Rizal memorabilia find home in Baguio hotel
BAGUIO CITY, Benguet, Philippines — Dr. Jose Rizal’s original sketch, first edition books and his chair are now on display at a local hotel built on a property formerly owned by the family of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
Grand Sierra Pines has become the home of a rare set of drawings of a young girl rendered in different poses by Rizal in 1889, which the hotel’s company, BTG Holdings Inc., considers its most prized possession, said Amparo de la Cruz, the hotel’s general manager.
The drawing was put up across the 1889 portrait of Nelly Boustead by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, one of Rizal’s fellow expatriates in Europe. Boustead has been described as Rizal’s eighth girlfriend.
At the center are glass cases filled with the first and third editions of Rizal’s novel “Noli Me Tangere” and the first edition of the second novel, “El Filibusterismo,” manuscripts of his “Memorias de un estudiante de Manila (My memories as a student in Manila),” and his writings on science, virtue and labor.
Rizal’s chair and a 1908 marble bust of the national hero, by sculptor J.P. Tanpinco, are set near the books.
The artifacts are among the notable art collection of the hotel, which was built on lands that were sequestered from the Marcos family by the Presidential Commission on Good Government.
The compound was the first property to be auctioned off, along with a separate lot housing an A-roofed structure where former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. stayed during the family’s vacations in Baguio.
Both lots were acquired by BTG Holdings, which had decided to preserve the Bongbong property because of its historic relevance and because company owner, Cesar Reyes, was drawn to its architectural value, according to De la Cruz.
Right outside the hotel stands the largest sequestered lot owned by former first lady and outgoing Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos. It is now being torn down by its new owner, a hotel developer.
A retired employee of the Philippine Long Distance Telecommunications Co., Reyes ventured into the hotel business by putting up his first hotel in Batangas province, before buying the former Marcos lots where he put up the 60-room Grand Sierra Pines.
The hotel has since become the repository of Reyes’ collections, which include the 1956 portrait of Princess Urduja by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo and an oil painting “Father and Son with Carabao” by National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco.
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