Rizal returns to Prague 131 years after historic trip

June 28, 2018 - 12:50 PM
Prague at sunrise. (Photo by Sebastien via Unsplash)

After 131 years, Filipino hero Dr. Jose Rizal has spotted in Prague once again.

The Embassy of the Czech Republic has unveiled a new bust of Rizal in its own national bank headquarters. The memorial in the scenic Central European city is a testament to the several frontiers conquered by the Philippines’ national hero.

Rizal in Prague

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr., and Czech National Bank Governor Jiří Rusnok unveiling the bust in Prague. (Photo from the Embassy of the Czech Republic)

The sculpture by Filipino sculptor Jose Giroy was unveiled in June 26 in Prague, in the presence of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr., Czech National Bank Governor Jiří Rusnok, and the first Czech Ambassador to Manila Stanislav Slavický.

According to the Embassy of the Czech Republic, the sculpture was the brainchild of Czech National Bank Vice-Governor Vladimír Tomšík. It was conceptualized to commemorate the Philippine national hero’s 1887 trip to what is now the Czech Republic.

Before coming to Prague, Rizal and his companion Maximo Viola met with Rizal’s friend and associate Ferdinand Blumentritt in neighboring Litoměřice.

Litoměřice has its own set of memorials for the Philippines’ national hero.

Upon reaching the capital of the former Kingdom of Bohemia, Rizal and Viola embarked on a tour of the city and met with some scientists. Among these was botanist Heinrich Willkomm, with whom Rizal collaborated during his time exiled in Dapitan.

A Czech journalist has collected photographs of the bust.

Photos of the other bust in Litoměřice have also been circulated by viewers and tourists.

The world is littered with memorials to the well-traveled Filipino hero. Before his execution at the age of considerably young age of 35, Rizal had gone to almost every corner on the planet, having  visited cities in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the United States.

The past few months have seen the Philippines’ Asian neighbors pay tribute to the eminent 19th century patriot. In May 2018, the Chinese government supported a trip by the Filipino Balangay Expedition Team to the Rizal monument in Jinjiang City, China.

Philippine and Chinese officials pose in front of the Rizal Monument in Jinjiang City, Xiamen. (Photo from Dfa.gov.ph)

A month later, a Japanese publishing company released a manga series on the life of Jose Rizal to commemorate his 157th birth anniversary.

Bust of Jose Rizal in Hibiya Park, Tokyo. Erected in 1998 to commemorate the centennial celebration of Philippine Independence Day. (Photo from Flickr user only1tanuki)