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Rizal’s Vertebra

Posted by BCS on November 7, 2008

Vertebra of Jose Rizal which was hit by a bullet from the firing squad (Photo taken on October 4, 2008)

Vertebra of Jose Rizal which was hit by a bullet from the firing squad (Photo taken on October 4, 2008)

When I first went to the Rizal Shrine in Fort Santiago, I remember seeing a description on this display saying that this is one of Rizal’s vertebrae, one which was hit by a bullet when he was executed by a firing squad in Bagumbayan on December 30, 1896.

According to a comment posted by “maria” to an entry on Howie Severino’s blog:

“the relic was taken when Rizal’s bones were transferred from Paco cemetery to Luneta 17 years after he was executed.”

Somehow, I can’t find any description anywhere on the relic’s display case when I went there last October 4 (2008). And, sadly, the lack of description on the display is causing people to assume what this item is…

That day, a big group of high school students were having what I’m supposing was an educational field trip. While I was going around this particular relic’s display case looking for a description, I overheard several students remark “Yan siguro yung lamparang pinaglagyan ng Mi Ultimo Adios…” (“That’s probably the lamp that contained the Mi Ultimo Adios”) when the lamp they were referring to, or the alcohol stove for that matter, was sitting just a few feet away from them.

2 Responses to “Rizal’s Vertebra”

  1. Narciso C. Dionson said

    The container of the vertebra resembles the highly decorative reliquaries to hold relics of saints in Europe. That is not how I remember seeing the vertebra in my visits to Fort Santiago when I lived in Manila in the 70’s.

    Rizal is a hero but he was far from being a saint. I believe Rizal would rather that we read his writings and understand what he stood for so that today’s young people can translate his deeds and his thoughts in the context of our time.

    A reliquary distracts and does not do justice to the hero’s memory.

  2. BCS said

    Yeah, and I think saving/displaying part(s) of his anatomy doesn’t seem “right” at all… and I don’t see any point in it… like, what does it show/prove?

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