Rizal@160: Looking back and moving forward with his legacies

Six faculty members from the Department of Social Sciences (DSS) remembered Jose Rizal’s legacies and moved forward with interesting teaching strategies during a webinar to mark his 160th birth anniversary. The Rizal@150 webinar was themed Paglingon at Pagsulong and was streamed live last 25 April 2021 at the DSS Facebook page. 

Profs. Jeffrey James Ligero, Herald Ian Guiwa, Gilbert Macarandang, Ryan Alvin Pawilen, Ruben Jeffrey Asuncion, and Mr. John Carlo Santos were among the speakers. 

Prof.  Ligero elaborated upon the fire piston technologies that were developed in indigenous cultures in Southeast Asia and the Philippines, independent of those created in Europe. This was in his lecture Lantak: Ingenious Fire-Making Device of Southeast Asia. 

The fire piston, according to Prof. Ligero, is a fire-producing device whose heat is generated by the sudden compression of air. He demonstrated how to use the fire piston, revealed the substances used as lubricants in various pistons, and also showed the rich vocabulary for fire piston for various peoples such as Malay, Sundanese, Orang Asli, Tagalog, and Kiangan Igorot. A good example of a fire piston is the sulpakan, a sample of which was sent by Dr. Rizal to Adolf Bastian of the Berlin Ethnological Museum in 1888. 

Prof. Guiwa in E-Rizal:  Ang Pagtuturo ng Kursong Rizal sa Kabataang Gen-Z, suggested alternative strategies that would make the Rizal course more understandable for younger students. After elaborating the various symbolisms of Rizal for Filipinos, or “kanya-kanyang Rizal,” Prof. Guiwa underscored that we must balance the study of the historical Rizal and Rizal as a symbol. To make Rizal interesting to “Gen-Zers,” he said that the course can be discussed using concepts that kindle their interests. 

Another strategy that he suggested would be to use references online since students are adept at using online technologies, while materials stored in such e-archives, such as Project Gutenberg and archive.org, are already in public domain and downloadable without possible copyright infringement. 

Asst. Prof. Gilbert Macarandang talked about Si Capitan Tiago at ang mga Gobernadorcillos sa Bayan ng San Diego: Pagsusuri sa Istrakturang Pulitikal noong Ika-19 na Dantaon, the structure of local governments in 19th century Philippines. He specifically contextualized Capitan Tiago, the gobernadorcillo of the association of mestizos, within the mandated functions and qualifications of town heads and other officials. There some modifications brought about by the implementation of the Maura Law in 1893. Asst. Prof. Macarandang also cited the flexing of authority and stature by Capitan Tiago in some chapters of the novel Noli Me Tangere. 

Prof. Pawilen examined Rizal’s thoughts on martial arts and physical education as discussed in Rizal’s Teaching on Martial Arts, Teaching Rizal in Martial Arts. He also critically evaluated the secondary sources that claimed Rizal had practiced various kinds of martial arts. So far, only eskrima or European fencing, pistol shooting, yo-yo (used as a weapon), and boxing were the martial arts that Rizal was confirmed to have practiced. He then recommended strategies and materials in teaching Rizal in martial arts. 

In Youthful Characters in Rizal’s Novels, Prof. Asuncion looked at young characters in Noli and El Filibusterismo.  He also analyzed the motives and actions of select characters in the two published novels of Rizal. 

Lastly, Mr. Santos examined symbolisms at the first chapters of Noli and El Fili. In his lecture entitled Pagsipat sa Unang Kabanata ng Noli at El Fili, he mentioned minor details from “The Gathering” (Chapter 1 in Noli), and “On Deck” (El Fili) that contained latent symbolisms. There will be new interpretations in the re-readings of these chapters, depending on the location and milieu of the reader, Mr. Santos added. 

The event was organized by DSS, together with the Knights of Rizal-Mt. Makiling Chapter, Museo ni Jose Rizal-Calamba, and Rex Publishing.

— RJ Asuncion