Tour Madrid thru Jose Rizal's footsteps

Posted at 11/24/2012 10:07 AM | Updated as of 11/26/2012 11:26 AM

MADRID, Spain - Have you ever wondered where our national hero Jose Rizal stayed and studied in Madrid? What did he do and where did he go?

Here are the places that I was able to visit with Pinoy historian Jaime Marco, who was responsible for mapping them out.

Reyna Sofia Museum of Modern Art

Reyna Sofia Museum used to be Hospital de San Carlos (University Hospital). This was where Rizal practiced medicine and did his 2-year internship.

"I think Rizal came to Madrid because he saw that they were treating the students in UST differently from the mesitizos...When he protested against the treatment he saw, the dean, Bernardino Nozaleda--who also happened to be the last archbishop of Manila--told Rizal that he would not pass him ever," Marco explained while we were scouting the place.

Colegio de Medicos de Madrid

We visited the place where Rizal studied medicine for 3 years just beside the Sofia Museum. It has now been converted to the medical board building called Colegio de Medicos de Madrid.

We were welcomed by the office staff to enter the building.

Inside the building is a beautiful auditorium that was built in 1744. The auditorium has a heritage plaque in the entrance that was one of the plaques that Marco had worked to be put up. According to Marco, the auditorium was where Jose Rizal attended important seminars.

Then we proceeded to another room in the building where Rizal's Anatomy classes were done. The small amphitheater was mentioned in Rizal's diary frequently because of the special classes that were done there such as dissecting and studying cadavers, etc.

Apartment 13 Calle Amor de Dios

Next stop was Calle Amor de Dios number 13. This place was the first apartment house that Rizal stayed in while he was studying medicine.

Aseguerada de Incendios 43

Then we walked a few blocks and reached Number 43 Aseguerada de Incendios. This was the famous building the Ilustrados used to register La Solidaridad. They used to have their meetings here. The house today is a hostel. I was amazed to find out that the hostel is still using the same stairs that the Ilustrados walked on.

Luna's Apartment

Then we walked towards Nunez de Arce, the street of Luna's apartment in the third floor, the place where he painted the Spolarium.

Teatro Español

Marco then led us to walk towards Teatro Español which was a few steps away and still running as an active theater.

"Rizal used to watch plays such as Calderon Dela Barca Lope de Vega...I saw the expenses on his tickets...He would usually sit at the very end of the theater and get the cheapest tickets," explained Marco.

Viva Madrid

A few meters from the theater is a place named Viva Madrid. I was surprised to find out that this cafe bar has been open since 1856. Viva Madrid was the coffee shop that Rizal and Lopez Jaena frequented during circa 1882 to discuss the articles that they were to release in La Solidaridad. Marco was able to have a heritage plaque placed there. He even knew the exact corner where Rizal used to sit.

Rizal's Second Apartment

A few steps away from the cafe is a second apartment that Rizal stayed in with his friends.

Rizal's Apartment where he started Noli Me Tangere

Then Marco pointed us to an apartment where Rizal started writing the Noli Me Tangere, after visiting Prado Museum and seeing a Noli Me Tangere painting of Mary Magedalene by Antonio Allegri Corregio.

"Noli Me Tangere painting of Mary Magdalene inspired Rizal when he found out that it was a painting used to reveal a Church-based propaganda against Mary Magdalene ...Pope Innocence III during the 3rd century compiled the Bible and concealed the real identity of Mary Magdalene to transfer power to hands of men...The Church believed that it would glorify the divine nature of Jesus Christ if they hid the fact that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had kids," Marco explained passionately.

The Famous Hotel Ingles

We also passed by the historical Hotel Ingles. This is a very famous place that is in all history books. It is where the Ilustrados organized a banquet in honor of Luna and Hidalgo. This was the same banquet where Rizal spoke about Luna and Hidalgo as being great examples to the Filipino people.

Universidad Central de Madrid

Then we walked to a different area which is home to the University Central de Madrid, where Rizal studied philosophy.

The Paterno House

A few blocks away from the University is the popular Paterno House. This home of Pedro Paterno was where the Ilustrados had posh parties such as Venetian-themed dinner parties.

Teatro Infanta Isabel

Right beside the Paterno house is a theater where Rizal used to watch theater shows.

Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando

Then lastly, we walked to the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. This is the famous art university of Luna and Hidalgo. Famous masters such as Salvador Dali and Goya studied and taught in this historical university that has now been converted into a museum.

A DIY tour

I think Madrid visitors would have an easy time touring these places.

Everyone 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 http://www.philembassymadrid.com or email Marco himself at [email protected].

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]