Monday, October 31, 2016

Calamba on the Rush

A tricyle passes through front of the plaza where map of Calamba is depicted by a huge jar.
Visiting Calamba City from Canlubang will most often be problematic if one has to go there by jeepney. Traffic situation is worse unless one has to get out of Mayapa and proceed to Calamba City proper via South Luzon Expressway by car. Nonetheless, Calamba City will always bring excitement to me.

The city of Calamba, besides being the birthplace of Jose Rizal, is home to continuing development. One morning I had to rush to the town proper as if I was in panic that I might be relieved from my present post anytime soon and I may not be able to go back to Rizal's home anymore. With my heavy backpack still with me from an out-of-town trip, I headed to the town proper where Jose Rizal's home is located. Rizal (1861-1896), being the national hero of the Philippines, brings meaning to the city, its history and the Laguna de Bay where many of his writings were hatched from the inspiration therefrom.

Rizal's family home is a symbol of being an illustrado during the Spanish occupation.
Resting place of Rizal's known parents, Francisco and Teodora.
I have been to the shrine for several times already but I would love to be back in due time. I do like the huge jar amid the plaza because it represents the barangays of Calamba. Opposite the park lies the Roman Catholic church built during Spanish occupation. It is in the said church where Jose Rizal was baptized by Fr. Rufino Collantes on June 22, 1861 with Fr. Pedro Casanas as godfather.

Westward the church is the Rizal National Shrine. The shrine is Rizal's family's home. It was restored through Executive Order No. 145 issued by President Elpidio Quirino and "with funds mainly contributed by school children of the Philippines," as the inscription says. The architect was Juan F. Nakpil and it was inaugurated in 1950. 

The spacious yard welcomes daily the people of Calamba and tourists who flock the shrine for free. Huge trees provide shelter and mementos of the family and that of Jose Rizal abound the place - inside the house and in the exhibits. The shrine also features a Filipino artist; during my visit, Bernadette Solina Wolf's art on coconut shell,  are indeed stunning.

Replica of Rizal's bahay kubo
Sto. Nino, a work of art in a coconut shell by Bernadette Solina Wolf
The shrine also houses the remains of known parents of the national hero, Francisco Mercado Rizal and Teodora Alonzo. The bahay kubo (small house made of thatch), looks refreshing and is always a welcome to the visitors - children and adults.

From Rizal Shrine, I headed immediately to Kawit, Cavite where the duty guard in Aguinaldo Shrine asked me of what was Rizal's word for Aguinaldo then.

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