The most common thing or if I may say the only thing that people answer when you ask them about Jose Rizal is that he is our national hero— idol and he is found in our 1-peso coin— icon. Sad to say that, in our modern times today, people have very limited knowledge about our national hero. The facts above are the only two things most of us know about Jose Rizal but for historians and experts; they have so much adjectives to connect with our national hero.
Bayaning Third World, a “detective” story about Rizal being Philippine’s National Hero. Commenting on the movie per se, at first I thought it was some boring documentary about Rizal but understanding the facts exposed made me interested. The film was in black and white but it didn’t hindered my amusement because of the funny way they presented the most serious facts about Rizal. The movie was easy to understand if you were able to read about his life story or if you have tackled his life in your Filipino or Rizal subject but if not, you may get confused. Good thing, I have read and we have tackled his life in our lecture— that helped me follow through the film. This film also highlighted Rizal being a “Pilosopo” which reflected the Filipino attitude both in a good and not so good way. They also showed Rizal’s letters and documents which was commonly taken for granted to unveil the truth about his controversies. The movie made it “viewer-friendly” by face to face interviews with the persons involved and that is why I appreciated Rizal’s significant others behind their names.
The main point stressed in this film was Rizal’s Retraction, which involved his marriage to Josephine Bracken and the rumors about her being a spy for the friars. There were many possibilities and speculations brought about in this film, which also made me, think.
First point, they said that Rizal died a catholic despite of him being a mason through his signed letter, others said that the letter was real but the signature was forged given the fact that Rizal’s signature was easy to copy. On the other hand, some said that the letter was completely invalid and was just made by the insecure and threatened friars to destroy Rizal’s reputation.
Second point, if you would ask me if he really retracted or not, for me, it doesn’t matter because as long as his death gave credence to what he believed, fought for our democracy and his convictions, Retraction really doesn’t make him less of a hero. I believe that Rizal only became a mason because he was against the government, which happened to be the church and vice-versa. He isn’t against about God and Catholicism per se but in the “supposedly” instruments of God’s love and greatness which were the priests who were ruthless to the Filipino people. Also, he was against the people who sold their religion for wealth and for people who exchanged their religion for power .
At the part where in Rizal almost burn the manuscript of Noli Me Tangere made me think that it was a symbol of him letting go of what he strongly believed in connection to him not involved with “Himagsikan”. He became hopeless and I think he became afraid of death, probably, However, since he continued the publishing of Noli Me Tangere, I believe, he gained back his strong convictions regarding our democracy and showed his nationalism and patriotism.
I thought what I know about Rizal was enough to understand his life, works and writing but having finished this independent film widened my understanding not only for Rizal’s positive sides but also for his flaws. Jose Rizal being a national hero considering his great influence not only in the Philippines but to other countries he had gone also with his works, the great impact he left with our history as a country and culture as its citizen, his weight to some indigenous religions also has his own flaws and faults because he is also a human being capable of doing those things.
Less people know Rizal’s “dark side”— controversies, I myself was one of those before I watched this film. We were focused on his good side, his achievements and contributions for the betterment of our country but having the chance to know his flaws which until now haunts him, we must understand him and not condone the fact that he was still a human being. Rizal really don’t want to be a hero, he just wanted to prove his great passion and love for our country. Indeed, Rizal chose to die because it was one way to give weight to his beliefs and philosophy.
We all have our own Rizal. We have different perceptions and understanding regarding his life, works and writings. As for me, though he is not as “perfect” as a national hero should be, I still salute and look up to him for his immense contributions and grand legacy which is applicable until now.
Despite his imperfection, it didn’t lessen his heroism. In fact, his controversies made his life more interesting and it only made him more famous not only during his time but now and in the future generations. I didn’t get surprised that many critiqued his life but for me he is still the 3rd world hero of all time.
How can we become Rizal in our own little ways? By following simple rules and regulations and by paying the right tax. There are a lot more and it is up to you to think of whatever way it suites you. Let us be a modern-day Rizal to continue his legacy for the future generation.
Bayaning Third World is a film of substance. It is very appealing and is highly recommended for other students studying Rizal. It is effective for my learning.
Even if our 1-peso coin is in constant devaluing, Rizal still remain number one in our hearts.
*this is my reaction paper for my Rizal class, pardon the WRONG GRAMMAR.
Picture source: http://www.pinoymovierentals.com/images/items/big_2506_f.jpg