July 28, 1909, Forbes endorsed the reconstruction of Rizal’s house in Dapitan.
On July 28, 1909, Governor-General William Cameron Forbes endorsed the reconstruction of Rizal’s house in Dapitan, site of the hero’s exile, thus, Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte became a major historical landmark where the Rizal Shrine is located.
Part or one of the houses is called The Casa Residencia. It is the rectangular main house of Rizal and the biggest structure in the place, was where Jose and Josephine Bracken lived as husband and wife. Jose’s mother and sisters also stayed here during their visits. To the left of the main house is the Cocina (outdoor kitchen).
For four years (1892-1896), Rizal kept himself busy with various pursuits and occupations: as an educator, doctor, farmer, artist, architect and engineer, entrepreneur, archaeologist, and naturalist.
With the Dapitanons’ welfare in mind, Rizal cultivated a 34-hectare farm in Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte, some 38 kilometers south of Talisay, Dapitan where the museum in his honor stands today. Rizal also put up a school and dormitory for boys in Talisay as well as a clinic where he treated ailments and performed eye surgery. With engineering and architectural skills, he built a dam and waterworks in Talisay and set up the town plaza of Dapitan with street lighting.
Rizal’s scientific mind spurred him to conduct archaeological excavations uncovering pre-colonial artifacts; as a naturalist, he collected biological and botanical specimens, a few of which were named after him; and as a linguist, he studied Visayan and Malayan languages. Rizal continued his literary pursuits while in exile, writing poetry such as Mi Retiro, which described his place of exile as a tranquil haven from political persecution, and the song, Himno a Talisay, for his pupils, which paid tribute to individual excellence and holistic education. Rizal also created sculptures from clay such as Oyang Dapitanaand Mother’s Revenge.
It was also in Talisay where Rizal met and fell in love with Josephine Bracken, whose adoptive father Rizal had treated as a patient in Dapitan. Rizal wrote a poem to Josephine, A Josefina, and asked his family to accept her as one of their own. Jose and Josephine lived as husband and wife in the casa residencia, where family members stayed during their visits.
Dr. Jose Rizal lived for four years in Dapitan as an exile from July 17, 1892 to July 31, 1896.
The Rizal Shrine is approximately two kilometers from the Dapitan City Hall. Its land area has been restored to its original size of 16 hectares with the reclamation of 10,974 square meters.
Different shrines may be found in this site, including Rizal’s residence, pupils’ quarter, chicken house, clinics, a water reservoir, a natural heart shaped rock used to scribble verses of Rizal’s poems, amphitheater, and a concrete building which houses Rizaliana books, periodicals and other historical exhibits.
When Dr. Rizal reached Dapitan as a prisoner in July, 1892, he found it a sleepy little town but soon it blossomed with activity and progress. Together with his friend Father Francisco Sanchez, he helped remake the plaza which he jokingly said, “must rival the best in Europe”.
The improvement was made even possible when Rizal won a lottery ticket worth P6,000, a relatively huge amount during that time, all of which he spent in his Dapitan enclave and an additional 16 hectares of land.
On Rizal’s exile to Dapitan, click The Deportation of Dr. Jose Rizal to Dapitan.