Lolo Jose RizalMarch 29, 2010
I seldom read these days, and it is even rare for me to read a book in one sitting…but I got so engrossed with a book on Dr. Jose Rizal written by her grand-niece Asuncion Lopez-Bantug, LOLO JOSE, An Intimate Portrait of Rizal, c. 1982. It is intimate yes, containing notes and anecdotes familiar to Rizal’s descendants having been handed down the Rizal family line, and fortunately passed on to us as well.
It was not my first “encounter” with the book as I already browsed on it when I was researching sometime in the mid-90s for the film RIZAL SA DAPITAN directed by my friend Tikoy Aguiluz. That time, I had to check on many books on Rizal, and Lolo Jose was just one of my references.
Since for many months now, an inner urge or drive, for me to work on something digital focused on Rizal led me to read and reread about him, I took the book out from the library of my brother Gani Medina. Yesterday, I finally sat down to read Lolo Jose again; I read it from cover to cover. After reading it, I again marveled at his humanity and genius! In fact, it was when I read a lot about Rizal for Rizal sa Dapitan project that my view changed on who should be the real National Hero. It even became firmer when I read my brother’s introduction to Ilang Talata sa Paghihimagsik nang 1896-1897 which he edited as I came to understand the rift between the Magdiwang-Magdalo factions, and learned of Bonifacio’s role and his behavior in the latter part of his Supremo days. I used to look up to Bonifacio, the revolutionary, the leader of the masa who rose up in arms for the country as the right person to be our national hero, not Rizal, the ilustrado. But having known Rizal up close through so many readings and learned of his human-ness as well, I realized I was wrong. It was while making Rizal sa Dapitan, that Rizal for me descended from the Luneta monument. Si Rizal bilang tao ay naging totoo.
I just hope that my dream— a small, but for me, important project be realized in the future…it will serve as my way of paying tribute to a real great Filipino.