Sunday, November 4, 2007

Getting Lost With Names - Rizal

This topic started with this article

Jose P. Rizal. Are you ready for this? There are 7 towns and 1 province all named Rizal! That was expected, right? He is the national hero of this country after all!

First is the town of Rizal in the province of Cagayan (Region 2). It’s in the southwestern portion and in the border with the province of Apayao. Previously called Malaueg, this is the province’s epic town where a lot of folktales and other historical accounts are told. I was surprised to taste delectable mangoes in this high-altitude town which I thought was only to be visited for remnants of some Spanish colonial settlement!

Nearby and below is another Rizal town, this time in the province of Kalinga (Region 15 – CAR) that sits in the province’s borders with Cagayan and Isabela. Were there elephants in this country? Well, the ‘elephant hill’ in this town is the site where half the remains of a pachyderm was unearthed!

The next Rizal is a town on the eastern portion of Nueva Ecija (Region 3) and is a crossroads of two highways which is your jump off point when visiting the biggest dam of them all, the Pantabangan Dam. Oh yes, even before you hit the dam, there is of course the Rizal Hot Springs!

Out 4th Rizal is closest to the metropolis as it is a town in the province of Laguna (Region 4A – CALABARZON) just beside the city of San Pablo. Well, the national hero is/was after all from Calamba of the same province, so we would expect a town to be named after him, and this is it! This town actually is already in the border with the province of Quezon. Take note, this is a town in the province of Laguna because…

Our 5th Rizal is the name of a province also in Region 4A and beside Laguna! Confused? Don’t be! Just note that there is a town in Laguna and there is a province beside Laguna hehe! The province of Rizal is one that seems to be getting smaller in terms of “coverage” through the years! Now, it is comprised by 13 towns and one city. But in the past, even all the towns of Laguna province, the cities of Pasig, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay, Paranaque, San Juan, Marikina and Las Pinas were all part of the province of Rizal. Nowadays, you’d surely get information that this province revolves around art and artistry! It’s such a merry mix of things to see that you have got to seek out each of the towns in this province individually. Examples? Well, the Avilon Zoo is in the town of Rodriguez (formerly Montalban). “Tayo na sa Antipolo”? That is the only city in the province! Ironically, this is the only province in the country whose provincial capitol is so far away from the province! Where is the capitol? It’s in Pasig City at the end of Shaw Boulevard and very near Mandaluyong! People commonly refer to this place as Kapitolyo, Pasig!

The 6th Rizal is a little town in the province of Mindoro Occidental (Region 4B – MIMAROPA) just in between Calintaan and the city of San Jose. It’s a sleepy fishing town yes, but the snorkeling and diving opportunities are great. Oh hey, no worry if you can't get to fly to San Jose. Air-conditioned buses from Pasay and Cubao regularly ply the route!

Then there is the 7th of our Rizal towns. This time, it’s a town in the island province of Palawan (still in Region 4B). This is a big town on the island’s (therefore the country’s) southwesternmost fringes. If you believe Palawan is the last frontier of this country, then be aware that this town must be the last frontier of Palawan. Oh yes, it is here where you find the highest point of the entire island. And, it is also here that you’ll encounter a tribe called “Tau’t Batu” – people living in caves whose way of life is still comparable to how our forebears in the Paleolithic Era lived! The tribe will catch your attention that you'll forget there are great waterfalls, white sand beaches and great diving sites! For me, this is the best Rizal to visit!

8th and last of the Rizal places is way down in Mindanao and that is a town in the province of Zamboanga Del Norte (Region 9 – Western Mindanao). This town at the province’s northeasternmost area actually borders with Misamis Occidental and below it are the twin cities of Dapitan and Dipolog. So this Rizal is really a city suburb. Now now… don’t you remember Dapitan? It prominently fares in the life of the dear national hero! So I am not surprised there is such a town named Rizal in the area!

Here's something cute... a town in Surigao Del Norte (Region 13) is named Basilisa. However, most of the time, people write that town's name as "Basilisa (Rizal)" - take note of that word enclosed in parenthesis. Hmm, if I remember my primary school history correctly, I think Basilisa was the name of one of Jose Rizal's sisters. Was it? Alright, this town is in the southwestern portion of Dinagat Islands.

While we're on this, don't fret that there are no towns named Rizal in the Visayas and Bicolandia. The dear hero is equally honored in those places. Do you know why Dumaguete's famous boulevard is named Rizal Boulevard? I know but am not telling yet hehe! They could have very well named that boulevard as St. Paul or anything else! Here's more, correct me if I may be wrong, but I guess one of the most impressive Rizaliana Museums in the country can be found in Cebu City. Have you been there? Well, here is more... the oldest Rizal Monument in this country is purportedly that one in Daet Camarines Norte. I think I should believe that since it bears the seal of the National Historical Institute! See?!

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