Jose Rizal had many different facets before he became known as our National Hero he was a son, a brother, a teacher and so much more. I don’t think he ever thought of himself as a role model. He just wanted to make a difference and he did.
“Today’s generation are obsessed with themselves, updating whatever they’re doing on Facebook and Twitter, not caring about what’s happening to our country right now. The situation then and now may be different, but Rizal’s political writings are still applicable to today’s situation.
They wanted a pacifist over the revolutionary Bonifacio. Nevertheless, Rizal is still worth emulating. We just need to recognize his limitations. Otherwise, we will be doing our own history a disservice. Rizal is still relevant. We should study how he was a product of his history and society. How relevant he was then relates to how relevant he is now. His literary masterpieces still ring true even if they were written under colonial rule.
Having said that I was glad to have been invited to witness the unveiling of World-renowned artist Gregory Pototsky’s new tribute for Jose Rizal. He has named his new sculpture, “flight to eternity.” But it’s official name was dubbed “Rizal: Empowering the Youth,” which was unveiled Saturday amid pouring rain in heart of University Town, Daang Reyna in the Las Piñas-Cavite area.
The bronze statue, roughly five feet tall, depicts a never-before-seen likeness of the Philippine national hero. Russian Pototsky, who has erected 65 monuments in 45 countries, portrays a “boy Jose Rizal,” with outstretched arms, hands directed to the sky. The sculpted detail shows him wearing colonial period clothes.
Also, this new statue is literally on its toes, as if the young Rizal is levitating. “If you look closely at my monument,” Pototsky said through a translator, “It’s really fly (flying).” According to the Leonardo da Vinci-esque Pototsky, Rizal’s striking Flight to Eternity pose shows the entire Philippines “spreading its wings, and flying to the future.”
“This is the flight to freedom, flight to eternity, and fight of the youth,” he said, apparently aware of our national hero’s firm association and high hopes for the country’s future generations. The unveiling of the statue, which took a year to finish, came just six days after Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary.
“I wanted to create a new symbol of the Philippines. Hopefully, my new monument would be your new cultural symbol,” he told a crowd of 300 people who gathered at the nearby Fernbrook Gardens after the homage to Rizal had been revealed.
Conversely, his extolling of Rizal further cements the latter’s international appeal, making him sort of the Philippines’ business card to the world.
And rightfully so. Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev, who was also there Saturday to honor the Filipino genius and polymath, said that Rizal serves as an “inspiration not only to Filipinos but to everyone who know his work.”
Rizal’s work, including his two famous novels, poems, essays and other writings currently number over half a million published items in Russia, Kudashev bared. Meanwhile, Pototsky added: “I respect the Filipino people so much for their attitude toward their poet (Rizal). For you, Jose Rizal is more than everything.”
For the Villar Foundation – managed by former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar and proponent of the sprawling he sprawling University Town, boasting top-caliber schools, will take shape in Daang Reyna in Las Piñas City and Cavite. Thus, it will cater to South Manila-based families looking for accessible and affordable education in the area.
“Access to education is important in developing the youth into becoming responsible, responsive, pro-active, and morally upright members of the society—a key mission of the foundation,” said Cynthia A. Villar, Managing Director of the Villar Foundation.
Like Jose Rizal, we believe that the youth is the hope of a nation, so we should invest in their future. This is the reason also why we deem it fitting to have the sculpture of our national hero to be an important landmark of University Town. It will serve as a symbol of hope and inspiration for the students,” said Senator Manny Villar, Foundation chairman.
Envisioned to have six top-caliber schools and universities in a nature-themed enclave, University Town “will produce future generations of leaders, entrepreneurs, professionals and decision makers,” added Villar. “It is a place where learning and development will thrive. Students from diverse backgrounds can come together in an academic community where ideas and visions will turn into realities.”
“The University Town will produce future generations of leaders, entrepreneurs, professionals and decision-makers. It is a place where learning and development will thrive. Students from diverse backgrounds can come together in an academic community where ideas and visions will turn into realities,” added the senator.
Besides the University Town, the Villar Foundation’s other advocacies for the youth and students include Sagip Bukas (Save the Future), a school-based anti drug abuse campaign; the Villar Excellence Award for academic excellence, and sports events such as billiard tournament ‘Villards Cup’ and ‘Sports sa Barangay’.