One of the few things that I treasure in life is meeting learned individuals and drawing myself in long insightful conversations with them. This small blog has made this possible.
One of these special souls I was fortunate to interact with was Jose Rizal Lopez, grandson of Paciano and José Rizal. Earlier this month, I read an update from a friends facebook page that he had passed away at the ripe old age of 92, last April 19.
He is the youngest grandson of Paciano Rizal from his daughter, Emiliana Rizal.
I never met Mr. Lopez in person but we had lengthy exchanges through email (that I started re-reading when I heard of his passing). I learned a great deal about the Rizals from this man. He never, not even once, turned down a question.
I'm fortunate for having the chance to converse with people like Jose R. Lopez, grandson of Paciano and Jose Rizal. He recently passed away. I'm revisiting our email exchanges. You just learn from these learned souls. The guy's a great person, humble and was so nice. Rest in peace, you'll be missed. Thank you! #JoseRizal #philippinehistory
He once opened up an invitation for me to see some of Jose Rizal’s personal effects a watch (handed to him by a cousin, it still runs), teaspoons and a salt container, all bearing the hero’s initial, “JR”. Unfortunately, I never found the time to visit the old man. While I thank him in our exchanges, it would have been proper, and I would’ve felt better, if I did so in person.
I could sense his genuine interest in sharing what he know—and he did so with admirable humility. Throughout our exchanges not once did he mention any of his personal accomplishments. I later learned from a friend that he was a retired banker. I remember Paciano Rizal, his grandfather, who lived a humble, almost an ascetic life after the revolution. In his own words his grandpa was “very simple…a withdrawn individual not wanting at all to be recognized.”
I enjoyed his stories about Don Paciano. Like how the owners of the sugar central would make it a point that they hand him payments for his crops in person as a sign of respect. I told him that his grandfather is one my favorite figures in the Philippine revolution, along with Mabini, they were modest, selfless, true patriots.
I imagine that if I were to meet Paciano and Jose Rizal, they would be as pleasant, as humble and knowledgeable as their grandson Peping.
One of the last message he sent was his encouraging thoughts on Filipino-history-themed-blogs in general. I took this as his way of appreciating our online conversations over the years.
I wish that you are enjoying your trips discovering the world in your unique way of appreciating the past. I do not blame you for doing so as there is so much displeasure in seeking the present and with such presence it is a bit difficult to project the future that awaits us…
It is time to say I do appreciate receiving news about you and how you are doing because with people like you, I personally think the world will be a better place to live in.
Thank you Sir.
Rest in peace now…
Jose Rizal Lopez
May 14, 1924 – April 19, 2017.