A FEW weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend a talk by Dr. Ambeth Ocampo entitled “Rizal the Traveller.” It gave me a new viewpoint of our national hero.

I learned that Rizal loved travelling and his time abroad really molded the kind of man he was.

When he was in Spain and the other European countries he would always write home and share in detail what life was like.

He would also share Philippine culture with his European friends namely, Ferdinand Blumentritt.

The barongs, kamisons and salakots he sent were even still preserved in a museum in Germany.

I think Rizal was the perfect bridge between the Philippines and the world. He enlightened the foreign countries that the Philippines wasn’t a land of barbarians but actually full of several intellectuals.

He also shared with his home the values and practices of foreign countries that would be beneficial to the Filipinos.

The ideals he shared in his novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, the numerous contributions he did in Dapitan, these were all results of the knowledge Rizal gained while travelling.

So what’’s my point?

Travelling is a luxury for most people. It is almost impossible to achieve if you consider the expenses and the time you have to sacrifice. I know how true that is.

But my point is not just to travel, but to get out of your comfort zone. We are so absorbed in our day to day routine that we miss out on unique opportunities either because we are too busy or too scared.

The illustrados were able to go abroad because they grabbed the opportunities that were given to them. They all ended up developing themselves and fighting for the rights of their country.

Even me, when I was given the opportunity to work abroad for eight months I was terrified. Where would I get the money? I would be all alone in a foreign country, how would I survive?

But with God’s help, my family and I were able to gather the means for support and now here I am! I am learning a lot about Madrid and how to be street smart.

Grabbing opportunities ends up with sweet rewards./PN


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