Homeschooling, Local Travel

Dapitan – A Travel Destination for Homeschooling Families for Lessons About Dr. Jose Rizal

During the early part of his exile in Dapitan, Rizal lived at the commandant’s residence. With his prize from the Manila Lottery and his earnings as a farmer and a merchant, he bought a piece of land near the shore of Talisay in Dapitan. On this land, he built three houses- all made of bamboo, wood, and nipa. The first house which was square in shape was his home. The second house was the living quarters of his pupils. And the third house was the barn where he kept his chickens. The second house had eight sides, while the third had six sides. In a letter to his friend, Ferdinand Blumentritt, on December 19, 1893, Rizal described his peaceful life in Dapitan.

 “I shall tell you how we lived here. I have three houses-one square, another hexagonal, and the third octagonal. All these houses are made of bamboo, wood, and nipa. I live in the square house, together with my mother, my sister, Trinidad, and my nephew. In the octagonal house (see photo below) live some young boys who are my pupils. The hexagonal house is my barn where I keep my chickens.

This hexagonal house was where Dr. Jose Rizal treated his patients, including Josephine Bracken’s adoptive father.
Me outside the square house where he lived and the water system that he, himself, engineered. The people in white inside the balcony are members of the Rizalian group, the people who believe that Rizal was a reincarnation of Jesus Christ
This is the brook that Rizal built a small dam behind his house that served as his swimming pool as described in his letter below.

“From my house, I hear the murmur of a clear brook which comes from the high rocks. I see the seashore where I keep two boats, which are called barotos here.”

“I have many fruit trees, such as mangoes, lanzones, guayabanos, baluno, nangka, etc. I have rabbits, dogs, cats, and other animals.”

The seashore as mentioned by Rizal in his letter. No borotos in sight during our visit.
200 plus years old mango tree that our national hero took care while in Dapitan.
The tree was huge, you’d need about 2-4 people to hug its girth.

“I rise early in the morning-at five-visit my plants, feed the chickens, awaken my people, and prepare our breakfast. At half-past seven, we eat our breakfast, which consists of tea, bread, cheese, sweets, and other things. “After breakfast, I treat the poor patients who come to my house. Then I dress and go to Dapitan in my baroto. I am busy the whole morning, attending to my patients in town.”

“At noon, I return home to Talisay for lunch. Then, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., I am busy as a teacher. I teach the young boys.”

I read Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo back in high school. It was such an awesome experience to have seen the original books displayed in Dapitan.

“I spend the rest of the afternoon in farming. My pupils help me in watering the plants, pruning the fruits, and planting many kinds of trees. We stop at 6:00 P.M. for the Angelus. I spend the night reading and writing.”

Below are photos of the park near Dapitan church where a map of Mindanao made by Rizal was erected using grass and cement. Rightmost photo shows my favorite island in Mindanao which is Camiguin Island.

Before he was moved to Talisay, he was on house-arrest in Casa Rizal where this rock now stands as reminder of what transpired during his time.
Not only was Rizal a scientist, he was also an artist. His works are displayed inside this museum (photo below).
Outside Dapitan museum.

Tiled below are the many faces of Rizal and the only known photo of his wife, Josephine Bracken.
Life size replica of our national hero and my friend.
Jose Rizal was a member of Freemason.
Inside the replica of our national hero’s kitchen where Josephine Bracken must have cooked their meals during their stay here.
Me standing with Rizalians, a group of women who believed that our national hero was a reincarnation of Jesus Christ.
Josephine Bracken must have called for Jose from this window to tell him that lunch was ready.
This was the master’s bedroom. No one was allowed to go inside and yes, I just pretended to sneak in for this photo.

I recommend that homeschooling families visit Dapitan and Talisay, Zamboanga Del Norte. The museum and the facilities as well as the town’s buildings will really bring you to the time when Dr. Rizal was exiled there. Visiting these sites helps one understand how productive Rizal was during his imprisonment. Our national hero was a genius, the things he built and made during his exile were proof of his being a jack of all trades whose early years were spent homeschooling with his mom.

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