Friday, December 15, 2006

Mute Witness

In the municipal park of Lianga right just beside the parish church is a monument to the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. It is similar to the thousands of other monuments of like design that can be seen in practically all towns and cities all over the country.

Our Jose Rizal has stood and watched over the town since as far back as I can remember. As a small child I played with other children under his gaze and watchful presence.

In those days, a water pump located in a small cavern underneath his pedestal pumped water to four circular fountains that threw the water up into the air in lacy and graceful arcs and when dusk came, colored lights danced on the curtain of falling water drops. The magic of those moments remain clear and vivid in my memories.

Through fair or stormy weather, through the heat of countless summers and the drizzle of unnumbered rainy seasons, the statue gazed with unflinching resolve at the town center, the marketplace, the coastal sea and beyond to the blue-green waters to the far distant mouth of the Lianga Bay.

It had been a witness to many of the tumultuous events of the town's contemporary history. Ah, what I would give to have seen what it could have seen. Imagine the stories it could tell if it were capable of doing so.

Now the fountains are gone and covered with earth and the plants and grasses grow where the waters used to play. The decades have passed and change has not been kind. The town's golden age has come and gone. There is an atmosphere of listlessness and languor that pervades the streets and collective souls of the townfolk.

The people who pass through the park everyday do not really see Jose Rizal on his monument. They do not even see the statue. Not even the students who pass the park everyday on their way to their schools. Not even those among them who are forced to study the life and works of the man whose stone image stands so calmly and bravely above them as if in defiance of their indifference.

Reflect on that and weep.


  1. Thomas10:09 AM

    What a moving feature! I see myself standing at the Plaza of Lianga and having the very same thoughts. There is a beautiful melancholy in your prose. Standing there I would feel like weeping, too. Let's hope Rizal does not see what came out of his dreams. He would certainly weep.

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