Jose Protacio Rizal: The Genius

En route to the Memorial 1945: Battle of Manila 70th Anniversary Walking Tour with BFF Patintera last February 28, we got sidetracked and ended up at the Fort Santiago with her family.

patintera and familly at fort santiago

Patintera and family at Fort Santiago

The wind was cool and the sun was kind and the kids were happy to be strolling outdoors. Fort Santiago has changed quite a bit since the last time I was there. Some of the walls have succumbed to the elements but it was good to see that most of the historic fortress remain well maintained.

fort santiago

Fort Santiago or Moog ng Santiago

The most interesting feature of Fort Santiago is, of course, Dr. Jose Protacio Rizal. He was mostly revered for his heroism but what strikes me most about him is his genius. There seemed to be no limit to what he was capable of achieving. He was a remarkable linguist.

A gifted novelist:

noli me tangere

A replica of the Noli Me Tangere manuscript is showcased at the Fort Santiago

el filibusterismo

El Filibusterismo or the Reign of Greed

A poet:

rizal's poetry

When Rizal was executed, the Spaniards refused to mark his grave. When his family found it, they marked it with RPJ, Rizal’s initials in reverse.

A scientist:

draco rizali

Genius Rizal discovered this specie of lizards during his exile in Dapitan. It’s called Draco Rizali.

A physician:

rizal's diplomas

When Rizal’s mother fell ill and nearly lost her vision, Rizal – genius that he was – studied opthalmology and performed surgery on her.

A sculptor:

rizal's sculpture of woman standing on skull

Rizal, with his prolific genius at learning, was also a sculptor.

And, rather surprisingly, an architect:

rizal's architecture

Rizal, the polymath, designed this building

I may not look up to Rizal as a hero, simply due to his lack of written work in Filipino, but I sure am impressed with his genius. Much like Da Vinci, Rizal stretched his mind to limits that made impossible impossible.

sunset at fort santiago

As for a nature-lover like me, the best exhibit laid outside the walls.

Makes you wonder, in this age of specialization, where have all the polymaths gone?


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