I guess I agree with Ocampo when he said that even Bonifacio would say that Rizal is the national hero. I do think that the Americans just solidified an already widespread belief.
On Rizal being a conscious hero I ask: Does it matter? So what if he was aware and prepared for what he did? Nobody knows the truth but the man himself. If it is, it only proves that Rizal loved his country more than himself, to those saying that he did it out of vanity, I disagree. Vanity knows nothing but self-preservation. I came out of the class determined to learn more about that topic. I clearly remember defending Rizal from one of my classmates whom I had the opportunity of sharing a bus ride home with.
We spent two hours arguing about that matter on the way to Cavite where we both live, where the Bonifacio-killing Aguinaldo used to live. It was a long ride home. I came to this PI hundred class knowing that I believed that Rizal was the rightful National hero. Now that we are ending this semester, I would just like to say that I really appreciate the way you handled this course.
The way you love to question us and challenge us. Back then, I remember believing that Rizal is the rightful National hero but I never idolized him or placed him in an unreachable pedestal.
I guess it can be attributed to an event in my life that has allowed me to see him for the human being that he is. It was sixth grade I think, I had just transferred to a regular private school in Pasay from an International School near Tagaytay.
I was an English speaking kid who had a really hard time with the Filipino subject. We studied, spoke, wrote in English. We read Mark Twain, H. Wells, and a watered down version of Moby Dick. In short, we studied America. Although, we did also have world history.
Well, to be fair the majority of the students were foreigners. A few years later, I would learn that a year or two after I left, they started integrating the Filipino subject.
Oh, well. I only knew him as the guy in piso, whereas my schoolmates had studied him since they were practically babies. These were the guys I grew up studying and loving. Not when Genghis Khan and Iskandar the Great conquered the world. Not when Washington defeated the British and Lincoln abolished slavery. What did Rizal do but write books? Unfortunately, this was my line of thinking when I was younger.
Of course, things changed when I went to high school and learned more substantial information about him. But I always saw him as human and nothing more. I read it in an entire day. That started my fascination with Rizal. So when given a chance to know him better, I guess I just hungrily grabbed that opportunity. It resonates with even the obscurest of readers because it considers its audience.
This is a monumental commandment in the field of communication, know your reader. What good will a treasure of information be, if no one is willing to dig it up? Fortunately for most of us common folks, we have this book. Another thing that resonated with me is the cover of the book. Something that I found to be a double-edged sword for the book is its origin.
That it was a compilation of previously written articles proved to be both its salvation and undoing. Its salvation because it is the reason for the freshness of the book, that it was free-flowing and constantly evolving without ever losing its familiar touch. You are constantly thinking of which Rizal gem would you uncover next. Ocampo further augments this feeling by inculcating his experiences on discoveries as well. Now, it is also its undoing because it creates inconsistencies as well.
On an earlier entry you would find Ocampo watering down the achievement of Juan Luna and Felix Resurrecion-Hidalgo when they won a gold and a silver medal respectively in a Spanish contest. Then he uses that same contest to illustrate that we have the capacity of greatness when it comes to the field of artistry. He mentions that they win medals, but fails to mention that there were numerous gold and silver medals awarded that day.
If it is any consolation, I find comfort in the fact that a Juan Luna painting is gracing the halls of the Spanish Cortez as I write this essay. What was I thinking when I read it? If anything, those tidbits and practices has done nothing but augment my endearment for him. The way you become closer to a person if you know more about him or her.
I rented a room near SM North Edsa, terrified at the prospect of living alone for the first time. I just had two classes everyday and had loads of free time.
Rizal Without the Overcoat
Oct 16, Jr Bacdayan rated it liked it Finally! My semester has just ended. Anyway, one of my courses this semester was PI or the "Rizal" course. I used to be a brash and outspoken young man always quick to make assumptions and always fiery with passion for what I deemed was right; even when all I had was a premature conclusion. I brought this attitude here in our university and was quickly humbled by men and women that maintained their calm and adhered to logic, not sudden whims and misguided passion. This, I said to myself is what I wish to become.
Rizal without the overcoat
Writings[ edit ] Looking Back column[ edit ] Ocampo began writing for Weekend Magazine, the Sunday supplement of the Philippine Daily Express in and subsequently joined its editorial staff as associate editor. His column Looking Back first appeared in the Philippine Daily Globe from to and compilations of these columns saw new life as his two bestselling books, namely, the Looking Back series and Rizal Without the Overcoat that was awarded the National Book Award for essay in Most of his published works focus on the life and works of the Philippine nationalist and martyr, Jose Rizal with Rizal Without the Overcoat going into six editions since its first publication in He has published monographs on other historical and cultural figures: the writer-artist Emilio Aguilar Cruz , musical composer Nicanor Abelardo , historian Teodoro Agoncillo and Teodora Alonso , the mother of Rizal, among others. Ocampo also writes on the foreign relations of the Philippines with France and Japan. In response, Ocampo has since released two compilations of his public lectures Meaning and History focused on Jose Rizal and Bones of Contention on Andres Bonifacio both published in with the required bibliographic references and footnotes.
Rizal Without the Overcoat Quotes