Rizal in Dapitan

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  • Topic: Christmas, Manila, Ateneo de Manila University
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  • Published : March 10, 2013
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CHAPTER 21
EXILE IN DAPITAN

* Peaceful Life in Dapitan|
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During the early part of his exile in Dapitan, Rizal lived at the commandant’s residence. With his prize from the Manila Lottery and his earnings as a farmer and a merchant, he bought a piece of land near the shore of Talisay near Dapitan. On this land, he built three houses- all made of bamboo, wood, and nipa. The first house which was square in shape was his home. The second house was the living quarters of his pupils. And the third house was the barn where he kept his chickens. The second house had eight sides, while the third had six sides.

In a latter to his friend, Ferdinand Blumentritt, on December 19, 1893, Rizal described his peaceful life in Dapitan.

"I shall tell you how we lived here. I have three houses-one square, another hexagonal, and the third octagonal. All these houses are made of bamboo, wood, and nipa. I live in the square house, together with my mother, my sister, Trinidad, and my nephew. In the octagonal house live some young boys who are my pupils. The hexagonal house is my barn where I keep my chickens.

"From my house, I hear the murmur of a clear brook which comes from the high rocks. I see the seashore where I keep two boats, which are called barotos here.

"I have many fruit trees, such as mangoes, lanzones, guayabanos, baluno, nangka, etc. I have rabbits, dogs, cats, and other animals.

"I rise early in the morning-at five-visit my plants, feed the chickens, awaken my people, and prepare our breakfast. At half-past seven, we eat our breakfast, which consists of tea, bread, cheese, sweets, and other things.

"After breakfast, I treat the poor patients who come to my house. Then I dress and go to Dapitan in my baroto. I am busy the whole morning, attending to my patients in town.

"At noon, I return home to Talisay for lunch. Then, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., I am busy as a teacher. I teach the young boys.

"I spend the rest of the afternoon in farming. My pupils help me in watering the plants, pruning the fruits, and planting many kinds of trees. We stop at 6:00 p.m. for the Angelus

"I spend the night reading and writing."|
* Rizal's First Christmas in Dapitan|
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After a short time, Jose Rizal began to enjoy the simple life of Dapitan.

Rizal became prosperous. Aside from his lottery prize, Rizal earned more money by practicing medicine. Some rich patients paid him well for curing their eye ailments. He began to buy agricultural lands in Talisay, a barrio near Dapitan. He planned to build his house in this scenic barrio by the seashore.

As Christmas came nearer, Rizal became more cheerful. His savings increased, for the cost of living in Dapitan was cheaper than in Calamba. His health improved. Many Dapitan folks, who were formerly indifferent to him, became his friends.

No wonder, Rizal enjoyed his first Christmas in Dapitan. He was one of the guests of Captain Carnicero at a Christmas Eve dinner in the comandancia (house of the commandant). The other guests were three Spaniards from the neighboring town of Dipolog and a Frenchman named Jean Lardet. It was a merry feast. The guests enjoyed the delicious dishes prepared by the commandant’s native cook. With the exception of Rizal, they drank beer, for he disliked hard liquor. At midnight, Captain Carnicero, Rizal, and other guests went to church to hear the Mass of the Noche Buena.

In a letter to his mother, dated January 5, 1893, Rizal described how he enjoyed his first Christmas in Dapitan. He said:

"I spent a merry Christmas here. It could not have been merrier. I had a happy dinner on Christmas eve, together with my host (the commandant), three Spaniards from a neighboring town, and a Frenchman. We heard Mass at 12:00 midnight, for you know I go to Mass here every Sunday."|

* Rizal as a Farmer in Dapitan|
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To prove to his people that farming is a good a profession as medicine, Rizal became a farmer in Dapitan. In...
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