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21/06/2011: Philippine Embassy Holds Forum in Commemoration of Rizal Sesquicentennial

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. delivers the opening remarks during the forum on the 150th birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal held at the Embassy of the Philippines on 16 June 2011.

21 June 2011, Washington, DC – The Embassy of the Philippines in Washington, DC in cooperation with the Philippine Arts, Letters and Media Council (PALM) hosted a forum in commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal on 16 June 2011.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. welcomed the guests to the forum which featured distinguished speakers namely, Ms. Bernardita Churchill, PhD, retired University of the Philippines professor and President of the Philippine National Historical Society; Ms. Anna Bantug-Herrera, The Asia Foundation Assistant Director and great-great grandniece of Rizal; and, Ramon Paterno, Esq., retired International Finance Corporation Senior Counsel and founder, Rizal Day and Youth Awards Committee.

Professor Bernardita Churchill, PhD speaks on the life and legacy of national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal. Professor Churchill is in the Executive Committee of the Rizal Sesquicentennial. She is scheduled to return to the Philippines later this month to speak at several conferences around the country also in commemoration of Rizal sesquicentennial.

The remarks of Dr. Churchill, The Vision of Rizal, the First Filipino, gave a historical perspective of Rizal’s actions and gave emphasis on Rizal’s call not only for changes in the Spanish rule but also for changes in the Filipino social mindset.

Ms. Anna Bantug-Herrera made a presentation on how her family, as descendants of Rizal, continues to honor the legacy of their family’s “most illustrious member”.

Ms. Herrera, a direct descendant of Narcisa Rizal, shared photos of Rizal family mementos including a business card used by Rizal while practicing medicine in Hong Kong and the tampipi that served as cover for the smuggled copy of the novel Noli Me Tangere. She closed by saying that she will continue rizalizing the future.

Ramon Paterno, Esq. (right) addresses the first question raised by former US Consul General to Kuwait and Ethiopia Santiago Busa (left). Atty. Paterno holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from the Ateneo de Manila University, alma mater of Rizal.

Atty. Paterno shared his passion on learning about Rizal. He discussed Rizal as a Renaissance man and as the first nationalist and why Rizal is named as the country’s national hero.

After the presentations, the audience were given a chance to engage the speakers in an open forum. Among those who attended were Filipino-American University students, Filipino teachers, Fulbright scholar in the Philippines and other DC-based Rizal descendants.

The guests were also invited to an exhibit on Rizal at the Asian Reading Room of the Library of Congress. The display, which is open on Saturday, will run until Monday, 27 June. -- END