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The greatest accomplishment of Jose Rizal
by Zigfred Diaz

A decade and a century ago, in the grounds of Luneta Manila, Spanish authorities shot a man. The death of this great man changed the course of Philippine history. We come to know this man today as our National Hero, Jose Rizal. We are always asked to remember the death anniversary of the greatest person that the malayan race has ever produced.

What was Jose Rizal’s greatest legacy? Why was he chosen to become our national hero ? For most people they believe that Jose Rizal was rightly chosen to become a national hero because he influenced most of our revolutionary leaders through his writings and example although other people believe that he should only be declared a hero not “The national hero.” Most people believed that Rizal’s greatest legacy is his love for his country as embodied in his writings and the actions that he took.

Years ago when I was taking up the required “Rizal” course in college, I was so amazed by the story of Jose Rizal that I went through Zaide’s book on Rizal in just one day. I consider Jose Rizal is one of my “Role models.” When I went to Manila, I made sure that I could visit the actual grounds where Rizal was shot. Contrary to what others believe, Rizal was not shot where the Rizal shrine in Luneta stands. The actual place where he was shot is several meters away from the shrine. As you approach the area you can see a sign that says that the place is “hollowed ground.” and it truly is for me. After we took the bar exams, I went with my family to Enchanted Kingdom. I also saw this as an oppurtunity to visit nearby Calamba, Laguna, Rizal’s home. Hopefully, I hope to visit his place of exile in Dapitan someday. Reading so much about Rizal, being to the places where he has been, and watching so many Rizal movies, I cannot help but ask myself, how could a somebody who lived only 34 years of his life make a huge difference in this world, not only in his country but globally as well ?

I believe that Jose Rizal’s greatest legacy was that he lived a meaningful, rich and full life. His only 34 years of living on this planet did not matter since he has accomplished so much in such a short period of time. This is so because he had a vision in his mind and a mission in his heart. Such mission and vision was so strong that it translated into action and as a result he did not have any time for trivial matters but rather all of his time was devoted to the fullfillment of his mission and vision.

I believe that each and everyone of us should ask ourselves honestly, will our lives matter when it is our time to leave this world ? Can we look at ourselves honestly and say that we have lived a life of meaning and purpose ? If the answer to such a question is “no” then let us ask God to grant us a mission and a vision so that we might not waste our time on trivial things but rather focus on things that truly matters. If we are driven by such a strong mission and vision, we might be able to live a life that is full of purpose and meaning, leaving a legacy for others follow just like how Jose Rizal lived. I believe that leaving a legacy just as Rizal did is my “higher calling.

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