MANILA, Philippines - The local government of Calamba, Laguna and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) have put up the world's tallest Jose Rizal monument in preparation for the national hero's 150th birthday next month.
The monument is 22 feet tall, with the number symbolizing the 22 languages and dialects used by Rizal. Among these are Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Sanskrit and Spanish.
It was erected on a 7-hectare land in Calamba, the city where Rizal was born.
Visitors have to walk along a 15-step stairway before reaching the monument. Each step symbolizes one decade of Rizal's life, organizers said.
The new monument will be unveiled to the public on Rizal's birthday on June 19.
Several groups have been preparing for the celebration of Rizal's 150th birthday. Among them are the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), which has been refurbishing the Luneta Park by sprucing up its gardens, repainting its statues and adding new facilities.
Two professional conservators from Germany, meanwhile, are conducting restoration work on Rizal's manuscripts such as the novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, the poem Mi Ultimo Adios, and "Guillermo Tell," the Tagalog translation of the play "William Tell" by Friedrich Schiller. -- Report from Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN Southern Tagalog