TODAY, our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal would have been 158 years old. Yes, while we all remember his martyrdom every Dec. 30, why don’t we also celebrate the birth of this genius of a man that scholars consider “The Great Malayan”?
Rizal was born on June 19, 1861. To us a patriot was born. To us a hero to emulate was given. If Rizal were alive today what would he say to us about, let us say, the bullying of China on us in the West Philippine Sea?
As we mark his birth anniversary today, let us be inspired by the values and principles of Rizal, especially his nationalism.
Rizal was an unparalleled visionary whose thoughts and actions changed the landscape of our identity as Filipinos. His ideas began the revolution that earned us our freedom, and his integrity and nationalism continue to inspire new generations.
Just like Rizal, Filipinos also possess a resilient spirit that enables them to weather challenges, even the worst economic and social conditions. Even after experiencing the worst disasters, Filipinos find reason to smile and laugh, help others even if they are victims too, and immediately go about their business and it is something to be proud of. Rizal was the epitome of strength and resiliency and overcame the monumental challenges he faced as we know from our nation’s history. He drew strength from his family, his faith and his beloved nation. It would do good for Filipinos to follow his example.
While at this, we renew the call for Filipinos to respect and preserve the nation’s heritage. Rizal himself had expressed the need to embrace one’s roots. He loved his native tongue even while he was fluent in several foreign languages. He recognized the exceptional artistry and craftsmanship of Filipinos and was fond of indigenous Philippine textiles. Many of his works also describe the beauty of the Philippines and its people.
Like Dr. Rizal, we, too, should take pride in our heritage. We will be more confident of ourselves if we know who we are and if we understand our roots. We must all strive to know about our heritage, appreciate it and preserve it for the future generations.