If not for Rizal Shrine, Dapitan would not have come to be called the Shrine City of the Philippines.
The shrine is Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s last settlement and workplace in Dapitan and has quite a story.
In August 1892, a Spaniard brought with him from Manila some lottery tickets to Dapitan. Rizal, Captain Carcinero, the politico-governor of Dapitan at that time, and a Spaniard living in Dipolog bought a ticket, which luckily won. The winnings totaled P20,000. Rizal’s share was P6,200. Out of this share, he gave P2,000 to his father and P200 to Basa, his friend from Hong Kong.
Rizal invested his remaining winnings in business and bought lands and built houses in what is now the shrine in Barangay Talisay. He bought six hectares of land from Lucia Pagbangon.
In March 1893, Rizal then transferred to Talisay. Later, his mother Dona Teodora Alonso, his sisters, and some relatives and neighbor from Calamba, Laguna came and lived with him in Talisay until 1896.
It was here that Rizal exemplified the ideal that “a life which is not concentrated to a great ideal is useless. It is a pebble lost in the field without forming a part of an edifice.” Here, Rizal epitomized the existence of a man with a mission, making the best of every moment.
Rizal spent his lonely but productive and altruistic four years in banishment working as a rural physician, farmer, merchant, inventor, painter, sculptor, archaeologist, linguist, grammarian, teacher, architect, poet, biologist, composer, surveyor, environmentalist, aside from being a lover, a father and a brother to the Dapitanons.
The court martial that tried Rizal imposed on him not only capital punishment but also the “payment of indemnity to the state in the amount of P100,000, the obligation to pay such being transferable to the heirs of the accused.”
On January 15, 1897, Rizal’s property in Barangay Talisay was confiscated by the Spanish authorities and Don Cosme Borromeo was appointed custodian of the sequestered assets. In 1913, the property was converted into a park by the government in memory of Rizal. The park was reconstructed, and eventually in 1940, President Manuel Quezon issued Proclamation No. 616 declaring the site as National Rizal Park.
There are several landmarks worth visiting inside the Rizal Shrine.