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Philippine Gothic Series Part I: Jose Rizal, El Difunto (The Dead)


Jose Rizal’s dark forebodings of impending doom were revealed in a letter to Ferdinand Blumentritt, the Austrian scholar and a good friend of Rizal. “I have to return to the Philipines…I have to give the example not to fear death, however terrible it is. It is better to die than to live miserably!”

As if to complete the desolation of Rizal’s death, no one from his family was present at the execution. His remains were buried in a secret grave at Paco cemetery. On the back flyleaf of the Paco church register, he was listed as a suicide. For a time his name was never mentioned by his countrymen. He was merely referred to as El Difunto (The Dead).

Image: Rizal’s Mother Mourning Over The Remains Of Her Great Son

The hero’s remains were disintered in August, 1898 and placed in an urn designed by Romualdo Teodoro de Jesus, a famous sculptor of the time. The urn was made of kamagong, molave, cypress wood, andalwood, and ivory. On December 30, 1898, the urn was taken in solemn procession from the sculptor’s workshop in Sta. Cruz to the Club Popular in Trozo, Manila, where the hero’s remains were first exposed for public veneration.

Renacimiento Filipino. December 28, 1910. p.9
Philippine Free Press 1953, December 26, 1953, p.32

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