If you have not been to Fort Santiago, in particular the Rizal Shrine located within its premises, you may want to schedule a trip there one of these days. Even if you have been there before, you may want to pay a visit there again.
This is because the Rizal Shrine has recently undergone a renovation of its interior set-up, giving the shrine a much-needed makeover and its visitors a new, different insight into learning about Jose Rizal, his life, works, and deeds that made him a National Hero.
In particular, the ground floor of the shrine was renovated not only to further highlight the cell where Rizal was incarcerated (which itself was already been preserved) but also restored (or recreated, I suppose) the area where Rizal’s trial was held.
The ground floor now also has a section devoted to the aspects of Rizal’s death on December 30, 1896 which not only featured the famed painting by National Artist Carlos Francisco, but also the blown-up reproduction of the only known photograph of the Rizal execution by a Spanish gentleman named Manuel Arias Rodriguez.
The second floor features some artistic pieces done by Rizal himself like sculptures and drawings, some paintings of him and others associated with his life.
One thing that was added now to the shrine is a more extensive section and interactive section on Rizalian influence in modern Philippine society from the stamps and currency that bear his image, the monuments built in his honor, to the streets, province, even matches among others named after him. Interestingly, one can also find there the plans that were drawn up for a proposed Jose Rizal Cultural Center and Shrine for the celebration of Rizal’s birth centennial in 1961, as well memorabilia from the centennial and 150th birth anniversary celebrations.
Kudos to the Intramuros Administration, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, (that does not mean they’re off the hook for their role in what’s happening in Rizal Park) and others who maintain the Rizal Shrine in Fort Santiago for the good job in renovating the shrine to make it a landmark worthy of a national hero.