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Filipino Embassy celebrates the Life of Jose Rizal

Filipino Embassy hosts an event in celebration of the 154th Anniversary of national hero Jose Rizal

July 02nd, 2015
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On the occasion of the 154th anniversary of Filipino National hero Jose Rizal’s birth, the Filipino embassy hosted an event in Berlin on July 1st. A lecture was given by Gerhard Müller of the knights of Rizal entitled “Following the footsteps of Pepe”. The lecture was followed by coffee.

To those who don’t know José Rizal (José Protasio Mercado Rizal y Alonzo Realonda, 1861-1896), he was an ophthalmologist, journalist, revolutionary novelist, and poet from the Phillipines. He was the author of the famous poems and essays such as Noli Me Tángere and El Filibusterismo. He was executed by Filipino soldiers in the Spanish army on December 30th, 1896. Today he is known as “Pepe”, one of the most famous heroes of the Phillipines, who appears on the Filipino banknotes and stamps.

He arrived in Heidelberg in 1886 where he wrote the first chapters of the novel “Noli Me Tangere” and the poem “To the flowers of Heidelberg”. People still visit his home at Jägerstrasse 71. From Heidelberg he went to Berlin to join the German Anthropological Society where he learned German, was a mainstay at libraries, and trained at the Charité Hospital.

All he left when he went back were a barong, a Filipiniana lady dress and some Mindanao artefacts which can now be seen in the Ethnological Museum of Berlin. During his time in Germany travelled widely, for example from Dresden to Nuremberg and from Munich to Leipzig and Koblenz.

He and his Irish wife were arrested when they were on their way to Cuba, where Rizal was to work as volunteer doctor helping yellow fever victims. He was tried by a court martial for rebellion, sedition, and conspiracy and sentenced to death. At the execution reinforcements from the Spanish Army stood ready to shoot the executioners should they fail to obey orders. His last words were those of Jesus Christ: "consummatum est",-- it is finished. He is often compared to people like Gandhi or Tagore, who campaigned for liberty peacefully.

The afternoon ended with a reading in English and Filipino of "To the flowers of Heidelberg" by Consul Adrian Cruz and Consul Rona Beth Goce.

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News from Berlin
Smoh, Berlin Global