Rizal in polka dots

I was on my way to the archives in Kalaw when I noticed this statue, almost hidden, close to the Tourism building.

I can’t help but smile when I saw this one, a man who look like Rizal riding a carabao wearing a polka dotted polo with red pants, carrying a plow, sleeves rolled up ready for days work in the rice fields!

I’m sure that even Rizal would laugh at this one, he has always projected himself well, he dress like that of a European man -a ‘vanedoso’, very sophisticated and refined in his choices of clothing, and now this – a depiction of the fashionable Rizal on top of a carabao, in colorful polka dots!

Rizal monuments always catches my attention, for one, they are a common site in our country, they are everywhere. This one is not Rizal – but was molded in his likeness.

I read about a comment of one of Rizal relatives, even this man believes that we ‘over do’ monuments with Pepe as a theme, ‘kulang na lang pati mga lugar na inihian ni Rizal tayuan ng monumento!’ – I for one believe that we should, as a people try to pay homage to other significant contributors in our culture and history. Most monuments are either revolutionaries, propagandist or presidents, Its about time we look at our past, not confined by the revolutionaries and politicians.

This farmer statue reminds me of anatomical drawings I saw that dates back in the early 1900’s, the male model had striking resemblance with the national hero; He was the perfect model of Filipino manhood during that time! so if one is to picture a Filipino, the Americans would want you to see Rizal.

The Americans was successful in their drive to make Pepe the national hero, he was the moderate one, the other revolutionaries were, well, a bit too radical.

So even though we are taught in our history books of the brave Bonifacio (contrary to popular belief, not a plebeian but an illustrado) and the Generalisimmo’s campaign against mother Spain (Boni and his siblings killed in Maragondon by Aguinaldos men, it was a bloody revolution!) – we were given a propagandist for a national hero. When the other nation’s national heroes were all fighters, we got for ourselves a writer.

As a young man I thought it was a simple case of the ‘Pen is mightier than the sword’ situation, but as I later found out, his election to the stature of national hero has something to do with his reputation – a reformist and a pacifist. Even in this type of selection, political convenience plays a major role.


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