Laguna to unveil tallest Rizal statue Sunday
SAN PEDRO, Laguna, Philippines—The home province of Dr. Jose Rizal was to mark the hero’s 150th birth anniversary Sunday with a series of activities highlighted by the unveiling of a 22-foot bronze statue, which is said to be tallest Rizal statue, in Calamba City, his birth town.
City information officer Peter Capitan, in a recent phone interview, said construction of the statue started late last year with costs already reaching “millions.”
The statue is mounted on a tiled concrete pedestal on a 6.9-hectare lot right across the street from the Calamba City Hall in Barangay Real.
“If measured from the concrete base, the whole monument stands four-stories high,” he said.
Capitan said it was a coincidence but still remarkable that from the ground, one has to take 15 steps up to reach the foot of the statue. President Benigno Aquino, who is expected to preside over the unveiling of the statue Sunday morning, is the country’s 15th president.
Before the ceremonies, Aquino is expected to lead the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies and to deliver his Rizal Day speech at the Rizal Shrine, home of Rizal, near the city plaza. The shrine is about a 10 minute-ride from the location of the new statue.
“We are expecting a bigger program this year. We will have the longest and most-participated civic-military parade around Calamba in the afternoon,” said Capitan.
He said 22 floats from several police and Army units, civic groups, and other municipalities signed up to join the parade, with around 5,000 people expected to join. Free concerts are scheduled in the evening.
Meanwhile, an earlier program for the Rizal Day will be held at the provincial capitol grounds in Sta. Cruz on June 17, said Laguna Governor Jeorge E.R. Ejercito.
He said the program will kick off with a flag ceremony and flower offerings at two Rizal monuments which Ejercito’s family had donated in December last year for the hero’s 114th death anniversary.
A statue of General Paciano Rizal, the older brother of Jose Rizal, will also be unveiled on this day at the Laguna provincial police headquarters, also in Sta. Cruz, as recognition of Paciano’s contributions to the revolution.
Ejercito said the eRizal Tablet project, in which 1,500 units of the computer tablets will be distributed first to students in Laguna College in July, will be formally presented to Aquino during the June 19 rites.
In Biñan City, the local artists’ group United Artists for Cultural Conservation and Development (UCCD)-Youth Performance Council was to stage a 1.5-hour original vignette “Si Rizal at Ako” at the city plaza at 8 p.m. Saturday.
“It is a montage of Rizal’s writings and songs attributed to him. It basically answers the question of who is Rizal for us at present times,” said stage director BJ Borja.
Borja said the stage presentation also features the controversies in the Alberto House, the ancestral home of Rizal’s mother, Teodora Alonso, which is located in Biñan City.
The city government and UCCD are fighting the dismantling of the heritage home and its transfer to a private heritage resort in Bataan by the current owner of the house.
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