Rizal seen as icon for tourism in PH



A STATUE of national hero Jose Rizal in Baganga, Davao Oriental, was not spared by Typhoon “Pablo” which, while leaving the image standing, blew off its head. NICO ALCONABA/INQUIRER MINDANAO

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – Dr. Jose Rizal might just give the Philippines a strong push for cultural tourism, a top official of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) said.

Felipe de Leon Jr., NCCA chairman, thinks so because the national hero is excellence personified, a facet of cultural worth.

“As far as tourism is concerned, excellence is a sure winner,” De Leon said in his keynote address at the Icomos international conference on cultural tourism in Vigan City in November.

Icomos stands for the International Council on Monuments and Sites, a non-government organization of professionals whose goal is to preserve the world’s historic monuments and sites.

“A phenomenon characterized by so much excellence, and one that we could surely have capitalized upon to catapult Filipino prestige sky high, as our Edsa Revolution once did, is the ever-fascinating and inexhaustible force that is Jose Rizal,” De Leon told some 500 cultural advocates from the United States, Europe, Asia and the Philippines.

Sadly, however, Filipinos have not been able to capitalize on Rizal’s greatness, he said.

“Filipino ideologues still pit [Katipunan leader Andres] Bonifacio against Rizal or denigrate Rizal as an American-sponsored hero, a notion that is historically nonsensical,” De Leon said.

Rizal, he said, inspired the first revolution against western colonialism in Asia.

“Why is he not well known to the world as [Indian nationalist Mahatma] Gandhi, [Chinese revolutionary] Sun Yat Sen and [Indian poet Rabindranath] Tagore is the Filipinos’ fault,” he said.

Rizal, he said, fought for the “freedom of the creative human spirit, social justice and equality.”

De Leon said cultural tourism could profit from items made from Rizal’s works, such as houses, songs, booklets or cards of his poetry and thoughts.

Photos and images of Rizal and his life would be sought after by visitors, he said.

The same can be done of other Philippine heroes and historical figures, he said.

“More than beaches and resorts, it is really the distinctive cultural and historical landmarks that attract tourists to a place,” he said.

“A serious program for cultural tourism demands that we understand and appreciate our cultural strengths,” he said.

Architect Augusto Villalon, head of Icomos Philippines, said the conference seeks to help Filipinos meld culture and tourism for community development.

Susan Millar, Icomos International head, said a key element of cultural tourism follows the thought that “people like seeing people.”

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  • Rosa Salabia

    Rizal is a hero because the Philippine government says he is. Claro M. Recto pushed for Rizal Law so the he and his law partner, Leon Ma. Guerrero, could earn millions in royalties selling “First Filipino” to students. Imagine a government telling a people who their hero is….. that’s complete ignorance in the 3rd world! 

    Read “Son of a Businessman: Jose Rizal and His Mismanagement of Fifth-Generation Filipino-Chinese Wealth.” It’s available on Amazon, so we can end the biggest lie in Philippine history.

    • Jesse_Bruce_Pinkman

      I am quite apprehensive to confront this truth but face I must. If not for truth then perhaps for curiosity’s sake.

    • http://alasfilipinas.blogspot.com/ Pepe Alas

      Rizal is a hero because he was pushed to become one during the US occupation of our country (William Howard Taft administration). And the main reason is for Filipinos to hate their Spanish past.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001364685977 Ben Ibarga

    Foreign tourists swear never to return to the Philippines and will tell everyone among friends not to go to Philippines.  Toilets are scarce, if there is, it is dirty.  If it’s not dirty, no toiletry supply  or the toilet have no seats.   If this writer thinks Rizal will help tourism, that will be the day when the Peso is so worthless as a thin toilet paper to clean up.    To the Philippine President please clean up and expand the airport and stop extorting fees for unclean toilets.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/G7AHS4SX7TZDVNZS2AQHAAKYDE Pascal C

      Am not so sure about them not returning. Here in Southern Leyte they return year after year for the diving. It is getting them here in the first place where the government is failing badly. 
      Lack of investment in the infrastructure and facilities is also a major problem. Telling a prospective investor from abroad that he can only lease the land that he pumping tens of millions into; unless he forms a corporation that is 60% filipino owned. The big nobs in Manila (and regions) do not want foreign investors. They want things to stay the way they are. They want to pay their workers just enough to feed their families and progression in The PH might not allow them to hold the axe to the poor filipinos head as they do now.

      As for Rizal, even the average Filipino does not know much (or forgets) about him. Ask 10 Filipinos (with High School Graduation), who was Rizal’s partner/wife. Maybe 2 or 3 will be able to answer. Outside of the Philippines nobody even heard of Rizal. Ask a middle aged person in the street abroad what do they know about The Philippines. 8 out of 10 will Say Imelda Marcus’s shoes. Most actually think she was the president.

  • rjimenez1226

    We have to clean up our act first before we can really start attracting hordes of tourists. Please start with the Filipinos themselves. Don’t throw garbage just anywhere, stop having more babies you could not afford to feed, clothe and educate, love your  country. PHilippine governmemnt officials stop stealing from the people so the state can have more more money to spend. Stop pork barrel and spend that instead on tourist infrastructure around the country.

  • Guest

    maginvest sana ang bansa natin ng “sweeper” o yung sasakyan na nagwawalis at nagvavaccum ng mga daan natin para mabawasan ang alikabok  at di maputikan ang mga sapatos natin, at chaka ayusin ang mga sidewalks para ma encourage ang mga taong maglakad.  Pansin nyo, pag nasa ibang bansa (Singapore, HK, US etc) ang lilinis ng mga gulong ng sasakyan at  sapatos nyo.

  • huseng_batute

    Ano ba naman ‘yan, Inquirer?

    Andami-daming litrato ni Rizal.  Naparaming rebulto na pwedeng gamitin.  Bakit yun pang putol ang ulo ang ginamit n’yo?

    Icon for tourism ang balita, hindi ba dapat positive ang dating ng litrato?

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