MANILA, Philippines -- December 30, 2012 marks not only the death anniversary of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal but also the 100th year since his remains were transferred to its current location in the Luneta Park.
To highlight the ceremony for Sunday's celebration organized by the Order of the Knights of Rizal, there will be a re-enactment of the transfer of Rizal's urn from Binondo to Luneta.
Assembly will start at 4 a.m. in the Basilica Minor of San Lorenzo Ruiz, right outside the former house of Rizal's sister Narcisa.
At 5 a.m., the Knights of Rizal, along with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), will start marching toward the old “Ayuntamiento," near where the Palacio del Gobernador now stands.
They will then proceed to Luneta where President Benigno Aquino is expected to spearhead the symbolic burying of the urn to the base of the Rizal National Monument.
The program will also include flag-raising, 21-gun salute and wreath-laying rites.
Knights of Rizal Supreme Commander Reghis Romero said they wanted to once again give the national hero a proper burial, as he was initially not given a decent burial after his execution on December 30, 1896.
It was only on December 30, 1912 that his urn was transferred to Luneta facilitated by the newly formed “Caballeros De Rizal” (Order of the Knights of Rizal), the Masonic Lodge of the Philippines, and Rizal's family.
"We wanted to reenact the heroic feelings of the people who participated in the procession for the formal or decent burial of Rizal," he said.
"Remember, Rizal was not immediately given a decent burial. In fact, his remains stayed for a long time at the Paco cemetery. His body was only dumped without a coffin," Romero added.
Bryan Anthony Paraiso, senior historic site development officer of the NHCP, said giving Rizal a proper burial was the Filipinos' way of showing respect to the country's national hero.
"In a way through that burial, we were able to show more respect to a man who gave his life, who focused his ideas on making the Filipino a better person," he said.
Paraiso also said he hopes people will not just remember Rizal every December 30 of the year but also learn to love him by reading his writings.
"We are hoping that more people would come to love Rizal by reading his works. We are hoping that somehow, people reading his writings and letters would emulate Rizal and his ideals," he said.
- Top Story, ANC, December 28, 2012