The Death of Jose Rizal (Ambeth Ocampo)

Topics: José Rizal, Manila, Ambeth Ocampo Pages: 4 (1203 words) Published: September 7, 2014

The Death of Jose Rizal: Ambeth Ocampo’s version

Editor’s note: The following is the article written by today’s most famous Filipino historian Ambeth R. Ocampo on Jose Rizal’s death. Simply entitled, “The Death of Jose Rizal,” this historical piece by the current head of the National Historical Institute (of the Philippines) could be deemed refreshing and controversial, as it offers several unpopular and unorthodox accounts of what (presumably) transpired on the day of Rizal’s execution. For one thing, it virtually proclaims that Rizal refused to kiss the crucifix before he was executed, thereby negating the claim of other historians (like Zaide) that the national hero even asked for this Catholic sacramental. Happy reading!

"THE OBSERVANT WILL NOTICE metal footprints on the pavement running from Fort Santiago to the Luneta in seafront Manila. They resemble dancing patterns, but actually trace the last steps of Jose Rizal as he walked from his prison cell to the site of his execution on December 30, 1896. The Rizal Centennial Commission claims that the footprints are based on Rizal’s actual shoe size. When people ask why the steps are so small, the quick reply is: “If you are walking to your death, would you hurry?” The slow walk to Bagumbayan field (as Rizal Park or the Luneta was once called) began at 6:30 a.m. on a cool, clear morning. Rizal was dressed in a black coat and trousers and a white shirt and waistcoat. He was tied elbow to elbow, but held up his head in a chistera or bowler hat. A bugler signaled his passage, while the roll of drums muffled in black cloth gave cadence to his gait. From Fort Santiago he took a right turn, and walked along the Paseo Maria Cristina (now Bonifacio Drive), which gave him a view lifting the darkness over Manila Bay on the right, and a last glimpse of Intramuros, shadowed by the missing sun, on his left. He walked between two Jesuits, Father Estanislao March and Father Jose Villaclara. They...
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