Category Archives: Heroes

To The Virgin Mary

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To The Virgin Mary

Mary, sweet peace, solace dear
Of pained mortal ! You’re the fount
Whence emanates the stream of succour,
That without cease our soil fructifies.

From thy throne, from heaven high,
Kindly hear my sorrowful cry !
And may thy shining veil protect
My voice that rises with rapid flight.

Thou art my Mother, Mary, pure;
Thou’ll be the fortress of my life;
Thou’ll be my guide on this angry sea.
If ferociously vice pursues me,
If in my pains death harasses me,
Help me, and drive away my woes !

This is one of the poem of our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

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To Josephine

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Rizal dedicated this poem to Josephine Bracken, an Irish
woman who went to Dapitan accompanying a man
seeking Rizal’s services as an ophthamologist.

To Josephine

Josephine, Josephine
Who to these shores have come
Looking for a nest, a home,
Like a wandering swallow;
If your fate is taking you
To Japan, China or Shanghai,
Don’t forget that on these shores
A heart for you beats high.

To the Philippines

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Rizal wrote the original sonnet in Spanish

To the Philippines

Aglowing and fair like a houri on high,
Full of grace and pure like the Morn that peeps
When in the sky the clouds are tinted blue,
Of th’ Indian land, a goddess sleeps.

The light foam of the son’rous sea
Doth kiss her feet with loving desire;
The cultured West adores her smile
And the frosty Pole her flow’red attire.

With tenderness, stammering, my Muse
To her ‘midst undines and naiads does sing;
I offer her my fortune and bliss:
Oh, artists! her brow chaste ring
With myrtle green and roses red
And lilies, and extol the Philippines!

Claro M. Recto

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Recto

Recto

Claro M. Recto
Born: February 8, 1890
Died: August 24, 1960

His elementary education was obtained in Lipa, Batangas. He received a BA degree from Ateneo Municipal de Manila at 19, and at 24, a Master of Law degree from the University of Santo Tomas and was admitted to the bar. Recto served as legal advisor to the Senate in 1916 and later a Batangas representative during 1919 – 1925. He went to the US in 1924 as a member of the Independence Mission. After returning to the Philippines he founded the Democrat Party. Recto became a member of the Senate in 1931 and majority floor leader in 1934. In 1935, he served as president of the Constitutional Convention and President Roosevelt appointed him to the Supreme Court. He left the Supreme Court in 1941 to be re-elected as a senator. During the Japanese occupation, he was a member of President Laurel’s cabinet for which he was branded a collaborator after the war.

Recto was re-elected as a Nationalist in 1949 and again in 1953 as a guest candidate of the Liberal Party. Nationalism resurfaced in the early 1950s and Recto fired the first shot in 1951 with a speech. He claimed the Philippine government allowed the US to continue their dominant pre-war interests in the financial, commercial, and industrial life of the country. For his speeches on the theme of economic and political nationalism, he was branded anti-American. Recto ran for president in 1957 but was defeated by Carlos P. Garcia. He wrote books such as The Law of Belligerent Occupation, Three Years of Enemy Occupation, and several one-act plays in Spanish and also won the Nobel Prize for literature. President Garcia named him ambassador extraordinaire in 1960. He died of a heart attack in Rome, while on a cultural mission to Europe and Latin America.

My Last Farewell by: Dr. Jose Rizal

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My Last Farewell

by : Jose Rizal

Farewell, dear Fatherland, clime of the sun caress’d
Pearl of the Orient seas, our Eden lost!,
Gladly now I go to give thee this faded life’s best,
And were it brighter, fresher, or more blest
Still would I give it thee, nor count the cost.

On the field of battle, ‘mid the frenzy of fight,
Others have given their lives, without doubt or heed;
The place matters not-cypress or laurel or lily white,
Scaffold or open plain, combat or martyrdom’s plight,
T is ever the same, to serve our home and country’s need.

I die just when I see the dawn break,
Through the gloom of night, to herald the day;
And if color is lacking my blood thou shalt take,
Pour’d out at need for thy dear sake
To dye with its crimson the waking ray.

My dreams, when life first opened to me,
My dreams, when the hopes of youth beat high,
Were to see thy lov’d face, O gem of the Orient sea
From gloom and grief, from care and sorrow free;
No blush on thy brow, no tear in thine eye.

Dream of my life, my living and burning desire,
All hail ! cries the soul that is now to take flight;
All hail ! And sweet it is for thee to expire ;
To die for thy sake, that thou mayst aspire;
And sleep in thy bosom eternity’s long night.

If over my grave some day thou seest grow,
In the grassy sod, a humble flower,
Draw it to thy lips and kiss my soul so,
While I may feel on my brow in the cold tomb below
The touch of thy tenderness, thy breath’s warm power.

Let the moon beam over me soft and serene,
Let the dawn shed over me its radiant flashes,
Let the wind with sad lament over me keen ;
And if on my cross a bird should be seen,
Let it trill there its hymn of peace to my ashes.
Let the sun draw the vapors up to the sky,
And heavenward in purity bear my tardy protest
Let some kind soul o ‘er my untimely fate sigh,
And in the still evening a prayer be lifted on high
From thee, 0 my country, that in God I may rest.

Pray for all those that hapless have died,
For all who have suffered the unmeasur’d pain;
For our mothers that bitterly their woes have cried,
For widows and orphans, for captives by torture tried
And then for thyself that redemption thou mayst gain.

And when the dark night wraps the graveyard around
With only the dead in their vigil to see
Break not my repose or the mystery profound
And perchance thou mayst hear a sad hymn resound
‘T is I, O my country, raising a song unto thee.

And even my grave is remembered no more
Unmark’d by never a cross nor a stone
Let the plow sweep through it, the spade turn it o’er
That my ashes may carpet earthly floor,
Before into nothingness at last they are blown.

Then will oblivion bring to me no care
As over thy vales and plains I sweep;
Throbbing and cleansed in thy space and air
With color and light, with song and lament I fare,
Ever repeating the faith that I keep.

My Fatherland ador’d, that sadness to my sorrow lends
Beloved Filipinas, hear now my last good-by!
I give thee all: parents and kindred and friends
For I go where no slave before the oppressor bends,
Where faith can never kill, and God reigns e’er on high!

Farewell to you all, from my soul torn away,
Friends of my childhood in the home dispossessed !
Give thanks that I rest from the wearisome day !
Farewell to thee, too, sweet friend that lightened my way;
Beloved creatures all, farewell! In death there is rest !

Translated by Charles Derbyshire

Rizal Monument

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Swiss sculptor

The Rizal Monument in Luneta was not the work of a Filipino but a Swiss sculptor named Richard Kissling. Furthermore, Kissling was only the second placer in the international art competition held between 1905 – 1907 for the monument design.

The first-prize winner was Professor Carlos Nicoli of Carrara, Italy. His scaled plaster model titled “Al Martir de Bagumbayan” (To the Martyr of Bagumbayan) bested 40 other accepted entries. Among his plans were the use of marble from Italy (in contrast to the unpolished granite now at Luneta) and the incorporation of more elaborate figurative elements.

Many accounts explained that the contract was awarded to Dr. Richard Kissling of Zurich, Switzerland for his “Motto Stella” (Guiding Star) because of Nicoli’s inability to post the required performance bond of P20,000 for the duration of the monument’s construction. Some sources say that Nicoli failed to show up at the designated date for the signing of the job contract. Another narrative declared, “parenthetically, the contract was awarded to Richard Kissling because his quotation was lower that that of Prof. Nicoli’s.” A complaint was reportedly filed by Nicoli through the courts of justice.

Some of the local press lambasted Kissling’s model. It was satirized in a cartoon and labeled vulgar y tosco, meaning “lousy.” The constituents of the Jury of Awards – all Americans and none of whom were artists, architects nor engineers –were also questioned. (Then Governor James F. Smith headed the jury.)

There were plans for the famous Filipino painter Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo to inspect and modify the design. However, the latter was ultimately left “as it is” since the bronze of the statues had already been cast in Switzerland.

During Rizal’s (birth) centenary year in 1961, a controversial stainless steel shaft/pylon was superimposed over the granite obelisk. This increased the height of the structure from 12.7 meters to 30. 5 meters.

The said remodeling undertaken by the Jose Rizal National Centennial Commission (JRNCC) was widely criticized. It drew derisive remarks of it being “carnivalistic,” “nightmarish,” “commercialized,” “pseudo modern,” “hodgepodge of classic and Hollywood modern,” “fintailed monstrosity,” and “like a futuristic rocket ship about to take off for interstellar space,” to cite some.

Many found the gleaming modernistic steel shaft incompatible with the somber granite base. Moreover, the latter seemed to dwarf the much smaller Rizal figure. Others simply dislike the idea of tampering with a popular and traditional image which was already immortalized in stamps, paper currency, books and souvenirs, among others.

The designer of the remodeling was Juan F. Nakpil – later to become the country’s first National Artist for Architecture. He quoted former Secretary of Education and JRNCC chair Manuel Lim as the one who “envisioned it as a part of obelisk that will jut out to serve as a convenient guide for incoming boats and ships and for the people lost in their way around the city.”

The P145,000 shaft was eventually removed two years later under the request of Secretary of Education Alejandro Roces and Director of Public Libraries Carlos Quirino. It was dismantled during the Holy Week “reportedly to prevent any court injunction from restraining them as government offices were closed during holidays.

Until a few years ago, the pylon stood on Roxas Boulevard to mark the Pasay-Parañaque boundary. Its present whereabouts are uncertain.

Mi Ultimo Adiós

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Here is the famous “Mi Ultimos Adiós” of Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

“Mi Ultimos Adiós” is written by Dr. Jose Rizal on the eve of his execution (December 30, 1896). It is known as “My Last Farewell”.

He was 35 years old when he wrote this poem. Together with a mystery note found in his shoe.
The said note remained mystery because the text written is not readable.

Here is the first paragraph of Mi Ultimo Adiós.

Mi Ultimo Adiós

Adios, Patria adorada, region del sol querida,
Perla del Mar de Oriente, nuestro perdido Eden!
A darte voy alegre la triste mustia vida,
Y fuera más brillante más fresca, más florida,
Tambien por tí la diera, la diera por tu bien.

En campos de batalla, luchando con delirio
Otros te dan sus vidas sin dudas, sin pesar;
El sitio nada importa, ciprés, laurel ó lirio,
Cadalso ó campo abierto, combate ó cruel martirio,
Lo mismo es si lo piden la patria y el hogar.

Yo muero cuando veo que el cielo se colora
Y al fin anuncia el día trás lóbrego capuz;
Si grana necesitas para teñir tu aurora,
Vierte la sangre mía, derrámala en buen hora
Y dórela un reflejo de su naciente luz.

Mis sueños cuando apenas muchacho adolescente,
Mis sueños cuando joven ya lleno de vigor,
Fueron el verte un día, joya del mar de oriente
Secos los negros ojos, alta la tersa frente,
Sin ceño, sin arrugas, sin manchas de rubor.

Ensueño de mi vida, mi ardiente vivo anhelo,
Salud te grita el alma que pronto va á partir!
Salud! ah que es hermoso caer por darte vuelo,
Morir por darte vida, morir bajo tu cielo,
Y en tu encantada tierra la eternidad dormir.

Si sobre mi sepulcro vieres brotar un dia
Entre la espesa yerba sencilla, humilde flor,
Acércala a tus labios y besa al alma mía,
Y sienta yo en mi frente bajo la tumba fría
De tu ternura el soplo, de tu hálito el calor.

Deja á la luna verme con luz tranquila y suave;
Deja que el alba envíe su resplandor fugaz,
Deja gemir al viento con su murmullo grave,
Y si desciende y posa sobre mi cruz un ave
Deja que el ave entone su cantico de paz.

Deja que el sol ardiendo las lluvias evapore
Y al cielo tornen puras con mi clamor en pos,
Deja que un sér amigo mi fin temprano llore
Y en las serenas tardes cuando por mi alguien ore
Ora tambien, Oh Patria, por mi descanso á Dios!

Ora por todos cuantos murieron sin ventura,
Por cuantos padecieron tormentos sin igual,
Por nuestras pobres madres que gimen su amargura;
Por huérfanos y viudas, por presos en tortura
Y ora por tí que veas tu redencion final.

Y cuando en noche oscura se envuelva el cementerio
Y solos sólo muertos queden velando allí,
No turbes su reposo, no turbes el misterio
Tal vez acordes oigas de citara ó salterio,
Soy yo, querida Patria, yo que te canto á ti.

Y cuando ya mi tumba de todos olvidada
No tenga cruz ni piedra que marquen su lugar,
Deja que la are el hombre, la esparza con la azada,
Y mis cenizas antes que vuelvan á la nada,
El polvo de tu alfombra que vayan á formar.

Entonces nada importa me pongas en olvido,
Tu atmósfera, tu espacio, tus valles cruzaré,
Vibrante y limpia nota seré para tu oido,
Aroma, luz, colores, rumor, canto, gemido
Constante repitiendo la esencia de mi fé.

Mi Patria idolatrada, dolor de mis dolores,
Querida Filipinas, oye el postrer adios.
Ahi te dejo todo, mis padres, mis amores.
Voy donde no hay esclavos, verdugos ni opresores,
Donde la fé no mata, donde el que reyna es Dios.

Adios, padres y hermanos, trozos del alma mía,
Amigos de la infancia en el perdido hogar,
Dad gracias que descanso del fatigoso día;
Adios, dulce extrangera, mi amiga, mi alegria,
Adios, queridos séres morir es descansar.

Here is an excerpt in Wikipedia about the famous poem of Rizal Mi Ultimo Adiós :

Rizal did not inscribe a title to his poem. Mariano Ponce, Rizal’s friend and fellow reformist, titled it Mi Último Pensamiento in the copies he distributed, but this did not catch on. Here is a copy of news story taken from The Inquirer dated December 30, 2002:

On the afternoon of Dec. 29, 1896, a day before his execution, Dr. Jose Rizal was visited by his mother, Teodora Alonzo, sisters Lucia, Josefa, Trinidad, Maria and Narcisa, and two nephews. When they took their leave, Rizal told Trinidad in English that there was something in the small alcohol stove (cocinilla), not alcohol lamp (lamparilla). The stove was given to Narcisa by the guard when the party was about to board their carriage in the courtyard. At home, the Rizal ladies recovered from the stove a folded paper. On it was written an unsigned, untitled and undated poem of 14 five-line stanzas. The Rizals reproduced copies of the poem and sent them to Rizal’s friends in the country and abroad. In 1897, Mariano Ponce in Hong Kong had the poem printed with the title “Mi Ultimo Pensamiento.” Fr. Mariano Dacanay, who received a copy of the poem while a prisoner in Bilibid(jail), published it in the first issue of La Independencia on Sept. 25, 1898 with the title “Ultimo Adios.”

Thus did Rizal’s untitled, undated and unsigned last poem became popularly known as “Ultimo Adios,” or “Mi Ultimo Adios.” The poem has become internationally renowned.