In Hong Kong and Macao
Hounded by powerful enemies, Rizal was forced to leave his country for a second time in February 1888. He was then a full- grown man of 27 years of age, a practicing physician, and a recognized man-of-letters. The first time he went aboard in June 1882, he was a mere lad of 21, a youthful student in search of wisdom in the Old World, a romantic idealist with beautiful dreams of emancipating his people from bondage by the magic power of his pen. Times had changed. Rizal at 27 was an embittered victim of human iniquities, a disillusioned dreamer, a flustrated reformer.
The Trip to Hong Kong. On February 3, 1888, after a short stay of six months in his beloved Calamba, Rizal left Manila for Hong Kong on board the Zafiro. He was sick and sad during the crossing of the choppy China Sea. He did not get off his ship when it made brief stopover at Amoy on February 7. for three reasons: (1) he was not feeling well, (2) it was raining hard, and (3) he heard that the city was dirty. He arrived in Hong Kong on February 8.
During his stay in Hong Kong, a British colony, Rizal wrote a letter to Blumentritt, dated February 16, 1888, expressing his bitterness.
In Hong Kong, Rizal stayed at Victoria Hotel. He was welcomed by the Filipino residents, including Jose Maria Basa, Balbino Mauricio, and Manuel Yriarte, (son of Francisco Yriarte, alcalde mayor of Laguna).
A Spaniard, Jose Sainz de Varanda, who was a former secretary of Governor General Terrero, shadowed Rizal’s movement in Hong Kong. It is believed that he was commissioned by the Spanish authorities to spy on Rizal.
Hong Kong, wrote Rizal to Blumentritt on February 16, 1888, is a small, but very clean city. Many Portuguese, Hindus, English, Chinese, and Jews live in it. There are some Filipinos, the majority of whom being those who had been exiled to the Marianas Islands in 1872. They are poor, gentle, and timid. Formerly they were rich mechanics, industrialists, and financiers.
Visit to Macao. On Feb 18, Rizal, accompanied by Basa, boarded the ferry steamer. Kiu-kiang for Macao.
Macao is a Portuguese colony near Hong Kong. “the city of Macao,” wrote Rizal, in his diary, “is small, low, and gloomy. There are many junks, sampans, but few steamers. It looks sad and is almost dead.”
In Macao, Rizal and Basa stayed at the home of Don Juan. Francisco Lecaros, a Filipino gentleman married to a Portuguese lady. He was rich and spent his days cultivating plants and flowers, many of which came from Philippines.
During his two-day sojourn in Macao, Rizal visited the theatre, casino, cathedral and churches, pagodas, botanical garden, and bazaars. He also saw the famous Grotto of Camoens, Portugal’s national poet. In the evening of February 19, he witnessed a Catholic, in which the devotees were dressed in blue and purple dresses and were carrying unlighted candles.
On February 20, Rizal and Basa returned to Hong Kong, again on board the ferry steamer Kiu Kiang.
Experiences in Hong Kong. During his two-week visit in Hong Kong, Rizal studied Chinese life, language, drama, and customs. He wrote down in his own diary the following experiences:
1. Noisy celebration of the Chinese New Year which lasted from February 11th (Saturday) to 13th (Monday).
2. Boisterous Chinese theatre, with noisy audience and noisier music.
3. The marathon lauriat party, wherein the guests were served numerous dishes, such as dried fruits, geese, shrimps, century eggs, shark fins, bird nests, white ducks, chicken with vinegar, fish heads, roasted pigs, tea, etc. The longest meal in the world.
4. The Dominican Order was the richest religious order in Hong Kong.
5. Of the Hong Kong cemeteries belonging to the Protestants, Catholics, and Muslims, that of the Protestants was the most beautiful because of its well-groomed plants and clean pathways.
Department From Hong Kong. On February 22,...
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