Pinoy historian creates Rizal Tour in Madrid

Posted at 11/24/2012 8:26 AM | Updated as of 11/24/2012 9:51 PM

MADRID, Spain - Pinoy historian Jaime Marco created a walking tour around the city of Madrid that traces the footsteps of Rizal during his life in Spain.

Mr. Marco is a long time family friend who graciously welcomed me to a personalized Rizal tour during my visit to the Spanish city.

Jaime Marco

The Passionate Historian

"I arrived exactly 100 years after Rizal arrived in Madrid in 1882... I feel a strong bond between me and Rizal," explained Marco.

Jaime Marco is a passionate Rizal historian. He arrived in Madrid in 1982 to teach English and live on his own terms.

He created his own private English tutorial with an office located in an area known in the 1800s as Barrio delas Letras --- the place where artists, writers, academics and Bohemians of the enlightenment era in the late 1800s used to live.

"Being in such a historical area moved me to find out more about the places that Rizal mentioned in his letters and diaries," added Marco who happens to also be the co-founder of www.filipiniana.net, a website about Philippine History focusing on translations of historical texts in foreign languages.

JP Tanchanco and Jaime Marco

Creating the Rizal Tour

Marco started looking into the manuscripts, letters and diaries of Rizal thoroughly and went to the Madrid archive to research their whereabouts.

"I searched around to look for the houses and places he mentioned in his letters and got fascinated to find a lot of them still existing."

Then, in 1987, during the 100th anniversary of Noli Me Tangere, he thought of creating a private Rizal walking tour of the places he discovered.

John Gaddi , JP Tanchanco, Brian Tanchanco, Jaime Marco and Sonny Tanchanco enjoying coffee and conversations at Viva Madrid, the exact corner of Rizal in the historical cafe bar that has been open since 1856.

Enjoyed by the VIPs

After the 100th celebration of Noli Me Tangere, Mr. Marco started to reach out to Pinoys by doing private tours of the places he discovered. He has since been giving tours to special dignitaries and VIP friends.

Among the VIPs who've experienced his walking tour are the late President Cory Aquino; Senator Franklin Drilon; Penelope Flores, who was the great granddaughter of Maximo Viola, the financier of Noli Me Tangere; diplomats, and many others.

His service was graciously rewarded and supported by the Philippine embassy when they created an educational guide that would map out the historical Rizal places that Marco plotted.

In 1998, during the centennial of Philippine independence, Marco successfully worked on getting heritage plaques placed in the historical Rizal spots that he mapped out.

A Rizal Inspired Dream

"I'd like Pinoys to get to know Rizal like I got to know him...I don't want Pinoys to know him as someone unreachable but someone who's just like you and me...Because we all have the best qualities of Rizal within us," explained Marco.

Today, anyone in Madrid can visit the historical and inspirational Rizal places that were mapped out by Marco.

Anyone interested to know more about the places can request for information materials from the Philippine embassy in Madrid or email Marco himself thru [email protected].

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John Paul C.Tanchanco is a travel, food, party, film and music aficionado. He is also an economist, businessman, MYX/Awit award-winning media producer and Kala guitarist.

"Tha Good Life" is a special feature for ABS-CBNnews.com about pop culture, travel, music, entertainment, business, food, clubbing, shopping and events.

For questions, features and comments, e-mail him at [email protected] [email protected]