(FEATURE) Rizal, the wielder of pen and patriotic ideas

The Philippine's great national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, wielded a weapon far mightier than a sword -- a pen that sparked the flame of revolution against Spanish colonialism.

Rizal propagated the idea of independence and national unity finely captured in his two renowned books -- the "Noli Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo" -- thus inspiring the likes of the valiant Andres Bonifacio, the "Father of Philippine Revolution".

On the 30th day of December, the whole nation commemorates the hero who advocated freedom, who pushed for social reforms and progress, who embodied true nationalism.

Jose Rizal was shot at Bagumbayan on Dec. 30, 1896. Two years later, on Dec. 20 1898, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo issued a decree proclaiming Dec. 30 as a "national day of mourning" in honor of Rizal and the other martyrs of the revolution against Spain.

This year's theme for the 120th anniversary of the national hero is "Rizal: Bayaning Global, Aydol ni Juan", according to the National Historic Commission of the Philippines.

The visionary Rizal may have lived a century earlier, but modern day Filipinos still could learn a thing or two to shape up our patriotism in this globalized world.

(1) "He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination." This is one of the famous quotes of Rizal, which reminds us to stay grounded and never forget our origins.

(2) "There can be no tyrants where there are no slaves." Before, this served as a wake-up call for Filipinos to put an end to the three century- long tyranny of the Spaniards and fight for our long-awaited freedom. Now, this impels us to take the wheel and be the masters of our own ships, of our own lives.

(3) "To foretell the destiny of a nation, it is necessary to open a book that tells of her past." Rizal sheds light on the importance of history. We should view the present through a historical lens as it offers us a context of events and answers to our existing problems. It also provides us the control wheel to our future, to veer away from our past mistakes.

(4) "The people do not complain because they have no voice; do not move because they are lethargic, and you say that they do not suffer because you have not seen their hearts bleed." Injustices and oppression still pervade our society and Rizal tells us not to turn a blind eye to these evils. We might not realize the extent to which oppression is still pervasive, we might not even know the struggle, but we must take it upon ourselves to combat it.

(5)"The youth is the hope of our future." Rizal expects a lot to the future leaders of our country, the youth. Young people are the backbones, the building blocks of the nation and just like Rizal, one day they could spark a flame that could change other lives.

One hundred and twenty years after his martyrdom, Rizal's writings still ring true, his legacy creating ripples in every generation.

Source: Philippines News Agency