A Hero’s Exile

Our first itinerary in Dapitan was to visit the 16- hectare land area in Talisay once owned by Jose Rizal during his exile in 1982 , now known as the Rizal National Park, this piece of land is the city’s major tourist attraction.

As we were about to hail a trike to the shrine, we were enthralled by the waves dancing along Sunset Boulevard’s irregular coastlines. It wasn’t a familiar attraction hence we can’t help but walk along its shores.

Our accommodation was just across these crystal blue waters.


Found this group pulling and pushing over a rope. We tried to figure out what they were doing to no avail, so we asked someone from the group and found out they were casting a fishing net. A massive net as I may describe it!


As we continued with our walking, we found this newly built monument along Sunset Boulevard.


Monument depicting our hero’s arrival in Dapitan.

Then we got tired of walking and asked around how to get to the Rizal National Park. We hailed a trike and for about 5 minutes, we reached the park. Fare is 7php.

Rizal National Park.


Just 2 months after Rizal was exiled in Dapitan, he won 6, 200php in the lottery. He used the winnings to buy a piece of land in Talisay, a barrio in Dapitan, and put up a farm, established a school for boys, built a small hospital and spent his last 4 years in this humble hacienda.

Inside the park was the Rizaliana Museum built in 1971, where Rizal’s exile in Dapitan was narrated through age- old artifacts and written information about how he lived the remaining 4 years of his life.

Table used by Rizal’s students.


List of Rizal’s students. Though most of his students are from wealthy families, he didn’t ask to be paid with money. Instead, he would ask his students to work on his hacienda as payment for teaching them.


Rizal’s girlfriends.


Replicas of the hero’s famous books- Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.


Rizal’s genealogy.


Piece of clothes originally worn by our hero.


After digging in and immersing our imagination on how the hero lived during his exile, we went outside the museum and roam around the hacienda that he once owned.


There are five houses in the hacienda. These houses were rebuilt on their original site resembling the original structure of bamboo and nipa.

Casa Redonda. A house with eight sides that served as Rizal’s clinic and a dormitory for his students.


Casa Residencia. This house serves as Rizal’s home together with his mother, sisters and a nephew.


Casitas de Salud. Also called health houses, these houses (one for male, one for female) provide lodging for Rizal’s out of town patients.


Casa Cuadrada (Square House). This house served as a workshop and second dormitory for Rizal’s students.


The trees inside Rizal’s hacienda dates back to 1892 where he first came here. Looking at their monstrosity, one could say that these trees have witnessed a lot.


At the far end of the land, facing the Sulu Sea is the “Mi Retiro” Rock. This is where he wrote his poem, “Mi Retiro” wherein he described his lonely life in Dapitan.


“I live with the remembrance of those that I have loved and hear their names still spoken, who haunt my memory; some already are dead, others have long forgotten— but what does it matter? I live remembering the past and no one can ever take the past away from me.” – excerpt from Mi Retiro

A view of the Sulu Sea from the hacienda.


After trying to digest all the information we gathered out of Rizal’s lonely life in Dapitan and seeing the artistic beauty of his hacienda, it was time for us to head back and prepare for our next destination- Dakak Park and Beach Resort.

See related posts:

1. The Shrine City of Dapitan

2. A Hero’s Exile

3. Dreaming of Dakak

4. YES to Gloria de Dapitan

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