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Rizal in Dapitan

Rizal lived in exile in far-away Dapitan, a remote town in Mindanao which was under the missionary jurisdiction of the Jesuits, from 1892 to 1896. This four-year interregnum in his life was tediously unexciting, but was abundantly fruitful with varied achievements (Zaide, 2008).

"...wherever I go I would always be in the hands of God who has in His hands the destinies of man." -Jose Rizal
This monumental work of art is a tribute to all Dapitanons and to those who, in heart and in mind, silently share the same vision of Dr. Jose Rizal for the greater glory of Dapitan.  This serves as a reminder to all - that Dapitan was once blessed with the distinct privilege and opportunity to shelter the greatest Filipino martyr who lived here on exile for four years, thirteen days and a few hours...sharing his noble life, works, and teachings.  The realization of this historical landmark was made possible through the sustainable development efforts and and initiatives of former Cong. Romeo "Nonong" G. Jalosjos, and the City Government of Dapitan concretized by the artistic touch and technical expertise of the following personalities:  Antonio Tuviera (concept and production), Nilo Ajo. Ferraren (architect), Manuel Tolentino (sculptor), and Ronel Roces (installation and bronnzing).  This monument was unveiled during the 4th Handuraw Celebration on December 28, 2009.  -Inscription

 This cross, located across Rizal's landing site at Dapitan, marks the start of Catholicism in the island.

In front of the church, Rizal and Father Sanchez made a huge relief map of Mindanao out of earth, stones and grass. This map still adorns the town plaza of Dapitan (Zaide, 2008).  This artistic manifestation of a well-lived exile was made by Dr. Jose P. Rizal on August 1892 based on the map done by Fr. Pedro Murillo Velarde, a French Jesuit in 1752.  He was assisted by Fr. Francisco Paula de Sanchez, S.J., his favorite teacher at the Ateneo de Manila where he studied in 1872-1877.  Rizal used this map as a motivating device in teaching geography and history to his pupils during his lonely but productive banishment in Dapitan from July 17, 1892 to July 31, 1896 (Inscription).

St. James Church
St. James Church is located across the Relief Map of Mindanao, and used to be Rizal's place of worship.  The hero used to pray in a corner at the back of the church to avoid the eyes of the judgmental friars who constantly hinted at him during their sermons.
Standing in the spot where Rizal used to stand during masses, one can behold this view inside the church.  "On this spot of Saint James Church constructed by the Jesuits in 1871, Jose Rizal stood while hearing mass every Sunday during his exile in Dapitan in 1892-1896." (Inscription)


Jose Rizal's dwelling place in Dapitan is preserved in Rizal Shrine, along with some the hero's works, clothes, and other memorabilia.
"I shall tell you how we live here. I have three houses: one square, another hexagonal, and a third octagonal, all of bamboo, wood, and nipa" - Rizal (Zaide, 2008).  

Casa Cuadrada (Replica of the Pupils' Dormitory and Workshop)
 Rizal effected the construction of the house to accommodate the growing number of pupils in his Talisay School.  The area underneath the hut served as the workshop of his pupils (Inscription).  His exile to Dapitan gave Rizal the opportunity to put into practice his educational ideas.  In 1893 he established a school which existed until the end of his exile in July 1896.  It began with three pupils and in the course of time the enrolment increased to 16 and later to 21.  Instead of charging tuition fees, he made them work in his garden, fields, and construction projects in the community (Zaide 2008).

 Casa Redonda (Replica of the Octagonal Clinic of Rizal)
The octagonal hut served as Rizal's clinic and as dormitory of some of his pupils.  Reconstructed with similar materials as the main house, it now stands as a reminder of the numerous medications performed by Rizal during his exile in Dapitan (Inscription).

 "From my house I hear the murmur of a crystal brook which comes from the high rocks; I see the seashore... In the square house we live, my mother, sister Trinidad, a nephew and I" - Rizal (Zaide, 2008).  

Rizal's kitchen

Talisay Water System (Rizal's Dam and Aqueduct)
Constructed by Rizal in 1895 with the help of his pupils, the water system provided adequate year-round water supply for Rizal's farm and household needs (Inscription).  An American engineer, Mr. H.F. Cameron, praised Rizal's engineering feat in the following words: "Another famous and well-known water supply is that of Dapitan, Mindanao, designed and constructed by Dr. Rizal during his banishment in that municipality by the Spanish authorities... This supply comes from a little mountain stream across the river from Dapitan and follows the contour of the country for the whole distance.  When one considers that Doctor Rizal had no explosives with which to blast the hard rocks and no resources save his own ingenuity, one cannot help but honor a man, who against adverse conditions, had the courage and tenacity to construct the aqueduct which had for its bottom the flutted tiles from the house roofs, and was covered with concrete made from lime burned from the sea coral.  The length of this aqueduct is several kilometers, and it winds in and out among the rocks and is carried across gullies in bamboo pipes upheld by rocks or brick piers to the distribution reservoir" (Zaide, 2008).

Lovers' Rock
Because they could not be married in a church, Rizal and Josephine Bracken exchanged vows on this rock. Rizal and Josephine fell in love with each other at first sight.  After a whirlwind romance of one month, they agreed to marry. But Father Obach, the priest of Dapitan, refused to marry them without the pemission of the Bishop of Cebu.  Since no priest would marry them, Rizal and Josephine held hands together and married themselves before the eyes of God (Zaide, 2008).
Stairway to Lovers' Rock (constructed)
 Josephine (A Josefina)
Who to these shores have come
Looking for a nest, a home,
Like a wandering swallow;
If your fate is taking you
To Japan, China or Shanghai,
Don't forget on these shores
A heart for you beats high.
-Jose Rizal

El Canto del Viajero (The Song of theTraveler)
El Canto del Viajero (The Song of theTraveler)
Like to a leaf that is fallen and withered,
Tossed by the tempest from pole unto pole ;
hus roams the pilgrim abroad without purpose,
Roams without love, without country or soul.
Following anxiously treacherous fortune,
Fortune which e 'en as he grasps at it flees ;
Vain though the hopes that his yearning is seeking,
Yet does the pilgrim embark on the seas !
Ever impelled by the invisible power,
Destined to roam from the East to the West ;
Oft he remembers the faces of loved ones,
Dreams of the day when he, too, was at rest.
Chance may assign him a tomb on the desert,
Grant him a final asylum of peace ;
Soon by the world and his country forgotten,
God rest his soul when his wanderings cease !
Often the sorrowing pilgrim is envied,
Circling the globe like a sea-gull above ;
Little, ah, little they know what a void
Saddens his soul by the absence of love.
Home may the pilgrim return in the future,
Back to his loved ones his footsteps he bends ;
Naught w├Čll he find but the snow and the ruins,
Ashes of love and the tomb of his friends,
Pilgrim, begone ! Nor return more hereafter,
Stranger thou art in the land of thy birth ;
Others may sing of their love while rejoicing,
Thou once again must roam o'er the earth.
Pilgrim, begone ! Nor return more hereafter,
Dry are the tears that a while for thee ran ;
Pilgrim, begone ! And forget thine affliction,
Loud laughs the world at the sorrows of man.


  1. I learned in this article that Jose Rizal is really resourceful. He can create the things he want just by using the limited materials that he has. I idolize him because he’s creating things not for him, but for his countrymen.

    Kristine Ann Asico

  2. In this article, I learned that Jose Rizal is brave enough to do the things that can help his life and his fellowmen’s lives easier. He contributed a lot not only in terms of writing, but also as an engineer, teacher and doctor. I’m sure that his works in Dapitan really help the people there.

    Kristine Ann Asico

  3. I really salute Dr. Jose Rizal for his great love to the Filipinos and because of his great love the creator gave him a multiple Intelllegence which he can use wherever he goes :)

  4. I admired Rizal because of his prowess in different fields.I want to be you someday.

  5. Basilidas V. Pilapil Jr.August 25, 2016 at 11:55 PM

    One important thing i discovered in Dapitan was....Rizal gave PATRICIA a in the hands of the ESCOTON FAMILY - Talisay, Dapitan City. Thank you Escoton Family for keeping it and now people are eager to see it.


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