Author Topic: Full-color, 176-page hardbound collector’s anthology on Jose Rizal launched  (Read 13140 times)

Joe Carillo

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Rizal +, a full-color, 176-page hardbound collector’s anthology on our National Hero Jose P. Rizal was launched last Friday, November 23, 2018, at the Yuchengco Museum in Makati City. The book’s executive editor, Alfred “Krip” Yuson, writes in his Philippine Star column about the anthology’s wealth of features as well as what went into its making. In the next panel below, Manila Standard columnist Jenny Ortuoste reviews the book in “Rizal +: History meets literature” and reports that its launching was a lively, intellectually stimulating meeting of Philippine glitterati and literati.

Exulting in a tribute to our national hero

By Alfred A. Yuson

Launched last Friday by publisher Water Dragon, Inc. at the Yuchengco Museum was the hardbound, coffee-table anthology titled Rizal +.

All of 176 pages in full color, the collection of essays, thematic features, artworks and photographs all dwell on various matters, including trivia curiosa, related to Jose Rizal.

The cover image and several other portraits based on vintage photos of the hero were accomplished by the artist Edd Aragon during one of his homecoming visits from Sydney, well before he passed away a few years ago.

Designed by Singapore-based Orland Punzalan, the anthology also displays artworks by Pandy Aviado, Jaime de Guzman, Duddley Diaz, Rei Salud, Gilda Cordero Fernando, and Dengcoy Miel.

The Preface reads:

“This book is dedicated to the memory of Jose Victor Peñaranda and Edd Aragon, who were instrumental in its conceptualization and initial production in 2009, when it was planned for release well before the sesquicentennial celebration of Jose Rizal in 2011.

“Unfortunately, the book project had to be discontinued at that time. Recent years also sadly marked the early loss of these two staunch friends of ours, with whom we had feasted on the compulsion of presenting a unique and diverse compendium of Rizaliana — one inclusive of novelty, humor and irreverence within the greater ambit of honoring and exulting in the singular hero’s myriad facets.

“Jose Rizal continues to fascinate Filipinos and countless foreigners alike, who recognize all the nuances of his nearly mythical aggregate of attributes — beyond being a poet, polyglot, physician, patriot, and fated martyr.

“No other Filipino has been written about as much as this extraordinary man, who understandably provokes unending exegesis.

“When the publisher decided to revive this project late this year, the process of retrieving and reconstructing most of the original contents hit a snag, so that we had to replace some lost materials with fresh contributions. But such is the continuing interest in the subject that this challenge was easy hurdled.

“There will always be so much more of Rizal to draw from and extrapolate on. This anthology barely scratches the surface. But we’d like to think that this tribute to an exemplary individual expands the fascination with a brief yet well-lived life that spans historical romance, drama and inspiration — especially for our finest writers, journalists, historians and artists.

“We also dedicate this book to photographer Ed Usapdin, whose contribution for the last pages outlives his own visionary eye.”

As the Executive Editor, this writer saw fit to include some previously published articles that covered sundry subjects of interest revolving around Rizal.

Thus, we included column pieces by outstanding writers such as Ambeth Ocampo (“J.R. = Jack the Ripper?”), John Nery (“What Rizal Thought of Journalists”), Jose Carillo (“Did Rizal Ever Speak and Write in English?”)*, Wilson Lee Flores (“Rizal’s ‘Rags-to-riches’ Ancestor from South China”), Jose F. Lacaba (“Rizal in Drag” and “When Joe Met Miss J.”), and Butch Dalisay (“Poker Pepe: Without Seeing the Flop”).

Other reprints are memorable essays by Vicente Albano Pacis (“Rizal in the American Congress”), Leon Ma. Guerrero (“Room for a Hero”), Adrian E. Cristobal (“Making Rizal Obsolete” and “The Filipino Classic”), Rodel Rodis (“The Rizal Bill” and “Jose Rizal and Ninoy Aquino: Cosmic Brothers”), and Luis H. Francia (“Letter to an Indio Bravo”).

Predominantly, however, major articles are seeing print for the first time, from Sylvia L. Mayuga (“Desperately Seeking Lolo Pepe”), Maria Isabel Garcia (“Recycling Rizal”), Dr. Andrew Navarro with an astrological reading (“Rizal, the Philippines and the Cosmos”), Lito B. Zulueta (“Rizal at the University of Santo Tomas: The Misunderstood Years”), Jose Victor Peñaranda (“The Enigmatic Brotherhood of Dimasalang”), Alfredo R. Roces (“Sculptor in Dapitan”), Duddley Diaz (“On the Sculpture of Rizal as a Boy with His Dog, 1996”), Cesar Hernando (“Rizal in Movies”), Solana Perez (“Dapitan, the Place of Rizal’s Exile”), and Paulo Alcazaren (“Plazas, Rizal, and Selfies”).    

Literary contributions include Joel Pablo Salud’s chapter excerpt from an unpublished novel (“My Dream of Café de Madrid”), as well as poetry/critiques/translations by Jose Victor Z. Torres (“A Fake Rizal Poem: ‘Sa Aking mga Kabata’”), Wilfredo Pascua Sanchez (“JR Extempore with ‘In Death is Peace’ — Jose Rizal’s Valedictory”), Cesar Ruiz Aquino (“Getting Willie’s Rizal / Getting Rizal’s Willie”), Krip Yuson (“Reimagining Rizaldry: A Review of Rizal’s Lizard”), and an excerpt from the screenplay “Rizal sa Dapitan” by Jose F. Lacaba et al.

Poet-novelist Erwin Castillo contributes “Pinoy Pistolero: Rizal’s ‘Magnificent Smith & Wessons’” while novelist Carlos Cortes writes on “Rizal El Jugador: A Great Brilliancy Prize Chess Game by the Master?”

Howie G. Severino’s “Who Called Rizal ‘Little Bad Boy’?,” Lucien Spittael’s “Rizal in Belgium: From Brussels to Ghent,” Butch Dalisay’s ‘Rizal in California” and Vicente Rafael’s “Rizal in Seattle” complement an excerpted essay on travel by “Laong Laan” and a reprint of “Rizal’s Madrid” — an informative guide to Rizal’s haunts in that city, produced by our embassy there.

A comic strip by Dengcoy Miel, titled “The PostModern Rizal,” and a photo essay by Ed Usapdin on “The Execution Site, Rizal Park, Manila” round up the visual contributions.

The collector’s anthology will be available at Php1,000 per copy at the gift shop at Yuchengco Museum, and eventually at Solidaridad Bookstore on P. Faura St. in Manila and Mt. Cloud Bookstore in Baguio City.

This introductory spiel by Krip Yuson, executive editor of the book “Rizal +,” appeared in his column “Kripotkin” in the November 26, 2018 issue of the newspaper Philippine Star.

*The essay “Did Rizal Ever Speak and Write in English?” in this Rizal anthology was excerpted with permission from Jose Carillo’s series of essays on Rizal with the same title that appeared in Jose Carillo’s English Forum on January 28, 2010. The series can be accessed in full in the Forum by clicking this link to “Did Rizal ever speak and write in English?”

“Did Rizal Ever Speak and Write in English?”

(Jenny Ortuoste's review of “Rizal +” in the next panel below)
« Last Edit: November 28, 2018, 07:46:41 AM by Joe Carillo »

Joe Carillo

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Rizal +: History meets literature

By Jenny Ortuoste

“The coffee-table book is a beautiful artifact, replete with gorgeous photographs, beguiling art and illustrations, and thought-provoking pieces.”

It was glitterati meets literati at the launch of the handsome coffee-table book Rizal +, an anthology of art and literature starring the national hero.

Jose Rizal is so much a part of the national consciousness that every Filipino raised in this country has an image of the author-physician-activist in his mind. Rizal’s writings, particularly his two novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, are required reading in high school, and a mandatory Rizal course in the undergraduate introduces his essays and political writings. But it was in the once-compulsory 12 units of Spanish college courses that I read his poetry. “Adios, patria adorada, region del sol querida…” who has not thrilled to the passion in his “Mi Ultimo Adios,” the last declarations of a man doomed to die by the guns of the colonizers?

Thus any work related to him is bound to interest Rizalophiles, as this one is sure to do. Rizal + is edited by prize-winning writer Krip Yuson and published by Water Dragon, Inc., of Alfonso ‘Boy’ Yuchengco Jr., scion of the late taipan Alfonso Yuchengco Sr. who founded the Yuchengco Group of Companies.

The book launch was held on a full moon Friday, Nov. 23, at the Yuchengco Museum. From the moment I walked in I knew this event was going to be one of a kind. For one, the music was provided by Carol Bello and the Kadama Band, their tribal rhythms of electric guitar and violin punctuated by the throb of a steel drum and an upturned plastic jug partly filled with water.

Bello’s almost-primal wails and the urgent, pulsing music moved at least two people to dance—Yuchengco and Philippines Graphic literary editor Alma Anonas-Carpio.

Yuson, seated under a gallery of Rizal-related artworks, busily signed copies of Rizal + for the attendees, comprising businessmen, corporate types, and socialites mingling with artists and writers. The artworks, some of which illustrate the book, are by visual artists Pandy Aviado, the late Edd Aragon, and others.

Yuson stood front and center to explain the genesis of the book, how it had been eight or nine years since its inception, but the project was shelved along the way. It was revived recently by Boy Yuchengco, who, with Yuson, wanted to honor the memory of two collaborators on the project who have since passed away—Aragon and writer Jose Victor “Bimboy” Peñaranda.

Also on stage were some of the book’s contributors. Artist and writer Solana Perez sent in years ago an essay written when she was 11. Philippines Graphic editor-in-chief Joel Pablo Salud’s “My Dream of Café de Madrid,” illustrated by his eldest daughter Rei Salud, is an excerpt from a novel in progress.

Dr. Andrew Navarro cast the hero’s natal chart, a piece of interest to astrology buffs; and urban planner Paulo Alcazaren ponders on the preponderance of Rizal monuments in public plazas around the Philippines.

Also present at the event was historian Jose Victor Z. Torres, who spoke about his essay “A Fake Rizal Poem: Sa Aking Mga Kabata.” Many of us will recall this stanza best: “Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika, masahol pa sa hayop at malansang isda.” But, says, Torres, “The problem is it was not written by [Rizal],” and explains why.

The book also carries pieces by Vicente Albano Pacis, Leon Ma. Guerrero, Adrian Cristobal, Jose “Butch” Dalisay Jr., Gilda Cordero Fernando, Jose F. Lacaba, Ambeth Ocampo, and other eminent writers and artists.

Where there are gaps in the historical record, we lean towards imagination and fancy to flesh out the areas of our interest—what could have been, the might have been. Thus there are both fiction and non-fiction works in Rizal +. It is a beautiful artifact, replete with gorgeous photographs, beguiling art and illustrations, and thought-provoking pieces.

Kudos to Yuchengco for finally bringing this book to life after nearly a decade in hibernation, to its editor Yuson (who also has a piece here), book and cover designer Orland S. Punzalan for the stunning design, and the contributors who thought, mused, and pondered over the enigmatic, mystical, and mythical Jose Rizal.

Call or visit the Yuchengco Museum, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Ave., Makati City, for a copy of Rizal +.

This review by Jenny Ortuoste of the book Rizal + came out in her “Pop Goes the World” column in the newspaper Manila Standard on November 25, 2018. Dr. Ortuoste, a writer and researcher, has a PhD in Communication. FB and Twitter: @DrJennyO
« Last Edit: November 27, 2018, 11:14:09 PM by Joe Carillo »