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A peek into Kapitan Tiago’s house


Dramatic indeed was the closing of the International Congress on Jose Rizal in 1961, when news leaked that the original manuscripts of Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere,” “El Filibusterismo,” and “Mi Ultimo Adios” were stolen from the National Library and held for ransom. These historic manuscripts were recovered piecemeal by then Education Secretary Alejandro R. Roces in an amazing story that should be made into a film someday.

Posted: April 2nd, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Political accommodation: a lesson from 1890


The more things change, the more they remain the same—especially in politics. I was reminded of this constant truth all over again when I reread an unusual letter Marcelo del Pilar wrote Jose Rizal in 1890.

Posted: March 11th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

As we learn from Rizal, Pasig ferry an efficient mode of transport

May I refer to Neal H. Cruz’s column titled “Promote alternative means of transportation” (Opinion, 2/14/14), wherein he stated: “We are glad to read in Sunday’s Inquirer that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will revive the Pasig River ferry as suggested in a recent column….

Posted: February 26th, 2014 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

Tales of the ‘sarimanok’


When in Singapore, I never fail to pay my respects to a bronze elephant given by Thai King Chulalongkorn to the then British colony as a souvenir of his visit. Gazing at this elephant provides a concrete connection with Jose Rizal, who described it in his diary. A stone’s throw away from the elephant is a historical marker that commemorates Rizal’s five visits to Singapore. I never fail to visit this, too.

Posted: February 21st, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Rizal tried hashish


Marijuana is a prohibited substance in most parts of the world. In some places it is tolerated for medicinal use by patients suffering from lingering and painful illness. In the Netherlands marijuana and some special mushrooms remain illegal but are tolerated in small quantities. In Amsterdam you can order marijuana and light up inside a “coffee shop.” Be warned, however, that you cannot do the same in Maastricht.

Posted: January 15th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Villains and cowards: Rizal’s own 7-point summary


Tucked away in Jose Rizal’s longest letter in Tagalog is his own summary of the most important lessons he had learned, at the ripe age of 27. He was asked by Marcelo del Pilar in February 1889 to write a letter “a las muchachas de Malolos,” the valiant women who had the temerity to ask for the right to attend night school. Writing from London, Rizal composed a lengthy letter on equality and education, on reason and religion; he ended it with a statement of principles (“itong pinaninindigang mga sabi”).

Posted: December 30th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Social Rizal

What would Jose Rizal have made of today’s social media phenomenon? Two and a half years ago, as part of the many activities to mark the hero’s 150th birth anniversary, the Inquirer’s own Learning section offered a possible answer: Rizal, a tireless letter-writer and pamphleteer, would have taken to blogging like a natural, but because [...]

Posted: December 29th, 2013 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Rizal’s curt advice


Great men of history are usually remembered for what they can teach even though they may have lived long in the past. Thus, we recall what Socrates and Aristotle said thousands of years ago for the lessons they give on politics and morality. The Philippines has its own great men, foremost among them Jose Rizal, [...]

Posted: December 29th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Rizal’s book exchange


Two years ago I took a train from Berlin to Dresden to visit the bodega of the Ethnographic Museum where some 19th-century artifacts from the Philippines were kept. The name of Alexander Schadenberg appeared repeatedly in the catalogues and the inventory cards for the Philippine objects, which was not surprising because this German pharmacist who [...]

Posted: December 12th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Rizal and Pope Francis


In September 1894 while in exile in Dapitan, Jose Rizal wrote to one of his favorite former teachers, the Jesuit priest Pablo Pastells, to thank the latter for a gift. Rizal knew Pastells had an agenda, which was to bring this wayward subversive back into the Catholic fold.

Posted: October 3rd, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The writers I have known


It was from our literature subject in high school that I had my first acquaintance with writers.

Posted: September 8th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

‘Tears in Biñan’


What happened to the Alberto House in the armpit of Biñan, Laguna? This was a 19th-century house that had seen better days. The house must have been built on a site that must have been good “once upon a time” because it is strangled today by commercial establishments and a swarm of public transport.

Posted: September 5th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »



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