MY Rizal – Celebrating the Rizal in me

Everyone knows who José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda , or simply Jose Rizal is. He is best known for his novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.  Possessing a level of mastery in narrative and form unequaled by writers in the country during his time, Rizal’s works, which range from complex poems to simple folk stories, are considered among the world’s foremost classics.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Jose Rizal’s birth on 19 June 1861.

I found myself at the Rizal Shrine veranda with no other than Liza Bayot, the great grand niece of Jose Rizal (through his sister, Saturnina) , media, Rizalists like Dean Jorge Bocobo and Vibal Foundation. It was quite a humbling experience. Like Liza, I just rediscovered Jose Rizal after getting involved in advocacies through social commentaries in Twitter and my blog. Read armchair revolutionary?

Sipping the rico tsokolate as part of the merienda cena provided by Adarna Restaurant, I tried to recall the life and works of Jose Rizal as scholarly discussion ensued. My memory bank is quite depleted. I took for granted all the stories and works that we as students were required to take during high school and college years.

“Rizal was just a page in my textbook.”

MY Rizal

I wondered why the organizers dubbed it as MY RIZAL” in honor of Jose Rizal’s 150th birth celebration. My rediscovery and fascination of Jose Rizal in recent years says it all. MY Rizal “engages all of us to be a part of what JOSE RIZAL stood for. It invites us to internalize a version of RIZAL in our own personal lives. It inspires us to feel the hero in each one of us, and to follow RIZAL’s footsteps in his true love for country.”

“My Rizal– celebrating the Rizal in Me– is for everyone. One does not need to be a Rizal descendant, or come from a specific country. Rizal’s ideals, as exemplified by his life, his works and his heroism, are universal.”

I can celebrate Jose Rizal in me by participating in year long and continuing activities in the celebration of the life and works of Rizal. Consider the following.

1. The calendar of My Rizal 150 activities gives me a sneak peek of the year-long MY RIZAL events – a tour to Dapitan, the search for the Rizal-like Renaissance children of this generation, among many others.

2. Visiting website contains interesting Rizal-related articles and the calendar of My Rizal 150’s selected Rizal activities.

You too can participate. ‘Like’ their Facebook page, read @myrizal150 Twitter updates, take a look at our articles, and most importantly, attend our events! You can even write for the MyRizal150 website. (ask me how)

3. To celebrate this momentous occasion, Vibal Foundation will mount a multimedia tribute to the life and legacy of the First Filipino, through web, audiovisual, and print projects.

The Complete Jose Rizal

The Complete Jose Rizal to be launched on 10 June 2011. This comprehensive compilation of Rizal’s works will include his letters, novels, and essays. It will also feature valuable hard-to-find archival materials on his life and times, such as images and public domain biographies.

Rizaliana Encyclopedia

Also in June, will feature the Rizaliana Encyclopedia, containing expanded entries on special Rizal topics, as well as chapter summaries and character profiles for Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.

 Digital Rizal

In order to let today’s children better appreciate this timeless tale, the Vibal Foundation will release in Jose Rizal’s birth month a trilingual interactive e-book of Ang Pagong at ang Matsing for the iPad, featuring an intuitive interface, gorgeous graphics and an immersive score. Noli Me Tangere will also receive the interactive e-book treatment, to be released in installments of several chapters each .

Special Print Editions

In cooperation with Instituto Cervantes, Vibal Foundation will publish a special Spanish edition of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, acknowledging the literary and scholarly value of the original text in its original language.

Also to be published are bilingual editions, placing the original Spanish text  side-by-side with Charles Derbyshire’s famous English translation.

A special edition of Lolo Jose, the biography written by Rizal’s grandniece Asuncion Lopez-Bantug, will be released in June. It will feature a new enhanced DVD containing the Lolo Jose documentary (featuring additional interviews with descendants of Rizal’s siblings and historical experts) and a compilation of texts and images from The Complete Jose Rizal, also available on

More on My Rizal 150: My Rizal in Me at the Philippine Online Chronicles.