RIZAL'S EXILE IN DAPITAN, 1892-96
Rizal as Teacher
Since boyhood Rizal knew the value of good educa- tion. His exile in Dapitan gave him the opportunity to put into practice his educational ideas. In 1893, he esta- blished 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 enrollment increased to 16 and later 21. In his letter to Blumentritt on March 13, Rizal said that he had 16 pupils in his school and these pupils did not pay any tuition. Instead of charging them, he made them work in
his garden, fields and construction projects in the community.
Rizal taugh this boys reading, writing, languages (Spanish and English), geography, history, mathematics arithmetic and geometry), industrial work, nature study, morals and gymnastics. He
trained them how to collect specimens of plants and animals, to love work, and to "behave like men".
Formal classes were conducted between 2:00 to 4:00 P.M. In Ateneo, the best pupil was called an "emperor" and he sat at the head of the bench whereas the poorest pupil occupies the end of the bench.
During recess the pupils built fires in the garden to drive away the insects, pruned the fruit trees, and manured the soil.
Outside the class hours, Rizal encouraged them to play games in order to strengthen their bodies. They had gymnastics, boxing, wrestling, stone-throwing, swimming, arnis (native fencing), and boating.
Hymn to Talisay
In honor of Talisay, he wrote a poem entitled "Himno A Talisay" for his pupils to sing:
At Dapitan, the sandy shore
And rocks aloft on mountain crest
Form thy throne, O refuge blest,
That we from childhood days have known.
In your vales that flowers adorn
And your fruitful leafy shade,
Our thinking power are being made,
And soul with body being grown.
We are youth not long on earth
But our souls are free from sorrow;
Calm, strong men we'll be tomorrow,
Who can guard our families' right.
Lads are we whom naught can frighten,
Whether thunder, waves, or rain
Swift of arm, serene of mien
In peril, shall we wage our fights.
With our games we churn the sand,
Through the caves and crags we roam,
On the rocks we make our
Everywhere our arms can reach.
Neither dark nor night obscure
Cause us fear, nor fierce torment
That even Satan can invent
Life or death? We must face each!
"Talisayans", people call us!
Mighty souls in bodies small
O'er Dapitan's district all
No Talisay like this towers.
None can march our reservoir.
Our diving pool the sea profound!
No rowing boat the world around
For the moment can pass ours.
We study science exact;
The history of our motherland;
Three languages or four command;
Bring faith and reason in accord.
Our hands can manage at one time
The sail and working spade and pen,
The mason's maul - for virile men
Companions - and the gun and sword.
Live, live, O leafy green Talisay!
Our voices sing thy praise in chorus
Clear star, precious treasure for us.
Our childhood's wisdom and its balm.
In fights that wait for every man,
In sorrow and adversity,
Thy memory a charm will be,
And in the tomb, thy name, thy calm.
Hail, O Talisay!
Firm and untiring
Stately thy gait.
In sea, land and air
Shalt thou dominate.
Contributions to Science
Rizal found Mindanao a rich virgin field for collecting specimens. With his baroto (sailboat) and accompanied by his pupils, he explored thejungles and coasts, seeking specimens of insects, birds, snakes, lizards, frogs, shells, and
plants. He sent these specimens to the museum of Europe especially the Dresden Museum. In payment for these valuable specimens, the European Scientist sent him scientific books and surgical instruments.
During his four year exile in Dapitan, Rizal built up a rich collection of concology which consisted of 346 shells representing 203 species.
Rare specimens were discovered and named after him: Among these were Draco Rizali (a flying dragon), Apogonia rizali (a small beetle),and Rhacophorus rizali (a rare frog).
Rizal also conducted anthropological, ethnographical, archeological, geological, and geographical studies as revealed by scientist friend in Europe. There was no limit to his scientific versatility.
A born linguist, Rizal continued his studies of languages. In Dapitan he learned the Bisayan, Subanon, and Malay languages.
On April 5, 1896, his last year of exile in Dapitan, he wrote to Blumentritt: "Iknow already Bisayan and I speak it quite well. by this time, Rizal could rank with the
worlds great linguists. He knew 22 languages, as follows: Tagalog, Ilokano, Bisayan, Subanon, Spanish, Latin, Greek, English, French, German, Arabic, Malay, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Dutch, Catalan, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Swedish, and Russian.
Artistic Works in Dapitan
As an artist he contributed his painting skills to the Sisters of Charity who were preparing the sanctuary of the Holy Virgin in their private chapel. For the sake of economy, the
head of the image was "procured from abroad". The vestments concealing all the rest of the figure except the feet, which rested upon a globe encircled by a snake in whose mouth is an apple, were made by the
sisters. Rizal modeled the right foot of the image, the apple and the serpent' head. He also designed the exquisite curtain, which was painted in oil by an artist Sister under his direction.
In 1894 he modeled a statuette representing the mother-dog killing the crocodile by way of avenging her lost puppy and called it "The Mother's Revenge".
Other sculptural works of Rizal in Dapitan were a bust of Father Guerrico (one of his Ateneo professors), a statue of a girl called "The Dapitan Girl", a woodcarving of Josephine Bracken (his wife), and a
bust of St. Paul which he gave to Father Pastells.
Rizal as Farmer
In Dapitan, Rizal bought 16 hectares of land in Talisay, where he built his home, school, and hospital and planted cacao, coffee, sugarcane, coconuts and fruit trees. "My
land"' he wrote to his Sister Trinidad, "is half an hour from the sea. It is very poetic and very picturesque. If you and our parents come I will build a big house we can all live in".
Later, the total land holdings reached 70 hectares containing 6,000 hemp plants, 1,000 coconut trees, and numerous fruit trees, sugarcane, corn, coffee and cacao.
He introduced modern agricultural methods to Dapitan farmers and imported agricultural machinery from the United States.
Rizal as Businessman
Rizal engaged in business in partnership with Ramon Carreon on May 14, 1893, a Dapitan Merchant which has a profitable business ventures in fishing, copra, and hemp industries. He invited his relative Saturnia and Hidalgo to come to Mindanao for some
In a letter to Hidalgo, dated January 19, 1893, he expressed his plan to improve the fishing industry in Dapitan and instructed Hidalgo to help him buy
a big net for trawl fishing (pukutan) and send him two good Calamba fisherman who could teach the Dapitan folks better methods of fishing.
One of his profitable business venture was the hemp industry. To break the Chinese Monopoly on business in Dapitan Rizal organized on January 1, 1895 the Cooperative Association of Dapitan Farmers and
according to its constitution, its purpose were "to improve the farm products, obtain better outlets for them, collect funds for their purchases and workers by establishing a store where in they can buy prime commodities at moderate prices.
Rizal's Inventive Ability
Rizal was also an inventor and to remember that in 1887 while practicing medicine in Calamba, he invented a cigarette lighter which he sent to Blumentritt and called it "sulpukan" made of wood and its mechanism is based on the
principle of compressed air.
In Dapitan, he i nvented a wooden machine for making bricks. This machine could manufacture about 6,000 bricks daily.
February, Doņa Teodora returned to Manila. During her long stay in Dapitan she saw how busy his talented son was and regretted that he had neglected the Muses. She requested him to write poetry again, a poem about his serene life as an exile in Dapitan and on October 22, 1895 he wrote "Mi Retiro" (My Retreat) which is acclaimed by
literary critics as one of the best ever penned by Rizal. It is as follows;
(The original version is in Spanish.)
By spreading beach where the sands are soft and fine
At the foot of the mouth in its mantle of green
I have built my hut in the pleasant grove's confine;
From the forest seeking peace and a calmness divine,
Rest for the weary brain and silence to my sorrow's keen.
Its roof of the frail palm-leaf and its floor the cane.
Its beams and posts of the unhewn wood;
Little there is of value in this hut so plain,
And better by far in the lap of the mount to have lain,
By the song and the murmur of the high seas flood.
A purling brook from the woodland glade
Drops down o'er the stones and around it sweeps,
Whence a fresh stream is drawn by the rough cane's aid;
That in the still night its murmur has made,
And in the day's heat a crystal fountain leaps.
When the sky is serene how gently it flows,
And its zither unseen ceaselessly plays;
But when the rains fall a torrent it goes
Boiling and foaming through the rocky close,
Roaring unchecked to the sea's wide ways.
The howl of the dog and the song of the bird,
And only the kalao,s hoarse call resound;
Nor is the voice of vain man to be heard;
My mind to harass or my steps to begird;
The woodlands alone and the sea wrap me round.
The sea, ah, the sea! for me it is all,
And it massively sweeps from the world's apart;
Its smile in the morn to my soul is a call,
And when in the evening my faith seems to pall,
It breathes with its sadness on echo to my heart.
night an arcanum; when translucent it glows,
All spangled over with its millions of lights,
And the bright sky above resplendent shows;
While the waves with their sighs tell of their woes -
Tales that are lost as they roll to the heights.
They tell of the world when the first dawn broke,
And the sunlight over their surface played;
When thousands of beings from the
To people the depths and the heights to cloak,
Wherever its life-giving kiss was laid.
But when in the night the wild winds awake,
And the waves in their fury begin to leap,
Through the air rush the cries that my mind shake;
Voices that pray, songs and
moans that partake
Of laments from the souls sunk down in the deep.
Then from their heights the mountains groan,
And the trees shiver tremulous from great unto least;
The groves rustle plaintive and the herds utter moan,
For they say that the ghost of the folk that are gone
Are calling them down to their death's merry feast.
In terror and confusion whispers the night,
While blue and green flames fit over the deep;
But calm reigns with the morning's light,
And soon the bold fisherman comes into sight,
And his bark rushes on and the waves sink to sleep.
So onward glide the days in my lonely abode;
Driven forth from the world where once I was known,
I muse o'er the fate upon me bestowed;
A fragrant forgotten that the moss will corrode,
To hide from mankind the world in me shown.
I live in thought of the loved ones left,
And of their names to my mind are borne;
Some have forsaken me and some by death are reft;
But now 'tis all one, as through the past I drift,
That past which from one never be torn.
For it is the friend that is with me always,
That ever in sorrow keeps the faith in my soul;
While through the still night it watches and prays,
As here in my exile in my one hut it stays
To strengthen my faith when doubts o'er me roll.
That faith I keep and I hope to see shine
The day when the Idea prevails over might;
When after the fray and death's show decline.
Some other voice sounds, far happier than mine,
To raise the glad of the triumph of right.
I see the sky glow, refulgent and clear,
As when it forced on me my first dear illusion;
I feel the same wind kiss my forehead sore,
And the fire is the same that is burning here
To stir up youth's blood in boiling confusion.
I breathe here the winds that perchance have pass's
O'er the fields and the rivers of my own natal shore;
And mayhap they will bring on the returning blast
The sighs that loved being upon them has cast -
Messages sweet from the love I first bore.
To see the same moon, all silver's as of yore.
I feel the sad thoughts within me arise;
The fond recollections of the troth we swore.
Of the field and the bower and the wide seashore,
The blushes of joy, with the silence and sighs.
A butterfly seeking the flowers and the light,
Of other lands dreaming of vaster extent;
Scarce a youth, from home and love I took flight,
To wander unheeding, free from doubt of affright -
So in foreign lands were my brightest days spent.
And when like a languishing bird I was fain
To the home of my fathers and my love to return,
Of a sudden the fierce tempest roar'd amain;
So I saw my wings shattered and no home remain,
My trust sold to others and wrecks round me burn.
Hurl'd out into exile from the land I adore,
My future all dark and no refuge to seek;
My roseate dreams hover, round me once more,
Sole treasure of all that life to me bore;
The faiths of youth that with sincerity speak.
But not as of old, full of life and of grace,
Do you hold out hopes of undying
Sadder I find you; on your lov'd face,
Though still sincere, the pale lines trace
The marks of the faith it is yours to guard.
You offer now, dreams, my gloom to appease,
And the years of my youth again to disclose;
So I thank you, O storm, and the heaven-born breeze,
That you knew of the hour my wild flight to ease,
To cast me back to the soil whence I rose.
By the spreading beach where the sands are soft and
At the foot of the mount in its mantle of green;
I have found a home in the [leasant grove's confine,
In the shady woods, that peace and calmness divine,
Rest for the weary brain and silence to my sorrow keen.
City Mayor Joseph Cerick O. Ruiz
Rizal and Josephine Bracken
In the silent house of the night after the days hard work, Rizal was often sad. He missed his family and relatives, his good friends in foreign
lands, the exhilarating life in the cities of Europe and his happy days in Calamba. The death of Leonora Rivera on August 28, 1893 left a poignant void in his heart. He needed somebody to cheer him up in his lonely exile.
In God's own time, Josephine Bracken an Irish girl of sweet eighteen, "slender, a chestnut blond, with blue eyes, dressed with elegant simplicity, with an atmosphere of light
gayety", born in Hong Kong on October 3,1876 of Irish parents James Bracken, a corporal in the British garrison, and Elizabeth Jane MacBride which died during her childbirth and so Josephine was an adopted daughter by Mr. George Taufer who later became blind.
No ophthalmic specialist in Hong Kong could cure Mr. Taufer's blindness and so Mr. Taufer and Josephine seek the services of the famous ophthalmic surgeon, Dr. Rizal.
They presented to Rizal a card of introduction by Julio Llorente, his friend and schoolmate.
Rizal and Josephine fell in love with each other at first sight. After a whirlwind romance of one month, they agree to marry but for Fr. Obach, priest of Dapitan, refused to
marry them without the permission of the Bishop of Cebu.
When Mr. Taufer heard of their projected marriage, he flared up in violent rage trying to commit suicide but Rizal prevented him from killing himself. To avoid tragedy, Josephine went away with Taufer to
Manila. The blind man went away uncured because his ailment was venereal in nature, hence, incurable.
Mr. Taufer returned alone in Hong Kong and Josephine stayed in Manila with Rizal's family. Later she returned to Dapitan and since no priest would marry them, they held hands
together and married themselves before the eyes of God. They lived as man and wife.
Rizal and Josephine lived happily in Dapitan and for him Dapitan was a heaven of bliss.
Rizal wrote a poem for Josephine which runs as follows:
Who to these shore 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.
In the early part of 1896 Rizal and Josephine was expecting a baby but unfortunately she prematurely gave birth to an eight month old baby boy who lived only for three hours. The lost son was named "Francisco" in honor of Don Fraancisco (the hero's father) and was buried in Dapitan.
Rizal and the Katipunan
While Rizal was mourning in the loss of his son, ominous clouds of revolution darkened the Philippine skies. Andres Bonifacio, the "Great
Plebeian," was showing the seeds of an armed uprising. The secret revolutionary society called Katipunan which he founded on July 7, 1892 was gaining more and more adherents.
Dr. Pio Valenzuela was the emissary to Dapitan to inform Rizal of the plan of the Katipunan to launch a revolution for freedom's sake. On June 15, Dr. Valenzuela together with a blind
man Raymundo Mata (to solicit Rizal's expert medical advice) left Manila on Board the Steamer Venus.
Dr. Valenzuela arrived in Dapitan on June 21, 1896 and he told Rizal of the Katipunan plan but Rizal objected to Bonifacio's project to plunge the country in bloody revolution for two reasons: (1) the
people are not ready for the revolution (2) arms and funds must be collected before raising the cry of the revolution.
Volunteers as Military Doctor in Cuba
Rizal offered his services as a military doctor in Cuba due to the throes of a revolution and the ranging yellow fever epidemic knowing from Blumentritt that there was a shortage of physicians to minister the needs
of the Spanish troops and the Cuban people.
Rizal wrote to Gov. General Ramon Blanco on Dec. 17, 1895 offering his services as a military doctor in Cuba. Months passed and a letter from Gov. Blanco arrived in Dapitan dated July 1,
1896 notifying him of the acceptance of his offer and at the same time to give Rizal a pass so that he could come to Manila where he would be given a safe-conduct to Spain and his medical opera- tions in Cuba.
Great was Rizal's joy in receiving the news from Malacanang that at last, he was free! once more to travel to Europe and then to Cuba. From this he wrote a heart-warming poem "El Canto del Viajero" (The Song of the Traveler) which runs as follows:
THE SONG OF THE TRAVELER
Like to a leaf that is fallen and withered,
Tossed from the tempest from pole unto pole;
Thus roams the pilgrims 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 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 wandering 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 will he find out snow and the ruins,
Ashes of love and the tomb of his friends.
Pilgrim, bygone! Nor return more hereafter,
Dry are the tears that a while for thee ran;
Pilgrim, bygone! And forget thane affliction
Loud laughs the world at the sorrows of man.
On July 31, 1896, Rival's four-year exile in Dapitan came to an end. At midnight of that date, he embarked on board the steamer Espaņa.
He was accompanied by Josephine, Narcisa, Angelica (Narcisa's daughter), his three nephews, and six pupils. Almost all Dapitan folks, young and old , were at the shore to bid him goodbye. Many wept especially the other pupils who were poor to accompany their beloved teacher to
Manila. As farewell music, the town brass band strangely played the dolorous Funeral March of Chapin.
As the steamer pushed out into the sea, Rizal gazed for the last time on Dapitan waving in farewell salute to its kind and hospitable folks and with a crying heart filled with tears of nostalgic memories. When he could
no longer see the dim shoreline , he sadly went to his cabin and wrote in his diary: "I have been in that district four years, thirteen days, and a few hours".
"I have always loved my poor country, and I am sure that I shall love her until death, if by chance men are unjust to me; and I shall enjoy the happy life, contented in the thought that all I have
suffered, my past, my present and my future, my life, my loves, my pleasures, I have sacrificed all of these for love of her. Happen what may, I shall die blessing her and desiring the dawn of her redemption."
"Not only is Rizal the most famous man of his own people, but the greatest man the Malayan race has produced."
"Dr. Jose Rizal was an exceptional man, unsurpassed by other Filipino heroes in talent, nobility of character and patriotism. His exile in Dapitan possesses a keen sense of history and an aura of destiny. He himself kept and preserved his numerous poetical and prose writings personal and travel diaries, scientific treatises and hundred of letters written to, and received from, his parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, friends and enemies. Indeed, Rizal was a man of excellence, discipline and disposition........."