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Sep 29th
Home Sections Rizal, a Fashionista, Loves to Play Yo-yo
Rizal, a Fashionista, Loves to Play Yo-yo PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 14 July 2011 12:21



(© 2011 Journal Group Link International)


C HICAGO (jGLi)– During his travels outside the Philippines, national hero Jose Rizal was observed to be wearing expensive garbs and had checked in at high-end hotels. But wherever he went, Rizal always had in his pocket the Filipino toy, yo-yo.


Dr. Virgilio R. Pilapil, founder and commander of the Lincolnland Chapter of the Order of the Knights of Rizal, discussed last Thursday (July 7) Rizal’s travels in the United States after Rizal was advised by Governor-General Emilio Terrero to leave the Philippines because his book, Noli Me Tangere, was ‘heretical, impious and scandalous to the religious orders and injurious to the government and to the political order in the Philippines.”


Dr. Pilapil, a pediatrician by profession based in Illinois’ capital of Springfield, said, “While aboard the (SS) City of Rome, Rizal had a surprise. He had a yo-yo in his pocket … I have no doubt Rizal impressed his audience in the ship. But this episode tells us even more about Rizal. He has humility. He is secure about himself. He has to be.

“Can you imagine a 27-year-old physician playing yo-yo before a likely group of senior citizens, professionals and the rich? And he has to be also proud of his culture to be able to try to educate people with the basic toy of Filipino children. And he must have planned for him to have a yo-yo in his pocket. He intended to have fun and he was good enough to share it with many. And that I think is the reason people liked him. He behaves with pride for who he is.”




Dr. Pilapil’s lecture of Rizal was part of a continuing series of events marking the 150th birth anniversary this year of the Philippine national hero at Instituto Cervantes of Chicago at 31 West Ohio St., Chicago, Illinois.


The Instituto Cervantes of Chicago is a public not-for-profit institution founded by the Government of Spain in 1991 to promote Spanish language teaching and knowledge of the cultures of Spanish speaking countries throughout the world. It is now the largest international Spanish teaching organization, and has more than 70 centers in 4 continents. It was named after Miguel de Cervantes, author of the literary classic, Don Quixote.


Rizal’s original novels, Noli Me Tangere, and El Filibusterismo, were both written in Spanish before being translated into numerous languages.


The lecture on “Rizal’s Travel to the U.S.A.: What’s the Big Deal” by Dr. Pilapil was co-sponsored by the Filipino American National Historical Society of the Midwest and the Philippine Consulate.


The event also featured an exhibit of Fran Alayu’s Collection of Filipinos in Chicago celebrating Rizal Day and the works of Filipino artist Fred de Asis on ancient Filipino Art, Kut-Kut and Baybayin, from July 7 to 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Instituto Cervantes.


Pilapil’s presentation was witnessed by Consuls General of United Kingdom, Robert C. Dickson, who is married to a U.S.-born Filipina, Teresa Albor; of Switzerland, Martin Bienz and his wife, Dissiree; and of Poland Zygmunt Matynia and his wife, Bozena; and Deputy Consul General of Japan, Hironori Sawada.




T hey were invited to the event by Philippine Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim of the Midwest in Chicago, who also donated the two original manuscripts of Rizal’s two books, Noli and Fili, to Instituto Cervantes of Chicago thru its cultural activities coordinator, Teresa Hernando Rojo.


Dr. Pilapil said in his travels, Rizal “stayed in first class hotel and had lots of money to show that Filipino is equal to Europeans. In those travels, he always played yo-yo before high-ranking people, telling them that Filipinos have their own unique culture.”


On February 3, 1888, Rizal left Manila for Europe via Hongkong, Japan, the United States and England. He left Japan on February 28, 1888, aboard the SS Belgic. He arrived in San Francisco on April 18, 1888, lodged at the Palace Hotel and then took a transcontinental train to the U.S. East Coast via Chicago and the Niagara Falls in Lake Ontario. He stayed at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York for a while and sailed to England aboard the SS City of Rome, arriving in Liverpool, England on May 24, 1888.


On Thursday, July 14, an international book launch of “Remembering Rizal: Voices of the Diaspora” will also be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. also at Instituto Cervantes of Chicago. The book is a collection of writings and artworks about Rizal from contributors from all over the U.S. and other countries. # # #


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