A century and a half actually, by next year Jose Rizal would have turned a hundred and fifty. Monthly meetings are being held by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines which dutifully invites all historical associations, civic groups, the Knights of Rizal, and descendants of the hero. I have been receiving frantic email messages from friends in the academe, here and abroad, asking if something is being done for a meaningful celebration.
In my opinion, we should forget oratorical and essay writing contests for the simple reason that we hardly know what Rizal is all about. We have not bothered to fully decode the messages Rizal embedded in the voluminous writings he left behind.
For starters, I am going to reread Rizal's biographies , the serious scholarly ones by Craig, Coates, Palma, Guerrero, etc, to extract the development of the hero's political thoughts, instead of a mere chronology of his life and loves, which I did in college. Then, I will go directly to the source , perhaps it should be the other way around or maybe I should do both simultaneously.
I had the temerity to propose to the venerable Knights of Rizal a photographic documentation of all Rizal monuments starting from the very first one erected in Daet, Camarines Norte in 1899. They should get together with local government for the restoration and maintenance of the monuments under the guidance of the National Historical Commission. Your proposals are most welcome.