19 June 2020 – The Philippine Embassy in Berlin and members of the Knights of Rizal and Ladies for Rizal paid tribute to the life and work of our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal on June 19, the 159th anniversary of his birth.
The occasion was marked by a simple wreath-laying ceremony at Dr. Rizal’s former apartment at Jägerstrasse 71, in the center of Berlin, where our National Hero finished his novel, Noli Me Tangere.
Germany had a special place in the heart of Dr. Rizal. He once referred to it as his “scientific mother country,” where he was immersed in various intellectual pursuits and maintained close friendships with German scientists. He also traveled along the Rhine, admiring the beauty of towns and cities along the river.
Ambassador Maria Theresa Dizon-de Vega recited Rizal’s Spanish-language poem, Canto de Viajero (Song of the Traveler) as part of the ceremony. National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s English translation was read by Consul Catherine Rose G. Torres.
The Ambassador drew parallels between the events in the life of Dr. Rizal and the health crisis that the world is currently facing. She shared that an elated Dr. Rizal wrote the poem in 1896 after he was granted permission by Spanish authorities to volunteer as a medical practitioner in Cuba. At that time, the Spanish colony was in the midst of a revolution and yellow fever epidemic.
The Ambassador said that the poem’s words ring true today, which speak of a desire to be part of a larger community and to be of service.
Dr. Rizal’s was unable to fulfill his Cuba mission after he was ordered deported to the Philippines to face charges of rebellion and other crimes against the state. He was executed at Bagumbayan (present-day Rizal Park) on December 30, 1896. END