An event Sunday at the Glendale Central Library will echo a larger
celebration in Manila of the Philippine's national hero, Jose Rizal,
with a salute to the man who has been called the forerunner of
Rizal Day 2002 is a tribute to Rizal, who was executed by firing
squad Dec. 30, 1896, in Manila because of his views on political
freedom, education and independence and his criticism of the Spanish
friars' treatment of the Filipinos.
"Jose Rizal was a man of peace," Cora Pastrana, coordinator of
Rizal Day 2002. "He gave us our identity as a people."
"Rizal considered Spain as 'La Madre,' which means the mother,"
she added. "There was never any hatred in his heart, even when they
decided to have him executed."
The event, which is from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Glendale
Central Library, 222 E. Harvard St., will celebrate his life with
literary awards and performances by "The Spirit of God Music
Ministry," a Los Angeles Filipino choral group. It is being held in
conjunction with an exhibit on Rizal's life that will run at the
library until Jan. 4.
Rizal, who was 35 when he was executed, was a painter, sculptor,
poet, novelist, musician and an expert fencer. He spoke 22 languages
-- five fluently-- and became an ophthalmologist because his mother's
eyesight was failing.
"He was a humanitarian and educator," Pastrana said. "He strove to
learn as much of the cultures and different races of the world as he
could. It was really for progress, harmony and equality of all
Professor Emeritus Virginia Agbayani will speak about Rizal's
relevance to the world today, and a 20-minute documentary will trace
"I don't know a person who knew so much or who did so much for his
country," Pastrana said. "He left behind a legacy."
Organizers expect more than 100 people from across the county at
the event, which is co-sponsored by the Filipino-American Business
Assn. of Glendale.