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“Solace…by the Shore of Laguna de Bay in Los Banos”

September 6, 2012

Going to the house of Gen. Paciano Rizal where he found “solace… by the shore of Laguna de Bay in Los Baños” a day after the screening of A mi Patria [Rizal’s Poems in Filipino Sign Language] at UPLB wasn’t really planned. Nagkayayaan lang! It isn’t a usual shrine. There’s no sign announcing the visiting hours. Oh well! That’s how I remember it. [Meron ba?] We just knocked at the closed gate which bears the distinguished name of Dr. Jose Rizal’s beloved brother Paciano whom Rizal described as “The noblest Filipino of them all” [See the marker/last photo below].

From the gate, I saw the house which for me appeared like any provincial old house common in Laguna. It must have been built after the Spanish period. There’s nothing imposing in the look of the house. It reflects the simplicity and solitariness of the owner the way I know Gen. Paciano Rizal from my readings about him up close from the book of Agustin Coates which I find to be one of the best books written about Rizal. When Rizal was studying in Manila, it was Paciano who took care of his needs. When he studied abroad, again it was Paciano who provided what he needed most probably “assigned” by his parents out of obligation and being the eldest son in the family. Until now, I only remember seeing a photo of Gen. Paciano – and blurred at that. He clearly shied away from the camera which was quite in contrast with Rizal who loved to be photographed as attested by the existence of his many photos from the time he was small – and most especially, when he was abroad. Pero buti na lang din! Rizal’s fully documented life – in photos and writings – has given us concrete pictures as to how he looked like and lived.

Gen. Paciano Rizal’s Family Tree Located at the House Entrance

The caretaker allowed us in… after telling her that I did speak with Ms. Ester Azurin but that was to invite her for the A mi Patria showing. Oh by the way, Mr. Lopez [I suppose the patriarch of the clan] replied on the screening day that they couldn’t attend much as they want to. I was actually expecting the negative response because we unfortunately came to know their contact numbers a day or two before the screening. It was honestly embarrassing for me to call Ms. Azurin [her contact number was provided by Zarah Escueta, former Rizal Shrine curator] and texted Mr. Lopez at too late a time …pero nagbakasakali lang talaga. I really hoped and wanted some members of the Paciano Rizal clan to be there. We thought of it when the idea of showing it in Laguna was forming. Afterall, the film is a tribute to their great Lolo. But we didn’t know how to get the message to them. We forgot that Zarah is from Laguna and she was the Rizal Shrine Curator in Fort Santiago. Anyway, should another screening be held in Laguna, I’ll surely tell them much ahead of time.

Here’s more of our journey’s record in the house of Gen. Paciano Rizal:

[L-R]: Giselle Montero, Lynn Cappal, Myra Medrana and me. Foto by Dennis Balan

View from Inside the House of Paciano Rizal, Laguna de Bay waters still flooding the area. I’m sure Gen. Paciano would be upset to see this.

Another View of Laguna de Bay from the Back of Paciano Rizal’s House with Floodings Caused by Habagat 2012

On the way out we posed for a foto with Gen. Paciano Rizal [Precious Leaño in blue blouse and Dennis Balan

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