MADRID, Spain - The 151st birthday of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal was not only commemorated in the Philippines but in other parts of Europe where he spent most of his time studying.
In Madrid, Senator Edgardo Angara led in the wreath-laying rites at the symbolic Rizal monument at Avenida Las Islas Filipinas. It is a smaller replica of the similar monument at the Luneta in Manila.
Angara, who chairs the Philippines-Spain Parliamentary Friendship Group, called on the Filipino youth today to emulate Rizal who championed liberal ideas especially in education, arts and representation of all social classes in public discussions.
It was in Madrid where Rizal, who was fluent in Spanish, stayed and studied law and medicine.
Angara regards Spain as his second home, saying both the Philippines and Spain have intense affinity in blood, culture and history.
Like Rizal, Angara believes the best qualities of both races, the nobility of character, chivalry and generosity of spirit of the Filipino and the valor and loyalty of the Spanish.
Assisting Angara in the wreath-laying was the Philippine Ambassador to Spain Carlos Salinas and the officers of the Knights of Rizal in Spain.
Meanwhile, the Knights of Rizal in London would not be outdone. The group honored their youngest member, disc jockey Elijah Villanueva with knighthood in a ceremony.
Villanueva said his knighthood was just the beginning of his journey in honoring our national hero.
"Kailangan i-propagate yung mga teaching niya. Marami siyang nai-ambag sa bansa natin," he said.
Advocating Rizal's legacies and teachings are the same vision shared by the heads of the Ladies of Rizal in the UK.
Lady Aurea Taguiang, president of Ladies of Rizal UK, said: "We, the order of the Knights of Rizal and the Ladies of Rizal, are promulgating the ideals of Rizal."
Rizal went to London in 1888 and did heavy research work at the British Museum. He did the annotation of the now famous "Sucesos De Las Isla Filipinas" by Antonio Morga.
While in London, Rizal became active in the reform movement and asserted his role in the Philippine revolution. - With reports from Dianne Malonzo and Jomel Gutierrez, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau