Philippine Embassy officials, special guests and Filipino community leaders in Chile unveil the country’s 2nd Dr. Jose Rizal Monument.

(Santiago, 18 June 2022) The Philippine Embassy completed the landmark unveiling of the second Dr. Jose Rizal Monument in Chile on 18 June 2022, a day before the 161st birth anniversary of the Philippine national hero on June 19.  The inauguration was held on the grounds of the Philippine Chancery in Las Condes alongside Filipino community leaders, Professor Raul Thoms - a member of the Chilean academe, Ms. Merlinda Echon - a devout Rizalista, and Rev. Father Riyyan Chaves Mendoza - the Filipino Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., of the Apostolic Nunciature in Santiago.

The 25-kilogram bronze sculpture is one of two busts handsomely sculpted by Czech national Mr. Libor Piszlac and thereafter donated by German-Filipino national Hans Schoof to the former Philippine Honorary Consulate General in Peru.  The first bust remains atop another Rizal monument in Lima’s La Molina district. The said monument was inaugurated by no less than former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the sidelines of APEC-Lima 2008 as a part of a lasting memorial initiated by former Philippine Honorary Consul General and former Peruvian Vice President Raul Canseco Terry.

During his official remarks, Philippine Chargé d’Affaires, a.i, Jim Tito B. San Agustin underscored the value and importance of having a permanent Rizal monument on Embassy grounds—the first since the Embassy’s establishment in 1983.  He also recalled the long and fortuitous journey of the second Rizal bust to its now permanent home in Chile which took many years, several key personalities, and no less than four countries and three continents to complete. He made mention of the Philippines as the birthplace of the national hero, Czech Republic as its origin, Peru its former home, and finally Chile where it now permanently graces the front garden of the Philippine Chancery.

Professor Raul Thoms spoke about Rizal’s celebrated history from his humble beginnings in Calamba to his untimely death in Bagumbayan which galvanized Filipino revolutionaries and other heroic figures in pursuit of lasting independence. Through his unique lens as a part of the Chilean academe, he emphasized how Rizal’s cross-continental influence and writings continue to transcend national boundaries from Southeast Asia all the way to South America.

Ms. Merlinda Echon narrated how Rizal’s lifelong examples continue to inspire her and her co-Rizalistas in aspiring to be better Filipinos and representations of Philippine values, tradition and faith.

Following the official toast to conclude the ceremony, the Philippine Embassy’s very own Ms. Josefina Abenoja serenated attendees with her distinct song rendition of Rizal’s Canto Patriotico de Maria Clara and the Filipino classic, Gaano Kita Kamahal. The morning event ended with plentiful servings of Filipino breakfast favorites.

The Philippine Embassy’s Rizal bust was personally escorted from Lima to Santiago by Finance Officer Vanessa Arevalo, the overall design of the monument was conceptualized by Cultural Officer Jeffry Aranda, while the marble base wherein it stands was carefully crafted by Embassy local-hire Mr. Pedro Cornejo.

This is the second Rizal monument in Chile. The first Rizal monument in the country was inaugurated by former Philippine Ambassador Rodolfo Arizala at the Plaza Filipinas also in Las Condes back in 1989.  Since then, the said monument has served as the traditional commemoration site for the national hero’s death anniversary every 30 December. END