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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Before you proceed any further, Know your past!

Today, June 19, is the 147th birth anniversary of Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal. Recently, I've started reading Rizal. I also found out that Malaysian opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, is an avid reader of Rizal's work. If a foreigner has taken so much interest in our national hero, shouldn't we Filipinos show more interest in our national hero and our history?

This goes to my next point, let's say you have mustered enough spirit to read Rizaliana. Where do you go from here?

The good news is that an enterprising publisher, Gaspar Vibal of Vibal Foundation has decided to digitize and make available for free his vast collection of Rizaliana that he has collected over the years. In addition, he has also placed entire books on the Philippines up on his website, Filipiniana.net.

The site is a wet dream for Philippine Studies enthusiasts. In fact its tag line is "Philippine Studies at your fingertips." Most of these books and documents available on the site are rare and perhaps unique. What would have been books bought and kept in private collections for the pleasure of a few people are now available to all who care to click and read. What is significant is that this allows Filipinos all over the world to know a little more about our country's history.

Currently, featured on the site is the unfinished novel of Rizal, Makamisa which has the following description:

The Makamisa is the unfinished novel of Dr. Jose Rizal written in the Tagalog language. It starts with a mass supervised by Fr. Agaton in the small town of Tulig where the rest of the story focuses. Among the characters named in the novel are Capitan Lucas, Marcela, Capitan Tibo, Don Segundo, Teniente Tato and Aleng Anday. Unlike Rizal's Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, the Makamisa was written in a rather comical way.

So visit the site, read, and know your history.

Caption on the picture: Dr. Jose Rizal (a student in Manila) 1879
Source: http://hawaii.indymedia.org/uploads/2005/12/rizal.jpg


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