By Karen Flores, abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Who would have thought that the place where Jose Rizal was imprisoned before getting executed in 1896 will serve as a venue for his birthday party 115 years later?
Fort Santiago, a ruined old Spanish fort in the walled city of Intramuros in Manila, will be turned into a party venue on June 19 for “Maligayang Bati, Jose Rizal!” (literally “Happy Birthday, Jose Rizal!” in Filipino), part of a year-long tribute to the country’s national hero.
The event will feature kalesas (horse-driven carriages), live musical performances, food and wine, and a “Turn of the Century” photo booth, among others.
It will be open to the public for a fee (P100 for adults and P50 for children ages 12 and below), but those who will come in their favorite Rizal costumes can enter for free.
“It’s a birthday party of sorts [for Rizal]. Gates open at 6 p.m.,” said Lisa Bayot, the great granddaughter of Saturnina, Rizal’s eldest sister.
Bayot is spearheading the My Rizal 150 project, aimed at raising awareness about the country’s national hero.
“Bring food, wine, your banig (handwoven mat), anything you want to bring.”
Maite Gallego, a relative of Rizal’s contemporaries Maximo Viola and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, for her part said, “Our mission is for every Filipino to know Rizal…to have a deeper understanding of Rizal and to discover the Rizal in each of us.”
“Maligayang Bati, Jose Rizal!” is only one of the many events lined up in celebration of the national hero’s 150th birth anniversary.
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