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The next competition at the Liceo was in honor of the fourth centennial of the

death of Cervantes; it was open to both Filipinos and Spaniards, and there was a
dispute as to the winner of the prize. It is hard to figure out just what really happened;
the newspapers speak of Rizal as winning the first prize, but his certificate says
second, and there seems to have been some sort of compromise by which a Spaniard
who was second was put at the head. Newspapers, of course, were then closely
censored, but the liberal La Oceania contains a number of veiled allusions to
medical poets, suggesting that for the good of humanity they should not be permitted
to waste their time in verse-making. One reference quotes the title of Rizal's first
poem in saying that it was giving a word of advice "To the Philippine Youth," and
there are other indications that for some considerable time the outcome of this
contest was a very live topic in the city of Manila.

Rizal's poem was an allegory, "The Council of the Gods"-"El consejo de los
Dioses." It was an exceedingly artistic appreciation of the chief figure in Spanish
literature. The rector of the Ateneo had assisted his former student by securing for
him needed books, and though Rizal was at that time a student in Santo Tomas, the
rivalries were such that he was still ranked with the pupils of the Jesuits and his
success was a corresponding source of elation to the Ateneo pupils and alumni. Some
people have stated that Father Evaristo Arias, a notably brilliant writer of the
Dominicans, was a competitor, a version I once published, but investigation shows
that this was a mistake. However, sentiment in the University against Rizal grew,
until matters became so unpleasant that he felt it time to follow the advice of Father
Burgos and continue his education outside of the Islands.

Just before this incident Rizal had been the victim of a brutal assault in Kalamba;
one night when he was passing the barracks of the Civil Guard he noted in the
darkness a large body, but did not recognize who it was, and passed without any
attention to it. It turned out that the large body was a lieutenant of the Civil Guard,
and, without warning or word of any kind, he drew his sword and wounded Rizal in
the back. Rizal complained of this outrage to the authorities and tried several times,
without success, to see the Governor-General. Finally he had to recognize that there
was no redress for him. By May of 1882 Rizal had made up his mind to set sail for
Europe, and his brother, Paciano, equipped him with seven hundred pesos for the
journey, while his sister, Saturnina, intrusted to him a valuable diamond ring which
might prove a resource in time of emergency.

Jose had gone to Kalamba to attend a festival there, when Mr. Hidalgo, from
Manila, notified him that his boat was ready to sail. The telegram, asking his
immediate return to the city, was couched in the form of advice of the condition of
a patient, and the name of the steamer, Salvadora, by a play on words, was used in
the sense of "May save her life." Rizal had previously requested of Mr. Ramirez, of
the Puerta del Sol store, letters of introduction to an Englishman, formerly in the
Philippines, who was then living in Paris. He said nothing more of his intentions,
but on his last night in the city, with his younger sister as companion, he drove all
through the walled city and its suburbs, changing horses twice in the five hours of
his farewell. The next morning he embarked on the steamer, and there yet remains
the sketch which he made of his last view of the city, showing its waterfront as it
appeared from the departing steamer. To leave town it was necessary to have a
passport; his was in the name of Jose Mercado, and had been secured by a distant
relative of his who lived in the Santa Cruz district.

Rizal's parting view of Manila. A pencil sketch by himself.


Sketches

1. Singapore Lighthouse. 2. Along the Suez Canal. 3. Castle of St. Elmo,


Naples. (From Rizal's Sketch-book)

After five days' journey the little steamer reached the English colony of
Singapore. There Rizal saw a modern city for the first time. He was intensely
interested in the improvements. Especially did the assured position of the natives,
confident in their rights and not fearful of the authorities, arouse his admiration.
Great was the contrast between the fear of their rulers shown by the Filipinos and
the confidence which the natives of Singapore seemed to have in their government.
Studies of passengers on the French mail steamer.

(From Rizal's sketch-book.)

At Singapore, Rizal transferred to a French mail Steamer and seems to have had
an interesting time making himself understood on board. He had studied some
French in his Ateneo course, writing an ode which gained honors, but when he
attempted to speak the language he was not successful in making Frenchmen
understand him. So he resorted to a mixed system of his own, sometimes using Latin
words and making the changes which regularly would have occurred, and when
words failed, making signs, and in extreme cases drawing pictures of what he wanted.
This versatility with the pencil, for many of his offhand sketches had humorous
touches that almost carried them into the cartoon class, interested officers and
passengers, so that the young student had the freedom of the ship and a voyage far
from tedious.
Aden-May 28, 1882. (From Rizal's Sketch-book.)

The passage of the Suez Canal, a glimpse of Egypt, Aden, where East and West
meet, and the Italian city of Naples, with its historic castle, were the features of the
trip which most impressed him.
ON HIS 155th birth anniversary, Jose Rizal is remembered by most as the national
hero of the Philippines who wrote two novels that inspired the Philippine Revolution
against Spain, resulting in the emergence of the Filipino nation.
But there is more to Rizal than most people think. It is not well-known that Rizal is
considered the Father of Philippine Komiks (comic strip) because among his
numerous drawings and sketches are three that fit the bill: The Monkey and the
Turtle (Paris, 1885), The Baptism of R. Pfeiffer at Holy Cross Steinach
(Wilhelmsfeld, 1886) and The Cure of the Bewitched (Dapitan, 1895).
The first, a retelling of the Filipino folk tale The Monkey and the Turtle, was drawn
in the scrapbook of Juan Lunas ill-fated wife, Paz Pardo de Tavera, during a dinner in
Paris in the fall of 1885.
ADVERTISEMENT

The story is retold in 35 frames with text in Spanish under each panel instead of
having the narrative flow in boxes above and dialogue text in speech balloons as we
do today.
In a New Year letter to his family in 1886, Rizal narrated: My mode of life doesnt
change. Luna and I eat here at the studio and as he has many friends at Paris, families
who hold soires at their homes often invite him. For this reason he eats outside often.
The Pardo family who lives here also invites me to eat at their home from time to
time. Then Luna, [Felix] Resurreccin [Hidalgo], and I go there. On such days we do
nothing else but talk about our countryits likes, food, customs, etc. The family is
very amiable. The mother (widow) is a sister of Gorricho and remains very Filipino in
everything. Her sons Trinidad and Felix Pardo are both physicians; her daughter Paz
speaks French and English and she is very amiable, and also very Filipino.
European custom
She dresses with much elegance, and in her movements and manner of looking she
resembles Sra. Itching. She is beautiful and svelte and it is said she is going to marry
Luna. She asked me to write something in her album and I wrote the story of the
monkey and the turtle with illustrations. The young women in Europe usually have the
custom of keeping an album (not of pictures) in which they ask their friends to put
there drawings, dedications, verses, etc. and they keep them as souvenirs.
Pardo interview
Felix Pardo de Tavera, in a prewar interview with Francisco Villanueva, related: My
sister Paz, wife of Juan Luna, had an album where almost all the Filipinos who lived
or passed through Paris wrote a piece, prose or verse, or drew a sketch. Paz asked
Rizal to contribute, anything he liked. At the time Rizal and I had a discussion as to
whether the fruit of the banana tree look upward or downward. Both of us had been
away from the Philippines for many years. Rizal maintained that they look downward
while I argued that they look upward.
RIZAL COMIC STRIP The Cure of the Bewitched (Dapitan, 1895) by Jose Rizal
PHOTO REPRODUCTION BY AMBETH R.OCAMPO
We were then at the house of Paz. When my sister asked Rizal to write something in
the album and handed the book to him, Rizal spontaneously and almost instantly drew
the sketches wherein the monkey and the turtle are shown discussing. My nephew,
Andres Luna, who is in Manila practicing his profession as an architect, has this
album of his mother, where the original of Rizals drawing can still be found.
Album lost
The original album owned by Paz Pardo de Tavera was inherited by her son, the
famous prewar architect Andres Luna de San Pedro, and was believed lost or
destroyed during the Battle for Manila in 1945.
At present, the only reliable reproduction of the first Filipino comic strip is found in
the 1914 Lineage, Life and Labor of Jose Rizal, Philippine Patriot: A Study of the
Growth of Free Ideas in the Trans Pacific American Territory by Austin Craig.
The good news is that the original album that also contains sketches by Juan Luna,
Felix Resurreccin Hidalgo and other artists is extant and may perhaps be coaxed out
of hiding by the astronomical prices fetched by Philippine art and antiques at local and
international auctions.
The early Philippine comic strip by Rizal and the two other works mentioned above,
now preserved in the National Library of the Philippines, prove that there is much
more to Rizal that needs to be known, appreciated and celebrated.

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/791444/rizal-father-of-filipino-


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