During Jose Rizal’s birthday last June 19, I went into a pilgrimage to his hometown. By Following the Footsteps of Jose Rizal in Calamba, I was able to find out for myself that this Laguna chartered city is a Rizal territory. And true enough, it is impossible to go anywhere in town that does not have the imprint of the national hero upon it.
On the neighboring town of Los Baños, the beloved Rizal here is Paciano. But unlike his younger brother Jose, whose image is perpetuated in stone in the plaza of almost every town in the Philipines, little is known about Paciano Rizal. To this day, he is better known as “the other Rizal,” the brother of the national hero.
The Other Rizal
Born in March 7, 1851, Paciano was the second of the eleven Rizal children, ten years older than Jose. Standard biographies state that he studied in Colegio de San Jose and later in University of Santo Tomas both in Manila. He had to drop out of school because he was associated with martyred priest Fr. Jose Burgos who was accused a filibustero by Spanish government. Burgos together with two other priests, Fr. Mariano Gomez and Jacinto Zamora (the three martyred priests are known as GOMBURZA) were executed in Bagumbayan.
Few know what Paciano looked like because the man refused to be photograph. According to historian Ambeth Ocampo, “Paciano did not want to be photograph because his reason was he was a wanted man in the past and if there were no photographs of him, then it would be hard for authorities to arrest him.” There are only two known photographs of the man a stolen snap and a recuerdo de patay, taken after his death.
Paciano is remembered by his relatives to be a tall man with a healthy complexion. Yet Paciano could have been the greater Rizal. Even Jose in a letter to Blumentritt, claimed honor, had described his brother to be “more refine and serious than (I) him.”
One of Paciano Rizal’s exploits is getting the Spaniards to surrender in Calamba. According to the story, when the enemy had penetrated the church and the town hall of Calamba and the revolutionaries had little ammunition to flush them out, Paciano is supposed to have ordered firecrackers to be used every time the Filipinos would open fire to make the enemy think that they are heavily armed.
Paciano was the last officer to surrender to the Americans after the Filipino-American War. He only did so because he was suffering from malaria. The Americans wanted him to swear allegiance to their flag but replied “he has only one flag.”
The Paciano Home in Los Baños
After the Filipino-American War, Paciano built a nipa hut in Los Baños, Laguna and resumed his career as a farmer. By that time, the Rizals had lost their Idyllic Ancestral Home in Calamba. Their home and farms had been confiscated by Spanish authorities. But from the verandah of the nipa hut, which jutted out towards Laguna de Bay, he could see the lights of Calamba. Perhaps that was the closest he could be to his hometown.
When the nipa hut was destroyed by a typhoon in 1926, Paciano had the bungalow built. It is a modest American bungalow. It was built in 1927 by Don Andres Luna de San Pedro, the son of the master painter Juan Luna.
The house was turned into a garrison during the Japanese occupation that is why much of Paciano’s personal effects were lost. While 90 percent of the house is original, its contents have been recently acquired.
Related link: Paciano Rizal Monument by Arnold
Reference: Ambeth Ocampo, Rizal without the Overcoat