Jose Rizal’s 123rd anniversary trends on social media, many Filipinos still touched by his life

Jose Rizal 123rd Anniversary
December 30, 2019, marked the 123rd Death Anniversary of José P. Rizal. Photo courtesy of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

More than a century ago he sacrificed his life to free the country from foreign tyrants and abusers. He is considered one of the greatest heroes of the Philippines. He is Dr. José P. Rizal.

At age 35, Dr. José Rizal was executed on December 30, 1896, in Bagumbayan, now known as the Rizal Park in Luneta. He was charged with being subversive, a member-leader in the Philippine revolution against the Spanish colonial government.

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Rizal was a leading voice for reform in his homeland and wrote the Noli Me Tángere (Touch Me Not) and El Filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed), books which described and tackled the lack of justice under Spanish rule in the Philippines. His books served as the eye-opener about the realities in Philippine society and inspired the revolution that was started by Andres Bonifacio’s Katipunan.

Rizal, an author of numerous essays and poems and known to be a Filipino Polymath, also released a translation of Antonio De Morga’s 1609 Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas which highlighted the achievements of Filipino society prior to Spanish colonization.

José Rizal lived a short life but his legacy lived on beyond his times.

More than a century after his death, Rizal is still very much relevant to present-day Filipinos as evidenced by his name trending on social media on the 123rd Anniversary of his death.

On December 30, 2019, Rizal, Dr. Jose Rizal, Rizal Day, and a number of variations were tweeted thousands of times, leading to the hero’s name being placed on the Most Tweeted list as netizens posted messages, historical notes, photos, and salutes to the brave young hero.

“More than a century ago, a great man sacrificed his life to free his countrymen from the shackles of abuse and colonialism. Dr. Jose Rizal, the patriot hailed as our country’s national hero. May this day be a meaningful commemoration to us!” wrote @kylie_garibay.

The Department of Education echoed Dr. Rizal’s words about the youth to come out with an engaging tweet that asked netizens to recall memorable quotes. “Dr. Jose Rizal: The youth is the hope of our future. Your class president: ______________ Share with us the best and most memorable quote from your class president.

Leading online news sites gave their salute and messages. @PhilippineStar tweeted photos of a man dressed as Rizal at the Rizal Monument and traveling in Manila with the caption: “Today, the entire country commemorates the 123rd anniversary of the martyrdom of our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal”.

@kuyaaisko quoted the hero and called on his fellow youth to take heed.
“Where are the youth who will consecrate their golden hours, their illusions, and their enthusiasm to the welfare of their native land?”
— Jose Rizal. What could be the best way to commemorate Rizal’s heroism is to always try to heed and answer his call…

Notably, there was also some confusion on social media as to whether it was a death or birth anniversary that was being remembered on December 30, with people sending birthday greetings. They were called out for their mistakes and asked to do more research. Rizal was born on June 19, 1861, in Calamba, Laguna.

On the whole, Jose Rizal’s death anniversary was noisily marked on social media, and we dare say he would have been tickled pink by the exchanges.

In 2019, stage versions of both major novels by Jose Rizal were performed, with Noli The Opera held at the CCP and El Filibusterismo staged by Gantimpala.

CHECK OUT activities at Calamba’s Jose Rizal Museum and how Filipinos have created their own Luneta Park with a Jose Rizal statue in Canada.

If Jose Rizal were still alive what do you think he would tweet?

SEND us your guesses in the comments below as we remember Jose Rizal’s sacrifice for the Philippines!

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Blesilda Dela Cruz is a undergraduate student taking up AB Communication at De La Salle University – Dasmariñas. An Efficient, Hard-working, Committed, and Goal-oriented person towards the goal and development of the company. A reliable team member who knows how to collaborate well. Has a passion in story-telling and acting.