A Filipino hero in Singapore

A bust relief in bronze

An image of a Fabian de la Rosa masterpiece.

In 2008, Singapore in cooperation with Filipino authorities unveiled a bronze relief of Jose Rizal. The monument is located in front of the Asian Civilization Museum[an elegant British colonial building] it’s near the historic Cavenagh Bridge. I think that there is no better place for this simple monument than where it stands now, as this is the area referred to as the old British colony’s civil district, an attractive European-like quarter that appealed to the peripatetic hero. When he first set foot in the islands he hired a coach to go around this place, nothing escaped his curious eyes – even commenting that Singapore Chinese are “better looking” and “more honest” than the Philippine Chinese.

The bust relief was  fabricated by Peter de Guzman from a Guillermo Tolentino original. There are two sides; the relief faces the Museum while the picture of a painting by Fabian de la Rosa is on other side opposite the Singapore River. There are only two Asian honored in the Asian Civilization Museum green, the other is Ho Chi Minh. Singapore recognizes the works of Rizal and his visits to the city island.That’s a total of five stopovers.

His diary entries during his first trip [en route to Barcelona] was most useful. Believe it or not you could still find the places he visited just by reading his diary. Most of the places he visited are still standing, I think with the only exception of the hotel [Hotel de la Paix] where he lodged [Peninsula Hotel today]. Here he read German magazines while waiting for his diner that he complain, took forever to be served. The Masonic lodge sits right across the road where Hotel de la Paix is located [his lodging was certainly arranged by his Masonic connection], one of the three principal hotels during the time of his visit. The Raffles hotel was said to be the finest.

4 responses to “A Filipino hero in Singapore

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